Some notes on the Whare Ra vault

Whare Ra was the name of the home of the New Zealand branch of the Order of the Stella Matutina, whose existance in New Zealand was an offshoot of the Golden Dawn brought to New Zealand by Richard and Harriet Felkin in the 1910’s.

The following is an excript from Robert S. Ellwood’s outstanding Islands of the Dawn: The Story of Alternative Spirituality in New Zealand:

between the doors still lies something even more intriguing, a hexagonal chamber, the vault.Here those undergoing initiation into the second order would spend an entire solitary night lost to the outer world, dwelling in some sub heaven of esoteric symbols. The inside walls and ceilings of this room are still covered with kabbalistic diagrams, and target like sets of concentric circles said to serve as sights for astral projection.Perceiving its wonders with no help but that of a flashlight, I became dizzy in spirit after only a few minutes in this strange place. I can well imagine that one who, on top of an evening of secret ceremonial, spent a night here with such companions as the golden eye of Horus and the Tetragrammaton, and no clear way out save via the astral plane, would emerge the next day mightily transfigured.
Ellic Howe has published an excerpt from a manuscript account, probably by Felkin, of W. B. Yeats’ 6 = 5 degree initiation October 16, 1914 in a Stella Matutina ritual Felkin had written. It remarkably evokes the strange inner weather raised by the order’s rites. At one point, the postulant is required to lie in the Pastos, a highly ornamented coffin, within the vault, while a series of thirty ­six bells were rung:
“At the thirteenth Bell he is faint; at the Fourteenth he is very cold; at the sixteenth he again emerges into a further higher plane; at the Seventeenth he is like a transparent rainbow. The Colours of the Planets play upon him. Then they merge into brilliant Light and for the rest of the Bells he shone with it. The rising from the Tomb and the Sprinkling appear to involve a very great and serious effort on the part of both Postulant and Officers . . . .” (Howe, Magicians of the Golden Dawn)
whare ra vault

The Interior of the Whare Ra Vault

The Book of the Tomb (Symbolism of the Seven Sides of the Vault of C.R. with rare drawings) (1921) (Interesting additional material by Nick Farrell who made the Book of the Tomb publicly available.)

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