and the Way
Sufis and The Nine Unknowns
Copyright Victoria LePage 2007
Renć Gućnon (1886 – 1951), the renowned French esotericist who converted to Islam in 1912, was a committed Traditionalist and a Sufi. He believed Western civilization was on a precipitous downward course, and that its only hope was to return to the traditional ideal of government by a spiritual elite. For Gućnon, society should be a reflection of the initiatory hierarchy with the initiate-king at the apex, preserving in his own sanctified state the spiritual ideals and aspirations of his subjects and radiating out to them the social harmony and order inherent in his office. The Italian alchemist Julius Evola (1898 – 1974) was another Traditionalist who, like Gućnon and his contemporary, the Sufi Frithjof Schuon, mourned the departure of the hierarchical mode of government that had given such incomparable vitality, rigour and meaning to the civilizations of antiquity. Evola, however, was sceptical that government by a spiritual elite could possibly manifest in our time, given the profound loss of soul in present human affairs.
But some observers have noted that in the past few decades a new political edge, a new realism, has sharpened the Traditionalist debate. Something unprecedented has entered the scene. Can a covert operation be in progress aimed at regime change for the world? – a return to the reign of the philosopher-king, or perhaps more exactly, of a Council of Sages? It seems an impossible idea in this staunchly democratic civilization, yet the return of the Masters has long been predicted in occult circles. Could such a return already be being secretly set in train?
In 1999 Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince published The Stargate Conspiracy. The authors, who are renowned for their dispassionate and penetrating researches into arcane material, release evidence in their book of an astonishingly powerful cult that has been hidden in the New Age movement for over fifty years. They show that since 1952, or even earlier, there has been a hugely influential secret movement within the American ruling class – among high-level Freemasons and politicians, as well as “top industrialists, cutting-edge scientists, popular entertainers, radical parapsychologists and key figures in military and intelligence circles,” and even at the threshold of the White House itself– that claims direct, telepathic contact with a cabal of advanced spiritual Intelligences from another star system.
According to some schools of thought, these beings from outer space are returning to our planet in spaceships after a long absence, and are preparing to make a mass landing in order to assist humanity once more to a higher level of consciousness. In other cases, the extraterrestrial factor is played down or is not present. All cult followers, however, stress the divine nature of these beings, who are most often known today as the Council of Nine or the Nine Unknowns, or simply “the Nine.” The Nine are widely believed to have long ago governed the civilization of Atlantis, and to have been drawn back to Earth, or to the material plane, by the sufferings of our species.
Much has been left unspoken and indeed deliberately hidden. What Picknett
and Prince are at pains to reveal is that from mysterious beginnings there has
coalesced a widespread movement of devotion, even worship, of the Nine that
presently dominates much of the New Age communities in
The connection to ancient
The Nine themselves, or rather their channelled emissaries and spokesmen,
explain that they are “directly related to Man’s concept of God…
God is nobody else than we together, the Nine Principles of God. There is no God
other than what we are together.”
But they also say that “the controllers of the universe operate under the
direction of the Nine.” And below the controllers are the messengers, who say
they mediate between the controllers and all the myriad planetary civilizations
that make up the universe. So, as in
The Pyramid texts found in the burial chamber of the pyramid of Unas, an
Egyptian pharaoh who reigned from 2356 to2323 BCE, reveal a similar hierarchical
structure in the government of the land of ancient
The Elder gods, however, seem to have been remote from the affairs of Earth. The active god of our mundane world, and the link between the Greater and Lesser Ennead was Horus, the hawk-headed posthumous son of Osiris and Isis. Horus, the Falcon Prince, was actually far older than Osiris, who had came late to the Greater Ennead. In the oldest Egyptian pantheon, Horus, in the company of his consort Hathor, the goddess of love, stood in effect as a lesser analogue of Atum, the One Supreme God who ruled over the spiritual world that existed before the material world of time and space was born. As Atum ruled the spiritual universe, so too did Horus rule the material realm in a long line of Horus-kings.
The followers of the Falcon Prince were known as the Heru Shemsu, the
illustrious Companions or Initiates of Horus who with benevolence and wisdom
In the same way, the channelled entities who
today call themselves the Nine or the Council of Nine are implicitly no more
than instruments - members of some esoteric circle skilled in telepathy - who
transmit the will of the Nine from the highest level of the hierarchy down to
the thousands of receptive New Age acolytes. Certain cult members have disclosed
that, as a consequence of having access to “confidential and secret
information”, they are aware that the highly evolved Entities known as the
Nine, working through their chosen emissaries, aim to indoctrinate humanity in
what amounts to a new global religion. This involves the purging or final
showdown of the forces of good and evil. Something has gone wrong with
humanity’s genetic programming, they say, and the Nine have had to re-enter
our polluted world with the aim of putting things right and setting us on a new
and more spiritually oriented course. This aim, say Picknett and Prince, is
nothing less than the creation of a New World Order based on theocratic rather
than democratic principles, with the Council of Nine itself in control.
James J. Hurtak, a New Age mystic and author who in 1977 channelled The
Keys of Enoch, is a well-known cult figure who has confessed to being
personally in telepathic contact with the Council of Nine. He has alleged
that, as he was driving through the Californian desert one night, a brilliant
beam of light descended and hovered over his car, programming him with the
“Keys” which form the basis of his spiritual teachings. In his book, Hurtak
claims that some races are degenerate, having fallen morally so low that the righteous
must be quarantined from them; and he warns the world in highly-charged biblical
and apocalyptic language that this problem is now critical. A final Battle of
Armageddon is imminent. A mysterious Stargate between heaven and earth has been
opened, as a result of which we are rushing towards a worldwide war between the
forces of Light and Darkness which will precede the coming rule of the
Brotherhood of Light, a body which he identifies with the Council of Nine.
As has been said, at first Hurtak and others aware of these events warned
that very shortly there would be mass landings of the extraterrestrials’
spacecraft on Earth. This benign invasion was due to take place in 1978, with
much interference with radio and television transmissions in order that the Nine
might communicate directly with the people of Earth and prepare them for the
great global upheaval that was to follow. But, as we know, this did not occur,
and after the millennium eve passed without incident talk of an intergalactic
invasion waned. Hurtak explained that according to a message from the Nine “it
was no longer necessary.” The Nine, who, as we have seen,
at first identified themselves as divine Beings or aspects of God rather
than as extraterrestrials, are no longer necessarily aliens from outer space in
the minds of their devotees. There appears to have been a shift towards the
concept of a circle of Masters or Avatars who together express the will of a
still higher single Authority, the Great White Brotherhood of Theosophical fame.
Since 1978, a programme of indoctrination has continued which, according
to Picknett and Prince, has changed the worldview of millions of ordinary people
as well as that of talented scientists and thinkers
of worldwide stature. The message the Nine give out is that there is to be a
“galactic war and housecleaning that is being completed throughout the
with a golden age to come in which a new form of world government will emerge.
According to the Hurtak vision, the new “Spiritual Administration” is to be
centred in the
There are various versions of this scenario within the seminal circle
Picknett and Prince are targeting. The late Dr. Andrija Puharich’s interest,
The Nine were first channelled in the
The French diplomat Louis Jacolliot (1837 – 90)
first alerted the West to the legend of the Nine Unknowns, according to which
Asoka, the third century BCE Buddhist emperor of India, formed a secret council
of nine wise men in an attempt to encapsulate
all human knowledge of the time, and to make sure it was guarded and dispensed
justly without the possibility of corruption. Jacolliot claimed these unknown
adepts were still alive and that he was in touch with them. But another French
mystic, Saint-Ives d’Alvedre (1824 – 1909), claimed that the legend was far
older. He said that the Nine Unknowns were beings from the star Sirius who came
originally to the
Indeed it is not likely that the Indian emperor Asoka originated this
majestic legend in 273 BCE: it is far older. According to recent research, the
Heliopolitan priesthood inherited the myth of the Elder Gods, half of them male
and half female, from the pre-dynastic half-mythic depths of Nilotic history,
Again, R.A. Schwaller de
Lubicz, a modern father of occultism who died in 1961, spoke of the Nine
Principles. In 1913 he wrote concerning the number 10: “As number it is 10,
containing and surrounded by the nine principles, the irreducible One, the
The nine principles are to be found in the nine structural archetypes of the
Qabalistic Tree of Life, in the nine levels of mythic
Thus Pauwels and Bergier were two authors who regarded the Nine as a
universal phenomenon, a guiding Presence that arbitrated impartially above all
civilizations, East or West, offering special succour to none. And it is here we
run up against a very strange anomaly, and one that Picknett and Prince find
sinister. Ostensibly, Hurtak’s Council of Nine is working for the whole of
humanity through its devoted followers; but according to these two researchers
what seems to be nearer to the reality is a marked bias towards the interests of
the U.S.-led, right-wing Christian conclave of Western nations. Ominously,
nearly all the followers of the Nine seem to be in some way connected to U.S. or
European governmental military and surveillance agencies, frequently through
funding, and to be working towards a broadly Euro-centred Western-style outcome,
with the war against terrorism high on the agenda.
Picknett and Prince note with asperity that the cult of the Nine Unknowns
seems to be far more about Western power than world peace. They point out that
although the multinational elite that is fighting terrorism embraces nearly all
the religions of the world there are notable exceptions. “It does not include
a major religion of the African-Americans or of the Arab world. Muslims are not
Neither are the black races.
The Muslim races are obliquely characterized as “Children of
Darkness” who are presumably contending against the “Children of Light.”
Hurtak talks about the “anti-universe” or “the violation of the Living
Light exemplified in the Kaaba, the Black Cube in
Again, Hurtak refers to the Black Cube as functioning “with Alpha
Draconis…for the Children of Darkness.”
In such discriminatory terms does Hurtak discuss the galactic wars that
are to be waged between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.
In fact, there is marked Christian-fundamentalist and anti-Islamic
propoganda concealed within the Nine’s overt messages of universal peace and
goodwill…at least as these messages are being relayed by the Christian
faithful. Even the Jews, though regarded as an especially holy people, “the
saviours of the earth”, do not altogether escape censure for their rejection
of Jesus as the Messiah. Yet despite these negative omens, Picknett and Prince,
originally somewhat sceptical, admit the Nine give every evidence of
authenticity on all other counts. They are not fakes.
So what is going on in the Western corridors of power? Can it be that,
regardless of the true source of the Nine’s transmissions, many of those
purporting to channel them are actually bending the teachings to their own
patriotic and geopolitical agenda? If so, considerable ignorance is being
displayed by those who claim to be the West’s spiritual leaders, for the
legend of the Nine Unknowns is just as prevalent in the Islamic world as it is
in the West. Pauwels and Bergier are right. Sufism, Islam’s mystical path, has
long laid claim to this same legend, which it asserts is to be found in all
religions, Eastern and Western, appearing in the sacred records of peoples from
all over the world and from times immemorial. Even in
Sufis attribute great mystical significance to their tradition of the Nine Unknown Masters as it is expressed in the No-Koonja, the nine-pointed Sufi diagram also known as the Naqsh or Seal. They say that this metaphysical glyph “reaches for the innermost secrets of man”; and the Sufi writer Ernest Scott in his classic The People of the Secret implies that it stands for one of the highest and most authoritative echelons in the Sufi hierarchy. Accordingly, there seems little political reality in any New Age dream of a partisan clique of Nine Unknowns ruling a white-supremacist empire that excludes Islam. No such outcome is ever likely to happen if the Nine Unknowns being channelled by Western psychics today are genuinely who they purport to be.
The misunderstanding inherent in the fundamentalist Christian stance – and here we must include modern American Freemasonry and other such occult movements of the New Age variety as the Alice Bailey and Rosicrucian schools - is in fact understandable. For the Sufi path, an ancient and very secret tradition that pre-dates its affiliation with Islam, has been almost unknown and unexamined in the West until the past few decades. Various Sufi monasteries and landmarks can be reliably dated to periods prior to the birth of Muhammad, Islam’s founder, and are therefore signs of Sufism’s secret creative presence in the Near East long before the rise of the Arabian religion in the seventh century CE; while even afterwards the Sufi brotherhood’s crucial part in the development and spread of Islam has remained a hidden element in that event. But that is fast changing. Robert James Buratti, a Sydney-based researcher and teacher of Literature and Philosophy, says of the Sufi tradition today that
And of course the modern media has helped this outing process. The appearance of various articles and books on the subject of the “Hidden Sufi Directorate” from 1960 onward, written by eminent Sufi authors such as the Afghan teacher Idries Shah, has meant that an awareness of and interest in Sufism has been growing within the modern Western mind, gradually dispelling its ignorance. “When the countless and seemingly insignificant instances are assembled,” says Buratti, “they point to a very real indication that the secret group many have long suspected may be slowly rising to the surface in the 21st century.” And with that surfacing has come confirmation that the Nine Unknowns are a universal phenomenon common to all of humanity, including Muslims, black, brown or white.
A story circulates widely in Javanese esoteric schools that in the early
part of the twentieth century the circle of Nine Unknown Sages met in Java to
bring a new spiritual practice into the world. For this purpose they formed a
closed meditative circuit that generated powerful cosmic energies. They knew
that humanity was on the threshold of a higher stage in consciousness involving
the awakening of the Spiritual Soul, an organ still relatively dormant in most
people on earth today; and the Nine elected to become a spearhead into that
future. There are three soul centres – animal, human and spiritual - in each
individual, with the last-named, the Spiritual Soul, under the governance and
direction of the divine Will. When awakened in the course of evolution, the
Spiritual Soul profoundly energizes and unifies the various lower instruments
that normally compete and jostle within human consciousness. The animal and
human souls then come under its dominance, and the union of the three
under divine Command immeasurably elevates and spiritualizes the
individual’s state of being. To aid in this evolutionary process the Nine
Masters sought to lay down a path capable of stimulating in men and women a
greater consciousness and control of the love/wisdom powers of the Spiritual
The result of the Nine’s meditations was that one night a brilliant
beam of light descended from the sky onto a young Javanese Muslim called
Muhammad Subuh who was returning home from a Sufi Nachshbandi meeting. The beam
of light “programmed” him (just as it would “programme” James Hurtak in
the West), thus opening the way to a spiritual revelation. This seed-revelation
developed into a new practice and teaching called Subud that would presently be
taken to the West.
One of the Javanese sects that indirectly emerged as
a result of this event was Sumarah, “the Way of Surrender” - surrender being
the essential meaning of the word Islam.
Sumarah has become a large-scale movement in
Picknett and Prince are justified in their dismay at the call to holy war that is being secretly broadcast on the American Freemasonic and New Age thought waves, a message that in essence pursues power and hegemony through religious conflict. It would seem that many Western ideologues, even those in the highest positions of political or scientific power, have seriously misunderstood the meaning of their dialogue with the Council of Nine. They would appear to have misconstrued the true nature of this group and to have appropriated to themselves an influence that should be global and pan-religious, one that embraces the faith of Islam and the black races equally with that of the Christian West.
A number of derivations have been proposed for the term Sufi, perhaps the most likely being the Persian word saf, meaning ‘pure’; but the Brotherhood has gone under many names since its inception. Believed by some to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains 20,000 years ago, Sufism is essentially a search for gnosis, which it defines as illumination in union with God – an ultimate state of perfection towards which the race as a whole is striving. Technically, Sufis are those who have arrived at this goal of mystical union, but in practice the term also applies to the many dervishes and other aspirants who are on the Sufi path seeking esoteric knowledge, but who are still far from being “perfected ones.” The latter, the true Sufis, through the special esoteric techniques they practice are thought to be in possession of a wide range of psychospiritual powers and exalted states of consciousness unknown to the common man; so much so that legend has referred to them as the Secret People, a hidden hierarchy of Masters who are guides and mentors of ordinary humanity, a “Hidden Directorate” of the race. It is to this concept of a Hidden Directorate that Scott relates the Nine Unknowns.
The mural art on the walls of ancient Egyptian monuments and temples, showing figures in the totemic masks of animals, birds and fish, makes clear the shamanic origins of the Egyptian culture. If Sufism is 20,000 years old, it began with shaman masters who, as explained by the Greek-Armenian Sufi teacher George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, were at a far more advanced cultural level than the ordinary food-gathering and nomadic tribes. Living in taboo isolation, the Masters were already settled in villages and raising cattle, probably also experimenting with crops. They were regarded as revered and feared demi-gods by the tribesmen, who were led by a cabal of these superior sages. Such a group of advanced human individuals Buratti regards as the reality behind all legends of “masters” and “initiates” from earliest historical times to the present.
In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff speaks of Seven
Sages rather than Nine. But, like Saint-Ives d’Alvedre, he speaks of them as a
group of beings like the Nine Unknowns, men of great wisdom who long ago came to
The Egyptian Edfu texts, the most ancient hieroglyphic texts known, also
speak of the Shebtui or Ogdoad, the eight primeval Builder gods who presided
over the Nile valley in an age long before dynastic
In his memoirs recorded in Meetings With Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff
recounts how he and a few comrades, the so-called Seekers of Truth who travelled
with him in a search for the lost Wisdom of antiquity, learned of the story of
the Seven Sages from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs they managed to decipher
among the ruins of
Seven thousand years before Noah’s Flood, Gurdjieff said, a great
civilization had flourished on
Haninn, an island corresponding to Crete in the approximate vicinity of
In the Gilgamesh epic there are similar stories of the arrival of emissaries of an ancient spiritual culture who guided an infant humanity in its evolution, and who later, when Atlantis was lost beneath the sea, settled for a time in Old Europe and gave it the arts and sciences of civilization. In the mythologies of various peoples there is considerable corroborating evidence that Egyptian civilization among others was seeded in this way, suddenly and in a near-perfected state by an advanced race from elsewhere, rather than evolving gradually from scratch as academia asserts.
Gurdjieff believed that we should understand the past as fully as possible in order to lay a sound foundation for the future. In Meetings With Remarkable Men, he states that around 2500 BCE the Masters held a great conference of wise men in Babylon; and there they founded the famous Sarmoun Society, which would act as a guardian of the primordial tradition of wisdom and powers held by Sufis and potentially available to the rest of humanity. This secret Sufi Wisdom school would function as a preparation for the great Zoroastrian epoch to come. (And it is worth noting here that according to James Buratti sarmoun is the name for the spiritual energy commonly associated with a blessing or baraka from the great Sufi teacher, Bahauddin Naqshband – and no doubt analogous to the baraka that fell from the sky one night onto a favoured Sufi pupil in Java, resulting in a new spiritual movement.)
In the centuries that followed, the Sarmoun Society, so it is believed,
secretly fed much esoteric knowledge into the Chaldaean culture, into the
migrating Abrahamic people who passed through the Middle East into Egypt, and,
two thousand years later, into the Jewish people exiled in Babylon. Idries Shah
says that alchemy came to the Jews via this Sufi route. Many of the exiles never
In fact, the doctrines, rites and general worldview of the migrating
sects also infused the Sufi stream in a mutual enrichment, for they had brought
with them to
Buratti takes the view that Sufism, as the hidden taproot of all
spiritual teaching, has moulded the development of many of the world religions,
among them Christianity as well as Judaism. “There is evidence,” he
observes, “that at the deepest levels of Sufi secrecy there is a mutual
communication with the mystics of the Christian West.”
Ernest Scott traces the illuminism of Sufism hidden in early Christianity in the
inspired teachings of the
Despite the ever-present threat of the Inquisition, many scholars and
saints of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance who have been thought of as solely
Christian have been strongly influenced by the hidden Sarmoun stream; men of
great spirituality and knowledge such as Paracelsis, Thomas Aquinas and Michel
de Notredame. The latter, Nostradamus as he was known, was a doctor of letters
born of a Jewish family forcibly converted to Christianity, who remained a Jew,
a Christian and a closet Sufi to the end of his days. And it is known that the
brilliant Pope Gerbert d’Aurillac, born in 940, withdrew from his monastery of
With the widespread emergence in
According to Idries Shah, Freemasons have frequently been called Coalmen
or charcoal burners in some Arabic dictionaries. A Sufi circle that traced its
origins to Bayazid of Bistam also called its members Coalmen and bequeathed its
tradition to an Italian society that to this day is known as the Carbonari, a
“deteriorated” movement first mystical, then ethical and finally political.
Idries Shah says that 12,000 Freemasons joined the Carbonari in
Gurdjieff is only one of the many recent initiates who remind us of the company of illuminated Sufi adepts who have through the centuries and the millennia thus enriched the world with their wisdom, often anonymously. How is it, one must ask, that the Sufi vehicle of the Primordial Gnosis has survived for so long, millennium after millennium, in undiminished strength? There is no doubt that its gift of adaptability is the secret of Sufism’s immemorial vitality, its ascendancy over the remorseless attrition of time. It is friendly to the new; it absorbs, owns and reinvents every influence that impinges on it, whether favourable or hostile. It yields in order to command. It denies the existence of enemies, and so conquers all. It is the antithesis of Christianity’s Will to Power.
Within a short time of the emergence of Islam, Sufis were following the
Saracen armies into
So who are the Nine, really? A dense veil falls over these mysterious Beings the more we seek to penetrate it. Many of the current myths about them can be discounted. The truth is that we know almost nothing about these shadowy Guides of humanity. They remain a mystery, an X factor in the story of human evolution, an elusive presence that Sufis call the Hidden Directorate, but about whose hierarchy – or even existence – we can only speculate.
Is the presence of their emissaries among us a harbinger of things to come? – of a return to Traditionalism? Does it presage some kind of revolutionary change in the political structure of Western society – perhaps not a return to the reign of the initiate-king, but a change that allows for a democratic institution guided from above by a council of wise spiritual overseers? It would seem impossible. Yet democracy on its own has proved hollow. In this violent and unstable transitional period which is steadily moving us into a new World Age many things are possible that would once have seemed beyond the farthest limits of the imagination.
Might not an elitist political philosophy prove to be more beneficial than our present system? Democracy has permitted all of us an unprecedented awareness of the Self-principle at the core of consciousness: might we not find, then, that a realignment with the sacred perhaps better reflects the verities of the Self, and therefore a greater creativity? True, the Sufi ideal of a political paradigm that includes guidance by a spiritual elite is one extremely difficult of acceptance by most Western people. Yet it may well be in our stars.
However, an obstacle to any realization of such a form of
government, one based on spirit, is the fact that the further the message of the
Nine travels down the hierarchic levels between us and them the more it is
contaminated by the sea of negativity that surrounds the planet at present. The
Will to Power lodged in the Western psyche has become lethal and even the very
human emissaries of the Nine are clearly not free of this defect. Unlike the
Greater Ennead of ancient
Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition, Inner Traditions
Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy,
 Ibid., 168.
A.E. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, Methuan
 Ibid., 196.
 Ibid., 225.
R.A. Schwaller de Lubiez, The Egyptian Miracle: An Introduction to
the Wisdom of the Temple, Inner Traditions,
Ernest Scott, The People of the Secret, Octagon Press,
 Picknett & Prince, op. cit., 329.
James J. Hurtak, The Book of Knowledge: The Keys of Enoch, Academy
for Future Sciences,
 Picknett & Prince, op. cit., 325.
 Ibid., 325.
J.J. Hurtak, op. cit., 258.
 John Major Jenkins, The Mayan Lord of Creation and 2012, New Dawn magazine, 2006, 71.
Robert Buratti, from an article in the New Dawn magazine,
Paul Denison Stange, The Sumarah Movement in Javanese Mysticism, A
Masters Thesis published by UMI, the
 J.G. Bennett, The Masters of Wisdom, Turnstone Books, London, 1977, 37 – 39, and The Dramatic Universe, Vol. 1V, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1961. 250 and 395.
G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Routledge,
Andrew Collins, The Gods of
James Moore, Gurdjieff, Element Books,
J.G. Bennett, Gurdjieff: Making a New World, Turnstone Books,
H. Schonfield, The Essene Odyssey, Element Books,
 Scott, op. cit., 76.
 Buratti, op. cit., New Dawn magazine.
 Scott, op. cit., 60.
 Ibid., 60.
 Ibid., 176.
Idries Shah, The Sufis, Octagon Press,
Copyright Victoria LePage 2007