Melita Denning's Biography (Books)
Ordo Aurum Solis ("Order of the Gold of the Sun") is a Hermetic and Theurgic order founded in England in 1897 by George Stanton and Charles Kingold. It is a vehicle of the Ogdoadic Tradition, itself an important element of the Western Mystery Tradition. Ordo Aurum Solis is best known through the published works of two of its past Grand Masters, Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski. Better known by their pseudonyms, Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, the husband and wife team together authored many books (some reappearing in newer editions) that cover different aspects of magical practice, such as the Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection and Llewellyn Practical Guide to Creative Visualization, as well as their seminal work (reprinted in three volumes) outlining the philosophy and practices of Ordo Aurum Solis: The Magical Philosophy.
Despite a few similarities to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, some of its descendants, various Thelemic orders, and other groups stemming from the Rosicrucian revival of the 19th century, Ordo Aurum Solis represents a distinct and unique system of magical philosophy and practice based on the Ogdoadic Tradition.
Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips are the pen-names of Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski, who together authored many books in the early days of Llewellyn Publications. Chief among these was the formal presentation of the Order Aurum Solis' philosophy and praxis: The Magical Philosophy.
Melita Denning, a Jungian scholar, was the first female Grand Master of the Order. She led the Order from 1976 to 1987, and from 1988 till her death on March 23, 1997. Earlier in her life, she had traveled throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean in search of occult knowledge. It was after six years of research that she finally came upon Ordo Aurum Solis.
Osborne Phillips was Grand Master of the Order from 1997 to 2003. He received magical training early in his life at the hands of Ernest Page, a London astrologer of some repute. In the early 1970s, he was in charge of psychic investigation as conducted by certain initiates of Ordo Aurum Solis. Phillips was also a student of U Maung Maung Ji, who specialized in Eastern philosophical systems and was a co-worker of the UN Secretary-General U Thant.
Jean-Louis de Biasi, an author and philosopher born in Southern France, has been involved in the Mystery Traditions for the past forty years. He has been Grand Master of Ordo Aurum Solis since 2003, and, as shown on the Order Aurum Solis' website. De Biasi has written books on the Ogdoadic Tradition, the Tarot, the aura, and Freemasonry. As per his website, he now seems to be actively writing books in English. He wrote Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons: Sacred Mysteries, Rituals and Symbols Revealed and has written two books directly related to Ordo Aurum Solis: The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis: Using Tarot Talismans for Ritual & Initiation and Becoming Gods: Invoking the Powerful Divinities to Transform and Enjoy your Life.
Vivian Godfrey (Melita Denning) was diagnosed with cancer early in 1997 and died on March 23 of that same year.
On June 14, 2003, Leon Barcynski (Osborne Phillips) retired as Grand Master and was succeeded by Jean-Louis de Biasi, the current Grand Master, who subsequently made a declaration that bore witness to the Hermetic nature of the work of the order.
In 2010, the website of Ordo Aurum Solis made mention of the addition of a public branch of the Order called the Ecclesia Ogdoadica, a religious organization transmitting the traditional aspects of Hermetic religion to the public. Reference was made to the religious philosophy of Gemistus Pletho, a Greek philosopher of the Renaissance and heir to the ancient mystery religions. The priests of the Ecclesia Ogdoadica are initiates of Ordo Aurum Solis whose goals are to re-establish the cults of the Immortal Divinities, with the authority of their Hermetic heritage, as taught by the Sacred Texts of Hermetism. This in the hopes that it will promote a Hermetic way of life.