The August Order
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
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.
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.