The Armorers of Orion

The purpose of this hermetic order is to restore the Pattern, serving the ancient principles of spiritual knighthood as the Templars and many other secret organisations once did. By restoring the Pattern the principle of just leadership will be strengthened and a gateway between the ancient symbolism and the modern world will be opened, hopefully releasing some much needed dynamism in a controlled manner. This could give the Traditions new support in the Ascension war, not to mention empowering the Order of Hermes. Although nobody mentions it, the Armorers realise that if they succeed, their names and deeds will forever be inscribed among the great names in the long history of the Order of Hermes. Personal ambition may not be very noble, but it is a great motivator.

Officially the purpose is deliberately obfuscated; the founders intended to keep the real purpose secret, and instead make prying mages think they are searching for certain ancient Egyptian artefacts such as the Book of Thoth, the Harpoon of Isis or the shards of the World Egg. Since there are several other hermetic groups with similar goals (most never get anywhere), the Armorers are likely to be less noticed.

It is a very small order, since the founders realised that it would be hard to keep the operations of a large group of mages secret for any period of time. Instead they sought out mages they believed would be able to contribute with their skills, personality, contacts or magick, and initiated them into the order.

The Armorers do not have a complex system of grades and successive initiations like most hermetic orders, just two grades: apprentice and master. All members except for Master Cavendish and Master Weith are apprentices; the master grade is mainly a honorary for the founding mages. The order relies on a mixture of quick direct democracy for most problems and the leadership of the two founders when it comes to the truly esoteric matters. Since the organisation is so small, it works quite well.

Their symbol is "officially" (to other mages) an anvil or hammer, but unofficially the real symbol is the constellation of Orion, with the falcon head of Horus and the anvil inscribed in its upper and lower half, respectively. Each member has his or her own secret seal, inscribed into the hammer they forged during the initiation. These hammers are symbols of their membership, and magickally linked to their owner (it isn't obvious, but it is possible for one member who knows the seal of another to create a magickal link using their hammer to the other person; this is intended as a way of keeping in touch or rescue each other).

The Initiation

The initiation is a solemn hermetic ritual, not entirely unlike the Neophyte initiation of the Golden Dawn. The initiates are clothed in black capes over white clothes and bound by heavy iron chains, and then brought into the Temple by the Sentinel. To the south there is a alchemic forge, to the north an ornate urn with water, on the altar an anvil and to the east, beyond the altar two pillars of white and black marble surrounding a black drape.

Present are four subservient officers, each standing by one of the sides of the room, and the Hierophant leading the ceremony. The Kerux, the herald and guardian of the Inner Temple stands by the pillars, clothed in yellow to symbolise light and air. He makes the proclamations. The Stolistes, the Guardian of the Water, stands clothed in blue by the urn holding an aspergillus. The Daudachos, the Guardian of the Fire stands in the south holding a censer clothed in red. The Sentinel, who guards the Temple and is linked to Earth, stands in the West clothed in black. The Sentinel will lead the initiate around the Temple. Each of the four officers wear a leather apron inscribed with a sigil. The Hierophant stands behind the altar, splendidly dressed in white, red and gold and bearing the double crown of Egypt, holding a sceptre and scourge. During the ritual he commands the other officers, representing the divine power and pure Quintessence.

Before the initiate enters, the officers purify the Temple with fire, water and incense, invoking the powers of the Watchtowers of the Four Elements. The Sentinel leads the initiate into the Temple and directs him to kneel before the altar. The Stolistes asks "Who is this Child of Darkness?" The Daudachos asks "And why is he weighed down by the heavy chains of Ignorance and Weakness?". The Kerux answers: "This is [Name of initiate], who has travelled through the western deserts to seek light and freedom. He was bound by the servants of Set, who blinded him so that he could not see his true path, and bound him with Ignorance and Weakness so that he would fall prey to the darkness. But the light of Awakening has restored his sight, and he found his way to this sacred Temple".

The Stolistes steps forward and says: "I hereby purify thee with water" (sprinkles holy water over the initiate and gives a sip to drink). The Daudachos steps forward and says "I hereby consecrate thee with fire", censing the initiate. The Hierophant makes a sign saying "In the name of the Light, I command that the Chains of Ignorance and Weakness are to be removed by the powers of the Sun", and the Sentinel helps the initiate rise before the altar and put the chains on the anvil. The Stolistes brings forth a chisel and the Daudachos a hammer, each surrounded by the glow of their respective element. The Hegemon takes them and breaks the chains, with each strike (which sends out brilliant sparks) intoning "Khabs am Pekht, Konx om pax, Light in extension!". As the initiate is freed, the Sentinel removes the black robe and the initiate stands free and pure before the altar.

The Hierophant says: "You have been released from your bondage by the skills of the Armorers of Orion, and are now free to follow your own path towards the light. But if you wish, you can remain here in the temple to become an apprentice to the Armorers, learning the secret of breaking the Chains of Ignorance and Weakness. What is your destiny?"

If the initiate answers positively, the next part of the initiation is undertaken. The Hegemon reads the Oath before the initiate, who repeats it. The Kerux will lead the initiate to the furnace, and explain "This is the fire of truth, that will burn away all impurities and transform the gross matter into the elixir. It is presided over by Thaum-Aesch-Niaeth, "Perfection through Fire manifesting on Earth", the Goddess of the Scales of Balance at the White Pillar. In the North the explanation is "This is the water or purity, which tempers the transmuted matter to perfection. It is presided over by Auramoo-ooth, "The Light shining through the Waters upon Earth", the Goddess of the of the Scales of Balance at the Black Pillar. The Anvil: "This is the Anvil of Earth, the lathe of Ptah, where the god of creation makes the Word manifest as Form using the airy tools of Word, Reason and Heart. These are the tools of the Armorers, when we create the weapons of the gods."

The Kerux parts the drapes between the Pillars, revealing a banner, white and with seven golden stars in the shape of the constellation of Orion, where the upper section contains a stylised falcon head (the head of Horus), and the lower section an anvil with a flame. The Hierophant says: "This is the true mission of the Armorers of Orion: to fulfil the ancient plans and rearm the forces of light. To forge the sword, sceptre and crown of Horus so that the forces of Set will be defeated. To restore that which has been bent or lost, and to temper power with wisdom."

The Kerux will bring forth an apron, bearing a symbol linked to the initiate, and give it to him. "From this day, you are an apprentice of the Armorers of Orion." All the officers raise their hands in the elemental signs: "O Great gods of the Four Watchtowers, O Isis, O Osiris, O Anubis, O Horus: Witness the entrance of the apprentice NN into our order!". The Sentry places a piece of steel on the altar, which the Stolistes purifies with water, and the Daudachos heats with a beam of fire until it glows white-hot. The Kerux hands the Hierophant the hammer, who strikes the metal once, filling it with Quintessence so it shines brightly. The Hierophant then hands the hammer to the initiate. As the initiate hits the metal it transforms into a hammerhead bearing his sign. The stolistes picks it up and tempers it in the urn, handing it to the initiate (latter it is fitted with a handle).

The Kerux raises his hands and says "I hereby proclaim that this initiation is completed, and that the Steel has been fully purified and tempered. This Temple is hereby closed."

The Oath of the Armorers

I hereby swear before the gods of the Four Watchtowers, to uphold the precepts and vision of the Armorers of Orion, regardless of what may befall me or what forces of darkness are arrayed against me.

I swear to keep the goals, rituals and nature of the Armorers secret from all except the initiated of the Armorers, and to keep the order secret from all unenlightened or unworthy. If the secrets of spiritual forging become known to others, great harm will befall all of us and the forces will be unbalanced.

I swear to support my brothers and sisters, to lend them my hand, eye and heart if they need it, remembering that it was only through the concerted work of all the officers that my chains could be broken and the hammer will be forged.

I dedicate myself to this great work, and in the presence of the powers of the elements swear that if I betray this oath they will annihilate my existence outright. So it will be written, so it will be done.

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