When the late Billie John and I wrote our Inner Guide to Egypt, we used the notion of "Egypt" as a stratum of consciousness within the psyche, rather than as a geo-political landmass with lots and lots of history slapped on top of it.
We also did it with the help of an entity from the inner planes known as Kha’m-uas. This is not our invention; He really did exist three thousand years ago. In the timeless realm he so comfortably inhabits, he still exists "now." Using the terminology of the Western Magical Tradition he is what might be termed one of the "Inner Plane Adeptii." And—believe me—the last thing he wants is any kind of veneration, worship, or obeisance. In fact I don’t think any of the Inner Plane Adeptii want that; they want to work with us. They want to learn from us, as much we want to learn from them.
But let me explain how this particular entity/energy appeared in my life, in a small town in the South West of England, and also to my co-author Billie John, growing up in the sunnier climes of California…
When I first fell in love with Magic, many years ago, it was never about the rituals. I never had any desire to put on robes, fashion wands and chalices, light candles at propitious moments, call down the Moon, or aspire to powerful ceremonies that would bestow high initiations. I’m not in any way knocking or mocking any of these, but they were never for me. What seduced me then, and still does now, was the concept of what Dion Fortune called “The Secret Chiefs.”
This was nothing to do with Native Americans, of course, nor did it refer to any mortal beings. She first mentioned them in her extraordinary, utterly weird, and frequently beautiful autobiography called Psychic Self Defence, which was written in 1930, when she was 40 years old.
Now Dion Fortune (may her name be blest!) was the pen name of Violet Mary Firth (1890-1946). She was one of the most influential magicians of the twentieth century, a true prophetess, and womanhood’s answer to the notorious Aleister Crowley, as I have argued elsewhere. This is a woman who has affected everyone reading this, whether or not they realize it.
In her spiritual development she started off as a Christian Mystic and blended this with some early Theosophical attitudes, but she really got into her stride when she joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Dion Fortune had real power. She oozed psychism through every pore. She was a trance medium who could heal, foresee things, travel in her spirit body, commune with beings in other dimensions, ward off psychic attack, open the vision of her students and co-workers, and fight for the Group Soul of her nation—as she did against the Nazi occultists during World War II. In short, she was the real thing.
But her power, if we can use that term for now, was intimately connected with what she termed her “inner contacts.”
As she recounted in Psychic Self Defence, she had fallen out with one of the senior Adepts within the Order of the Golden Dawn. When the Vernal Equinox arrived it signaled the time for “certain meetings that take place on the astral plane,” which were necessary for her to attend while out of her body. She knew that this was the time that her attacker would choose to make a direct assault, and so she gathered together her own little group and sealed up the place with the usual ceremonial.
A ferocious out-of-the-body battle ensued. She was nearly beaten but went back in again: “This time there was a short sharp struggle, and I was through. I had the Vision of the Inner Chiefs, and returned.”
This was, somehow, so familiar to me, though I was no more than about thirteen at the time and hadn't really stumbled any deeper into the ocean of occultism than those foamy end bits of wave that lap at the beach. It was as though a small corner of a curtain had been pulled aside, allowing me a glimpse of a landscape that—it seemed—I had long since forgotten. And it was beautiful.
Who were these inner beings, these “Chiefs?” What were they? Were they one and the same as “The Masters” championed by the Theosophists? Please could I have one?!
The identity and nature of Dion Fortune's own “Secret Chiefs” is a lengthy and complex topic in its own right, but I was given access to their reality via Christine Hartley, who had worked closely with Dion Fortune in the late 1930s and early 1940s. She gave me the Magical Diaries of herself and Charles Seymour, who had been an important figure within Dion Fortune’s “Fraternity of the Inner Light,” and these made intriguing references to their work with Kha’m-uas.
Historically, Kha’m-uas was the High Priest of Ptah, a son of Rameses II who lived from about 1300 BC to 1246 BCE. Had he not died some ten years before his father he would probably have become Pharaoh.
Seymour identified him as a Merlin figure, potent and ambivalent, neither good nor evil—or beyond both. But the intriguing thing was that Seymour wrote quite openly about making direct mind-to-mind contact with this ancient mage, and in his private diaries described his inner work with him at some length.
So how did I come to make the contact? Well, by excitement and enthusiasm for one thing. When I saw, in Seymour’s hand-written pages, that strange name Kha’m-uas I had the same frisson that had washed over me when I first read about Dion Fortune’s “Vision of the Chiefs” some twenty years before. But the contact was primarily helped by the arduous and mindless act of one-fingered typing on an old clunky machine, transferring his precise script into publishable print.
I became so absorbed in the content and tone, and perhaps attuning to the innate power behind these unusual records, that part of my consciousness became involved with the rites they described: not only what Seymour, Hartley, and Dion Fortune had been doing in London on the eve of World War II, but what Kha’m-uas had been involved with three thousand years before. In the magical realms, it is always happening “now.”
It was shortly after the publication of these diaries that I received a letter from Billie John, an American woman who was married to a Welshman and living in South Wales. She confessed, very shyly, that Kha’m-uas had come through to her when she had been a young girl in California. She had no idea that anyone else had been aware of this being’s existence, except in narrow, highly-scholarly circles.
Billie, in fact, was one of the “real ones,” as I would term it. She was different. No one who met her had any doubt this woman really was a reincarnation of someone from very heart of Ancient Egypt, whose everyday consciousness spent more time there than it did in our present world. Neither of us was particularly interested in past lives, oddly enough, but then neither did we doubt that at some period in the long history of Egypt, we had been siblings. Think of her as a “Mistress of the House of Books” in the Temple of Thoth. A precise, necessarily fussy, and immensely learned individual who cared only about Knowledge, its preservation, and the creation of those links that would help us become illumined by our own researches.
My partnership with Billie during the writing of our Inner Guide to Egypt was one of the most fruitful and rewarding of my life. She made it easy for me to evoke the images. She provided the power. She could have written the book without me: I could never have done it without her. I had only to think: I need such-and-such, a piece of information, and it would arrive by post the next day, or she would raise that very topic in a phone call, and give me what needed. In those days, on various levels and differing ways, Kha’m-uas was very close to both of us.
So what is he? Or could it be a case of what is it? Is Kha’m-uas the spirit of a being who once lived in Ancient Egypt and who is now overseeing certain aspects of spiritual work today? Is he just a convenient symbol that the mind uses in order to give form (and thus understanding) to powerful flows of energy from the inner worlds? Is he/it a trick of one’s own mind, enabling us to turn inside?
I don’t know. But I do know that he acts like a gateway, or perhaps the key to a gateway, which can lead on to broader things…