SOL Supervisors and Magi Welcome to SOL HQ

Light within and Light without.

This is an image of the altar light and the north window of the temple at SOL HQ in the Peak District, England.

The temple is used for SOL rituals as well as for personal work.

All SOL Magi and Supervisors are welcome to visit the temple and retreats can be arranged for longer stays for those who wish to spend time with Steve or consult the SOL archive and Brian O’Neill Memorial Library.

Our intention is that the temple space and resources at SOL HQ are available to workers in the school community offering support and a space for inner work, healing, contemplation, and reflection.

All are welcome.




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Happy 90th Birthday Dolores!

Posted in Messages From Steven, News

House of the Net – SOL Theurgic Prayer

The House of the Net monthly linking meditation has been used in the SOL school for many years and we want to introduce a renewed and restructured way of working with the House of the Net for current SOL students and past graduates of the school that wish to participate.

Prayer is a powerful magical practice

Steven Critchley has taught about the principles and dynamics of prayer for decades drawing on ancient Egyptian, Neoplatonic, Qabalistic, Esoteric Christian, Craft, Wiccan and Spiritualist teachings on the subject.

In our monthly House of the Net linking meditations, we will be initially be focusing on ancient Egyptian ways of entering into prayer as communicated through the pagan Neoplatonic philosophers, Plotinus (who taught in Alexandria), Iamblichus and Proclus.

Working with genuine ancient inner practices and disciplines we will be working with prayer using key symbols and God-forms in the light of evolved teachings from the Dion Fortune tradition of the Mystical Qabalah.

Current SOL students and long-time members of the school, that have graduated our courses in the past, are invited to get in touch with SOL admin if they would like to be included in our House of the Net meditations where we will be working with Theurgic Prayer guided on a monthly basis by the Director of Studies.

Send an email headed: House of the Net Subscribe to Past students who wish to be included please provide a short introduction including which course you studied with us and who your supervisor was, please.

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Dolores’ New Book Published Today!

We wish Dolores’ every success with the publication of her latest book: My First Book of Magic which is published today. The book is illustrated by Carl Ashcroft, Dolores’ son.

See the link below for more information.

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Please Light Passing Candles in Memory of Charles Burns

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Charles Burns who passed away in the early hours of March 30th 2019, surrounded by his family.

Charles has been part of the SOL community for many years and was dedicated to his work in the school as an initiate and Magus of SOL Lodge Taigh na Mor Riggu (House of the Great Queen) [ pronounced ‘teesch na more riggoo’ ] in the west of Scotland.

I have many good memories of times spent with Charles that were full of laughter and candour.

Rest in peace brother and we know that you will journey brightly into the Light.

Members and friends of the SOL please join with me lighting a passing candle for Charles and in prayers for his loved ones at this time.


Director of Studies, SOL.

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SOL Light-Wise Series of Workshops Announced in Central London Beginning July 2019

SOL Light-Wise workshops are taking place in central London, beginning in July this year.
They are open to SOL students and members of the school.
Each workshop will be a stand-alone event, but there will also be continued themes repeated throughout the series.
Please email SOL admin if you are a SOL student or member who wishes to apply to attend.
It would help if you head the email: SOL London Workshops, please.
The dates are:
Saturday 6 July
Saturday 17 August
Saturday 5 October
Saturday 16 November
Saturday 7 December
Cost £15 per workshop.
11am-5pm with a 45 min lunch/refreshment break.
Posted in Messages From Steven, News

Pantaenus “The Sicilian Bee” and Themes of our New Introductory Course



Dear Friends,

The new SOL introductory course that will be made available this summer, “The Way of the Apprenticed Mage” is being prepared in alignment with the principal teachings that were communicated in the Practical Course on the Mystical Qabalah by W.E. Butler.

“The Way of the Apprenticed Mage” is not a revision or re-presentation of the Butler course, but it will be re-presenting all of the critical elements of that course.

In Lesson 44 of his course Butler wrote the following concerning the teachings of his course and our school:

“…we have instructed you along the lines of the great Arthurian Myth – The Table Round, and the Holy Grail. For the place of meeting of those who belong to the Inner Plane Group – which is the teaching and directing agency behind this Course – is the Temple of the Grail, which exists in the Inner Worlds today even as it did over two thousand years ago, when it began to develop its outer aspect in the great city of Alexandria.

The Spirit who now works through that modern personality we know as the Master of Magic, the Opener of the Ways, worked at that time through another personality who taught and mediated in those Graeco-Egyptian Mysteries. It is also of interest to note that this same city of Alexandria became the place where the first Christian Catechetical School – which attempted to expound the deeper intellectual concepts of Christianity – became established. It is also interesting to note that this city was associated with the Apostolic See of St Mark, whose Symbol is the Lion. Some of the greatest of the early Christian Fathers were linked with this School, Origen and Clement of Alexandria being two of them.

So here you have the Centre through which all that was best in the Egyptian and Grecian Mysteries was brought together and so passed into the Christian Church, and it was from the Inner Temple of the Grail that in due time there was begun that myth which, nurtured in Britain in far earlier times under other forms, and going back through the ages to a Land now lost, became the “Matter of Britain,”

I would like students and members of the school to keep the above words in mind because they represent a core aspect of what we will be teaching in the school along with the Mystical Qabalah in a Hermetic context and with reference to the wider esoteric traditions of the west.

The Inner Order from which our school is contacted is the “Alexandrian Fraternity” that Butler mentions above. Our new introductory course, “The Way of the Apprentice Mage” will be drawing on the imagery of ancient Alexandria and the mystery school that was active around the Serapeum and Great library complex.

The familiar bee sigil, that is copyright to the SOL, will be the symbol of the new course.

Butler wrote, above, concerning the first Christian Catechetical school that arose in ancient Alexandria. In my research and contemplations, I came upon the following words of Clement of Alexandria concerning one Pantaenus – the Sicilian Bee:

“When I came upon the last (teacher), he was the first in power, having pursued him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of hearers a deathless element of knowledge.”

Pantaenus was the first head of the Didascalia in Alexandria, he was a stoic pagan philosopher who converted to Christianity but was famed for his understanding of the more profound, universal, teachings.

I would like to emphasise that the SOL is not a religious organisation and we do not teach any one particular faith. We honour all beliefs that serve humanity positively and increase awareness of human potential and responsibility. Our way is the way represented by the symbol of the ancient Alexandrian school where all sacred learning was celebrated and shared to the benefit of all.

I feel that the story of Pantaenus lends new meaning to the SOL sigil with the bee at its centre. The bee is, of course, a symbol in many mystery traditions and we will be using the logo for our introductory training as a ‘gatherer of knowledge that is offered in service’.

I am doing my best to work in harmony with the direction of the Opener of the Ways and wish to see our school prosper as we move forward in the work.

With Blessings in Light,


Director of Studies, SOL.


Posted in Messages From Steven, News

The Concept of the Rule of the Order

In the SOL we have student study groups and practical working groups that we traditionally call ‘Lodges’ in several countries.

As a long-established correspondence school, we also offer supervised teaching opportunities to our students as well as offering practical workshops that are led by the Director of Studies or teachers that are approved by him.

Recently, we introduced several new guidelines for group leaders, supervisors and workshop facilitators to observe and uphold. A few SOL members have questioned the need for a “Volunteer Code of Conduct”, “Complaints Process” or “Privacy Policy” in a Mystery School.

Such policies and processes are all about upholding ethical conduct and respecting healthy boundaries in relationships within the school between students, study group, lodge members or workshop attendees and leaders, supervisors, and teachers in the school.

However, such ethical guidelines also correspond with a very old idea that is often referred to as “the Rule of the Order” or “the Rule of the Lodge”.

In schools such as ours, the overall leader, in our case, the Director of Studies, should not be seen as an authority figure who must be deferred to and obeyed. Indeed, no supervisor, group leader or teacher of workshops is in a position of authority over others that is in any way ‘dictatorial’.

Groups that are led by a charismatic leader where their personal likes, dislikes, dietary preferences or political views are constantly featured as being relevant to the work are groups that can all too easily fall into functioning as personality cults. In such groups, the leader may advance students on the basis of favouritism and establish patterns of rewarding those who display sycophantic behaviour or who serve or please them personally in various ways.

The “Rule of the Order” is a powerful antidote against personality cults of any type becoming established in the context of the western esoteric tradition.

Dion Fortune described the Mystical Qabalah as “the yoga of the west” because it is a system that can practically assist awareness and the actualization of mystical union on many levels of experience. In our tradition, we do not teach using an eastern style “guru – chela” modality of learning.

We value taking personal responsibility for our actions and learning on the path and making free choices as individuals independently of any authority figures. We certainly do not encourage obedience to any human personalities.

W.E Butler wrote the following in his book: “Magic and the Qabalah” concerning the “Rule of the Order”. In the SOL this “rule” has traditionally been represented by the symbol of “the sword of the mysteries” in various ceremonies.

Where the Rule of the Order is upheld all the members of the school, including every leader or officer, subscribes to the rule and is ultimately judged by it. This is very important to understand in the work of a school such as ours. However, it is also as simple as the idea behind a work contract wherein you agree to fulfill specific duties and responsibilities and if you don’t then you have broken your contract and may have lost the right to continue to work in a specific role.

“…true esoteric teachers do not desire any slavish obedience from their followers, they do require that the aspirant should ” obey the rule”. Here we come to something which will be familiar to those of my readers who have any knowledge of the monastic orders in the Christian church.

The communities of monks or nuns live and work “under obedience”, and many Protestant critics of the system seem to imagine that the members of these communities vow implicit obedience to the head of the particular monastery or convent in which they happen to be. This is not true. Obviously, there must be a system of discipline, no community can be run without some form of control, but the obedience which is demanded of the novice when taking his final vows is obedience to the “Rule of the Order”, and by this Rule all the community, from the highest to the lowest, are bound.

If we take one of the orders, the Benedictines, as an example, we find that the whole life of the community is regulated by the Rule which was first laid down by the founder of the Order, St Benedict, and this rule is administered by a willing collaboration between all the brethren. Any arbitrary action by the head of the community can be challenged without fear by any brother who feels that in this instance the Rule was not being obeyed.

So in the esoteric schools, the true obedience is given to the Rule of the Order which is behind the outer school. For the esoteric schools are pendant from the great orders which exist behind the scenes. Some may think that this makes membership of an esoteric school still more doubtful than they had already thought, but as the Order Rule is always taught, and can thus be compared with the general moral and ethical outlooks, the individual is always in a position to judge its validity, as far as his own capacity permits.”

W.E. Butler here refers to inner orders that work with the various schools. The inner teacher of the SOL has often been referred to using the title: “The Opener of the Ways”. It should be remembered that even the inner teacher of the school subscribes to the “Rule of the Order” as it is expressed and upheld on the inner levels and is in no way a figure who should be idolized or followed blindly. This is why we are taught from the beginning of our training that the first virtues of the path are discretion and discrimination.

Followers of esoteric disciplines can all too often make inner guides and “contacts” into scapegoats onto which they project all sorts of illusionary perceptions rooted in their own misunderstandings or needs.

In our school’s history, there have been instances where teachers or leaders have abused their position by manipulating or exploiting students in various ways and we are taking steps to ensure that as we move forward in our work that sound ethics and positive aims and ideals are upheld and that processes are in place where the Rule of the Order is clearly understood and is subscribed to and upheld by all.

© 2019, Steven Critchley & Servants of the Light

Posted in Messages From Steven, News

On the Edge of the Etheric Workshop

May 3rd-5th, 2019, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent

Cost: £80 (including refreshments and light meals)

Steven will also be teaching this workshop in the USA in the fall this year, details will be announced as soon as arrangements have been finalised.

The etheric body has been variously discussed as the power bodythe resurrection body, the body of light, the secret Adam, the eidolon and the augoeides or luminous body.

The etheric body can be understood as linking the physical body with states of consciousness and enlivening influxes of spiritual energy, it can be seen as the enlivening bond between the physical, the soul and the spirit.

In W.E. Butler’s Practical Course on the Mystical Qabalah, which was the SOL main correspondence course for decades, the etheric body was presented as “The Castle Golem” or “The Etheric Golem“.

In this workshop, taught by Steven Critchley, we will consider the etheric body and its power in connection to the spirit, soul and physical body by reviewing W. E. Butler’s teachings about “The Castle Golem” that students were taught to project and re-absorb using Qabalistic methods and the symbolism of an interior castle seeded in the Round Table, the veiled Grail, and symbols of the sun.

Furthermore, we will compare W.E. Butler’s presentation of the etheric body with the Renaissance Mage, Marsilio Ficino’s teachings about the eidolon from his Platonic Theology and how Ficino taught that the eidolon could receive impressions from the soul and the “higher self” which he called the angel.

W.E. Butler wrote a short article on the etheric body in the Spiritualist periodical Light in 1922 and in the workshop we will also explore how Spiritualist teachings influenced W.E. Butler’s ideas about the etheric body, especially through his first teacher, the medium Robert King who worked as a Spiritualist medium and member of staff at W.T. Stead’s pioneering Julia’s Bureau, in London where private sittings were offered to the public in Edwardian times.

In his SOL course, W.E. Butler wrote, concerning what is called physical mediumship:

“There are some people who have a peculiar etheric structure which enables part of their body to be reduced to a strange amorphous substance which can be extruded from the body and appear as a cloud of misty material usually known as “ectoplasm.” We have seen this substance streaming from the body of a medium, and have seen it moulded by invisible intelligences into what appeared to be true human forms.”

The etheric body is part of what might be called the etheric world and we will practically consider how we can become aware of our etheric body and the ‘aura’ using guided meditations and practical exercises.

In 1934, Arthur Findlay published a groundbreaking book called “On the Edge of the Etheric” that explored the etheric body and “Scientific Proof of the Afterlife” in the etheric world. We have borrowed the title of our workshop from the book.

We are delighted that we have been able to hire the building of the historic Longton National Spiritualist Church as the venue for the workshop that we feel will be a special setting in which to explore teachings about the etheric body and the etheric world.

SOL students will find this workshop to be both informative and practical.

The workshop will begin on Friday evening, May 3rd at 7:30pm and will conclude on Sunday afternoon, May 5th 2019 by 3pm.

The workshop will take place in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent and is non-residential, light refreshments and a light lunch will be provided on-site on Saturday and Sunday and some supper will be provided at the venue on Saturday too.

Please email to register your interest and for booking details or if you have any inquiries.



Posted in Event Announcement, Messages From Steven, News

Dedication of this House of Light

Star Above – Star Below – Star Within

Blessings on this House of Light and its Opened Way

Discover the Inner Light – The Epiphany Within

“I want to know in order to serve”

May the Gifts of Your Soul Shine in the World

Servant of the Light



Posted in Messages From Steven, News