IMAGE: Secret Chiefs 3 Logo

IMG 01: The Secret Chiefs 3 logo. Drawn by Trey Spruance.

IMG 02: The Secret Chiefs 3 logo. Drawn by Mike Bennewitz.

IMG 03: The black stone in the Ka’bah at Mecca


This is the Secret Chiefs 3 logo, so familiar to most of us by now. As far as I gather this symbol suggests a concept known as the ‘Guardians of the Supreme Centre’, especially in regards to the Sons of Seven (beni shaybah) who were the guardians of the black stone that is set into the Ka’bah (Cube) in the centre court of the Great Mosque, (al-Masjid al-Ḥarām), in the heart of Mecca. The function of ‘guardian’ corresponds to a specific kind of initiation, one that can be described as chivalric if we give this term a meaning which is wider than usual assumptions. The spiritual centre is synonymous with the concepts of the ‘Holy Land’ and the ‘Sacred Stone’. However, the Israelites are not the only people who have assimilated their country to the ‘Heart of the World’, and who have regarded it as an image of Heaven. The use of the same symbolism is found with other peoples who possess a ‘Holy Land’, that is, a country where a spiritual centre has been established which has for them a status comparable to that of the Temple of Jerusalem, and so, it can no longer be a question of only Palestine, but rather all holy centers such as Omphalos which was always the visible image of the ‘Centre of the World’ for the people inhabiting the region where it was placed in Delphi. Likewise for the castle in Wolfram Von Eschenbach’s Parzival, which is described as invisible and unreachable. Only the elect can find it, either out of sheer chance or through a magical spell, since it usually vanishes from the sight of its seekers or is guarded by a heavenly militia of knights or warriors, as the crossed swords of the Secret Chiefs 3 logo indicates via blocked access. In Parzival the castle is presented as “strong and mighty”, with smooth walls that would make it impregnable even if it were besieged by all the world’s armies. In the castle are “many splendid things that have no equal on this earth; but those who look for it unfortunately never find it, though many start this quest. In order to see it, one must arrive in it without knowing it.” The place in which it is built is deserted, wild, and ghostly: It is the Montsalvatsche in the Lands of Salvatsche, and “the path leading to it is filled with ambushes.” Wolfram adds: “one is not likely to ride so close to Montsalvatsche without engaging in a dangerous fight or without encountering that expiation of sins which the world calls ‘death”. The knights of the Grail, or Templars (Templeisen), prevent people of all nations from approaching, with the exception of those who are indicated by an inscription that appears on the Grail itself: they commit themselves to fight to the death any invader. In relation to this, It can be said that the Grail’s knights ‘live dangerously’. Although destined to the Grail from on high, Parzival had to achieve it by effort. His virtually exclusive outward activity, the activity which wins him the Grail when at last he pursues it in the right spirit, is that of knightly combat. When one speaks of the ‘knighthood of the Holy Grail’; or of the ‘Guardians of the Holy Land’, what must be understood by the two expressions is exactly the same thing. It remains for us to explain, as far as possible, exactly what is the function of these ‘guardians’, a function which belonged in particular to the Templars :

Book M - Page 6: The darkness at the approaches is a wasteland riddled with corpses. Templeisen prevent people of ALL nations from approaching, only one summoned can find the way. Any invader will be reduced.

Book M - Page 7: Our job is to defend the Temple at all costs.

Book M - Page 8: …the Center in INVIOLABLE. Just remember that the darkness at the approaches to the pole is far more treacherous than even Hell itself. It’s therefore advisable that you don’t go anywhere near the region where M becomes perceptible. If you are in the habit of reducing things to make them, you know, comprehensible, ‘use-full’, the foes you will encounter in the darkness of that region cannot be beaten or outwitted, and they will take you permanently out of the game for approaching that vicinity.

On the one hand, they are the defenders of the ‘Holy Land’ in the sense that they bar from access to it all who lack the requisite qualification to enter, and they constitute what we have called its ‘outer covering’, that, they conceal it form the eyes of the profane. On the other hand, they nevertheless assure certain regular relations with the outside, yet they remain at the boundary of the spiritual centre, taken in its widest sense, or at the last precinct, by which the centre is both separated from the ‘outer-world’ and placed in relationship with it. In the case of the Templars, there is something more to be considered: even though their initiation was essentially ‘chivalric’, as suited their nature and function, they had two sides to their character, being both military and religious; and it had to be so if they were, as we have many reasons to think, among the ‘guardians’ of the supreme Centre, in which spiritual authority and temporal power are reunited in their common principle, and which, as it were, stamps the recognizable sign or mark of this reunion on all that is directly connected with it. In the Western world, where the spiritual takes a specifically religious form, the true ‘guardians of the Holy Land’, insofar as they had any official existence, had to be knights, but knights who were monks at the same time, and in fact that indeed is what the Templars were. If the Templars were indeed what we believe them to have been, in order to fulfill their allotted function concerning the specific tradition, that of the West, they would have to remain attached outwardly to the form of this tradition; but at the same time thy would need to have an inner consciousness of real doctrinal unity so as to be capable of communication with the representatives of other traditions. These considerations make it clear why the destruction of the Order of the Temple should have entailed for the West the rupture of regular relations with the ‘Centre of the World’; and it is precisely from the fourteenth century that the deviation inevitably resulting from this rupture must be dated, a deviation which has gone on gradually becoming more and more accentuated down to our own time. This descent can be no more obvious than in the legend of the white stone which fell from heaven and blackened, synonymous with the fall of Lucifer. The color black designates what is occult, unmanifested, as is the Supreme Center during the decline of every traditional civilization. In Islamic tradition the pilgrims to Mecca believe that the stone absorbs their sins when they touch it, redeeming them from the sins of Adam which had caused the stone to become black. When Mecca was sacked in A.D. 930, the famous black stone was captured by the Carmathians, in whose possession it remained over 27 years, and it is a moot question whether the stone finally returned by them in exchange for a princely ransom was actually the original block or a substitute representing the notion of counterfeit. First of all, it is certain that the symbolic function of meteorites or stones fallen from heaven is very important, because these are the ‘black stones’ that feature in so many different traditions, from the stone which represented Cybele or the ‘Great Goddess’ to the stone which is enshrined in the Ka’bah at Mecca and which plays a part in the story of Abraham.

At Rome, too, there was the lapis niger. These ‘black stones’ are certainly to be counted as baetyls, that is, stones considered as ‘dwelling places of the Divine’, or in other words, as the vehicles of certain ‘spiritual influences’. In all cases, the baetyl was a ‘prophetic stone’, a ‘stone which speaks’, that is, a stone which yielded oracles, or near to which oracles were given, thanks to the spiritual influences of which it was the vehicle and the Omphalos of Greek tradition is very characteristic in this respect. Interestingly; meteorites are white at first but oxidize over a period of time. The stone set into the Ka’bah, at Mecca is often indicated as being a meteorite due to its composition. Clearly, meteorites the size of these large boulders would explode into tiny fragments on impact, and also leave a substantial crater. However, the literal truth is does is secondary to the symbolism of such stones being a link between this world and the heavens as an integral aspect of the Cosmic Axis which is invoked by all sacred centers. The black stone (al-Hajaruâ'l Aswad) is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly well smoothed; it looks as if the whole had been broken into as many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. Both the border and the stone itself are encircled by a silver band, broader below than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. This is symbolic of the vulva of the goddess al-'Uzza who was worshipped at the same location in pre-Islamic times, where she was she was served by seven priestesses. Her worshippers circled the holy stone seven times and did so in total nudity. al-'Uzza was an Arabian goddess who was regarded by the Bedouin tribes of central Arabia as the youngest of the three daughters of Allah, the supreme deity. She was worshipped in the form of a black stone, on the surface of which lay a mark or indentation called the 'Impression of Aphroditeâ'. But the error of reducing the Solar qualities into Lunar aspects must be avoided, and its key is in the comparisions drawn from Cybele, who was the Magna Mater of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and was associated with Mt Ida, near ancient Troy. Her worship was conducted by eunuch priests called Corybantes, and was characterized by wild orgiastic revelry and ecstatic dancing. Cybele was primarily associated with the earth, and in particular with a black stone enshrined at Pergamum. However she was not strictly of chthonian nature which is a common misconception to certain Western circles. Efforts have been made to derive Kubelē from the Greek term kubos and the Arabic qubbah. Qubbah has never meant 'vault, vaulted hall, cryptâ', as the author of this hypothesis believes; it means cupola or dome, the symbolism of which is 'celestial' and not 'terrestrial', and therefore exactly the opposite of the nature attributed to Cybele or the 'Great Mother'. But more importantly, the name is actually directly linked to the Hebrew gebal and to the Arabic jabal, 'mountain'. Thus Cybele is the 'goddess of the mountain'. This same meaning of the name Cybele is clearly linked to that of the black stone which was her symbol. In fact, it is known that this stone was of conical shape and, like all the baetyl of the same form, it must be considered as a miniature representation of the mountain as 'axial symbol'. In fact the Greek gematria of the words 'Omphalos' and 'Axis' both add to the same value: 911! On the other hand, since the sacred black stones are meteorites, this celestial origin suggests that the chthonian nature we alluded to at the outset corresponds in reality only to one of the aspects of Cybele. Moreover, the axis represented by the mountain is not terrestrial, but connects heaven and earth to one another; and we will add that it is along this axis that, symbolically, the fall of the black stone must take place as well as its final re-ascension; for here too, it is a question of the relations between heaven and earth through what may be called a 'trampoline effect' regarding the regeneration of man whereby, the deeper one falls the higher one may rise, akin to the Qabalistic notion of Spiritual correction. There can be no question, of course, of contesting the fact that Cybele has often been assimilated to the 'Earth Mother', but only of indicating that she also had other aspects; moreover, it is quite possible that the more or less complete forgetting of these, following upon a predominance attributed to the 'terrestrial' aspect, may have given birth to certain confusions, and in particular to the one that has led to the classing together of the black stone and the cubic stone.


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