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Universal Gnostic Ministry & Study
Affirming Unity + Celebrating Diversity

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What is Avatar Temple?

"We look to one another for insight and camaraderie along the way.
Wherever the Circle gathers, there is our 'temple in consciousness',
one 'not built by human hands'. We call this 'AVATAR TEMPLE'
in honor of our friendship with the Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword
and its Avalon Temple in Toronto."

* Scroll all the way down for AVATAR TEMPLE activities in New York City. *

"A Temple In Consciousness"
A brief personal history of Avatar Temple

The Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword and Circle of the Free Spirit are ceremonially rooted in different yet related Western esoteric traditions that once flourished together in ancient Alexandria.

Out of this spiritual affinity -- and personal friendship -- members of the Order and the Circle
created AVATAR TEMPLE in New York City in 1994. We named our "temple in consciousness" after the magician Jamie "Avatar" Perry, a former New Yorker and one of the founders of the Order,
who had passed on in Toronto on December 1, 1993.

I had first met Jamie around 1977 through my friend and his partner, Ian Young.
In 1982, along with the Lady Vervain and Brother Pegasus, Brother Avatar founded
The Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword and AVALON TEMPLE in Toronto.

There was often a kind of magic and synchronicity associated with Jamie. For example,
Bishop John Noel, Jamie's first Hermetic teacher in Connecticut in the 1970s, was later to become one of my spiritual teachers and became my principal consecrator in 1995.
But +John Noel and I first met in 1991, quite independently of Jamie.
We did not discover until 1994 that we both had a prior connection to "Avatar".
+John Noel introduced the idea of a "temple in consciousness" to Jamie, and later to me.
+John Noel passed on in Connecticut on November 30, 2006,
one day short of thirteen years after Jamie.

Today, those who are invited and agree to maintain and protect our communal
"temple in consciousness" are dubbed an "Avatar Templar" in a simple initiation ceremony.

The remarkable statement that follows is an abridgement of an original brochure published
by the Order. It corresponds significantly to the philosophy and understanding of the
liturgical (a.k.a. magical) work of Avatar Temple and Circle of the Free Spirit.

+ Mark Aelred (CFS + HOSS)

The Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword

"The truth is a pathless land."
-- Krishnamurti

The Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword is an affiliation of men and women practicing ceremonial magic. Developing out of a meeting between magician James Perry and poet Ian Young in New York City in 1978, the first Temple was founded April 2, 1982, in Toronto.

The Order is open to individuals of all faiths and none, all nationalities and sexualities. Membership is by invitation.

"Only to a magician is the world forever fluid, infinitely mutable and eternally new.
Only he knows the secret of change,
only he knows that all things are crouched in eagerness to become something else,
and it is from this universal tension that he draws his power."

-- Peter Beagle

Magic unifies the mental and physical worlds, using symbolic acts and images whose significance is rooted deep in the human psyche. If we are honest about the changes we desire in the world, we must be willing to change ourselves, not by adherence to any dogma, but by confrontation with beauty and truth in our own lives.

With magic, we bring about inward and outward change, each the mirror of the other. For magic involves a kind of spiritual self-programming; it respects the freedom of the individual by employing not doctrines but glowing symbols that reverberate in the mind.

The ritual magic of the Order is based on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. By incorporating Egyptian, Cabbalistic and Rosicrucian elements, it unifies the Pagan, Jewish, and Christian traditions in a modern science of mental power and self-knowledge.

"The symbol is, on the one hand, the primitive expression of the unconscious, while on the other hand it is an idea corresponding to the highest intuition produced by consciousness."
-- C. G. Jung

Today we live on a poisoned planet. Nations and creeds are poisoned with hatred; air, water and vegetable life, the very Earth itself and our own bodies are being toxified by a technology of profit and conquest devoid of reverence or understanding and whose symbol is the atomic cloud, a cloud of unknowing, shadowing a society of alienation, loneliness, illness and addiction.

Centuries of religion and science have failed to bring about the necessary changes in the world and in human consciousness, so that now the Earth herself is in danger. Yet even this darkness is merely a veil that we can cut through with the sword of love and intelligence -- if we have the will.

At a time when indigenous peoples have been almost destroyed, they are returning to their own ancient wisdom. Just when our most valuable Western spiritual traditions were about to perish, they are being rediscovered by scholars and syncretists, and are gaining new vigour in the growing neo-pagan and New Age movements and in progressive movements within the orthodox faiths.

Our Order promotes communication among all such groups and understanding of the interdependence of all life -- playing a part in the healing of the Earth through friendship and the enlightenment of the individual, giving hope not only for the future but for the present.

The Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword
2483 Gerrard St. East, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada M1N 1W7
(Tel: 416-691-9838)
Although not engaged in an active program at this time,
the Order welcomes contact with interested individuals.


Circle of the Free Spirit + Avatar Temple + New York City

"In the Name of the Infinite Mind of Light,
the Mystical Body of Life, and the Holy Spirit of Love +
One Reality, that manifests, sustains, and transforms All Beings."

- from The Yoga of the Christos: A Universal Gnostic Liturgy

Circle of the Free Spirit was founded in 1992. It is rooted in the independent sacramental lineage and the Way of Gnosis (Self-Knowledge) as found in pre-Nicene Christianity.

We seek Wisdom - Sophia - wherever She may be found. As such we openly draw from other traditions, such as Buddhism, Vedanta, Hermeticism, and other philosophies that may be called non-dualist and non-divisive.

We are not bound by literalist interpretations of scripture and tradition, and freely reject what we consider to be false and unjust notions propagated in the name of religion.

We affirm the mutual freedom of all individuals in matters of conscience and lifestyle, and welcome those often excluded and oppressed by organized religion on the basis of gender and sexuality. Indeed, spiritual androgyny is a hallmark and goal of the Way of Gnosis. The true Self is neither, both, and beyond male and female.

As all beings are embraced by the same true Self, the One Reality, we see that whatever we do to others, we do to our Self. tis is the inner and Gnostic meaning to the ancient Golden Rule to "Love your neighbor as your Self."

We look to one another for insight and cameraderie along the way. Wherever the Circlegathers, there is our "temple in consciousness", one "not built by human hands". We call this "AVATAR TEMPLE" in honor of our friendship with the Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword and its Avalon Temple in Toronto.

We are an informal community practicing a spiritual friendship that supports each person in the discovery of who they really are. We affirm Unity, celebrate Diversity.

Our Gnostic Hermetic Study Group explores ancient texts such as were found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, as well as modern works. All sincere seekers of Gnosis and Sophia are welcome!



We mourn our loss in the passing of
Bishop John Noel
on November 30, 2006.

A memorial was held in Connecticut on January 6, 2007.

We offer our condolences to his friends and family,
and to his partner Jim.

+ John Noel's birthday is June 16th,
on which date in 2007
+ Mark Aelred and the Circle of the Free Spirit
will remember him with a special Liturgy.


Go to EVENTS, or contact us for details:

Circle of the Free Spirit
Box 230316 Ansonia Station
New York, NY 10023

Bishop + Mark Aelred

Launched: July 7, 2006

Latest update: March 18, 2008