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What secrets lurk in the occult mainstream?
The Cross of Light has about five hundred members, but it is not really a single organisation, and few of the people involved really know much about the occult. It is a large group of very loosely affiliated British occult cabals and mystical societies with vastly differing philosophies and agendas. Collectively, they like to call themselves lucicrucians, and they’re very much a part of the occult mainstream. To most of these people, magick is all about spreading mystical enlightenment, talking to angels using Hermetic-style rituals written in Enochian and worrying about the schemes of the Illuminati and the Knights Templar, but there are some very notable exceptions. Hidden among the ranks of these well-intentioned but generally clueless people are some real cabalists, with very distinct ideas of their own about what the Cross of Light could become if they were running the show. What stops them from trying to take over is the stiff competition they’d face from the other lucicrucian cabals with similar ambitions, and so peace prevails – for the time being, at least.
The lucicrucians date their various organisations back to the ‘Mystical Battle of Britain,’ when numerous groups of spiritualists, witches and other eccentrics pitted their powers against what they perceived to be the occult forces of the Nazis. These endeavours apparently included summoning the ghosts of dead RAF pilots to gain their otherworldly support, witches’ ceremonies that involved throwing ‘go away powder’ into the North Sea to prevent a German invasion and a very noteworthy poster campaign. These posters were distributed by the Spiritualist movement and put up on the walls of underground stations and air-raid shelters, and they depicted a British urban skyline with a Rosicrucian symbol within a huge glowing circle suspended in the night sky above it and the caption, “THE FORCES OF DARKNESS HALT BEFORE THE CROSS OF LIGHT.” When the War ended, several of the mystical groups decided that “cross of light” was a pretty good name to call themselves, and most of them shared a commitment to enlightenment and mystical harmony with a bit of an old school, Judeo-Christian slant. Some of them also maintained the vague notion of protecting Britain against “forces of darkness,” although opinions varied about what that actually implied.
Nowadays, the various lucicrucian orders, brotherhoods, temples and societies are a diverse but well-established part of the British occult mainstream. They tend to go in for a mixture of spiritualist and hermetic practices, and their terminology is generally full of references to divine spirits, enochian incantations and hokum about the Templars, Freemasons and Illuminati. These people don’t generally get up to very much and they invariably view their groups as social clubs, although some of them have been known to do secret favours for each other, pretty much the same way the Freemasons do. Although the groups don’t always have a lot of contact with each other, there’s also an informal acknowledgement that they’re all ‘on the same side,’ albeit in a very vague sort of way. Moreover, a lot of the lucicrucians are keen to discover the secrets of magick, and they include quite a few academics and intellectual types whose investigations have occasionally led them to uncover real artefacts and rituals that actually work. Every so often, some of them even stumble across the machinations of real adepts and avatars, and what happens after that is never dull, although it’s rarely pleasant.
The clued-in people in the Cross of Light are very secretive, and they generally masquerade as harmless members of the clueless outer circle. There are perhaps twenty or thirty of them, and among the more prominent members there is a tiny cabal of English Cryptomancers called the Lucricrucian Temple of Thoth, several Sleeper infiltrators, a mix of Bibliomancers, Cliomancers, Plutomancers and Urbanomancers in numerous other groups such as the Lucicrucian Circle, the Spiritualist Society of the Cross of Light and the Temple of the Cross of Light. There are also several Thaumaturges, and a group called the Hermetic Order of the Cross of Light, made up of Theurgists who claim to be able to gain magickal power by summoning and controlling demons. More worryingly, the Theurgists have also made tentative contact with a well-organised, clandestine right-wing group, for reasons that remain to be seen (given their generally unpleasant, domineering personalities, it seems very unlikely that altruism is their motivation). These people generally want whatever sort of power they can get their hands on, and they spend much of their time launching subtle attacks on each other, looking for artefacts, rituals and new recruits, and quietly manipulating the occult mainstream people in the outer circle. They all recognise the value and potential power of the Cross of Light as a whole, and they believe that anyone who could control the whole entity and turn it into a unified, coherent group would quickly become a power to be reckoned with. No one, however, is all that keen on sharing out slices of the pie.
Hard to be sure. Between them, the various Cross of Light groups have access to a reasonable amount of money, lots of books about mysticism and the occult, and heaps of ritual paraphernalia. They also have their loose social network, and the outer circle types tend to be fairly free and easy about the side of sharing personal resources and favours with each other, as long as nothing too major is required (“I know he’s a member of that club you’re involved with, dear, but if you think that gives him the right to treat this house as his own for as long as he likes, well…”). It goes without saying that the genuine occultists don’t really go for the idea of sharing anything at all. It’s worth noting, however, that they do have some artefacts and rituals that really work, and some of them also have a fair amount of personal wealth, as well as political and financial influence. The Cross of Light is a bit short of mundane firepower, based as it is in Britain, but some of its less scrupulous members do keep a (highly illegal) firearm or two around in case of emergencies, which means that they also tend to have the sort of criminal contacts that will enable them to get their hands on more if the need arises.