donderdag 8 april 2010

The Temple of Starlight by Ina Custers-van Bergen

In this blog follows a closer analysis of The Temple of Starlight. This article was original written in Dutch language. We have decided to translate it into English because of the many responses on this blog.

In The Netherlands there is magical order, named: The Hermetic Order of the Temple of Starlight, or OTLA (Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum). The Order was founded by a dutch woman: Maria Catherine Angelina Custers-van Bergen (date of birth: 05-04-1957 Roermond)

Those who Google on the Internet, and search for particular topics, such as magic and mystery-plays, will find the website of The Temple of Starlight.

That seekers for magick end up on the website of the Temple of Starlight. This website is a result of very good PR teamwork work behind Custers. She puts a lot of energy into promoting her order and activities and she has a huge PR team helping her. Custers has ensured that her site is linked on almost every single page or link page, regarding the spiritual or new age courses, so she is easy to find. In addition, for promotion her,there are a large number of articles published in various magazines. All about Ina Custers and her temple of Starlight.

The website of the Temple of Starlight is a fascinating website with lots of information about courses, workshops and weekends, about magick and Western mystery traditions. It also offers the opportunity to join en become a member of Custer's Magical order. This membership is not for free.

The purpose of the Order of The Temple of Starlight is to train people, through initiation, to become a Priest-Magician. The training that the Temple of Starlight offers is based on the works and grades of the Golden Dawn. Custers her magical school has a three degrees initiation system, which she has divide in several in-between stages. Per degree the student goes through an education-training courses which is crowned with an initiation. The road to the first stage takes more than five years.

An analysis of the website of The Temple of Starlight shows us the following facts: The background of the site gives an appearance of a mysterious nocturnal sea. On the web-page Custers frequently used the color purple. The color of the highest spiritual ideal.

The sea is the symbol of the esoteric doctrine of the subconscious, or what is invisibly present under the surface. Above this sea is a sky visible, with in the middle an image of an unknown planet. Or is it the moon? This "star" on top is probably the Sun behind the Sun, the so-called spiritual light. On the right side in the sky, the constellation Ursa Minor is depicted. This star is also known as the Little Dipper.

For ancient Egypt the constellation Ursa Minor was associated with Anubis. Anubis was the god of mummification and conductor between the two worlds. We can ask ourselves is this image in the top of right corner of Custers website a coincident, or is Anubis part of the “energy field " and is Anubis what Custers calls her Innerplane contact? Is Anubis the teacher, the Secret Chief or "The Hidden Master" behind her school? Is this one of the reasons why Custers also speaks, just like the ancient Egyptians did, about; " The unification of the two lands”?

Custers has written a article called "the Fenisk rises again from the Ashes" herein she is talking about the contact behind the school which behaves like a phoenix. Within each generation, it acts in a way, so that he renewed the doctrine as best will be adapted to the times, which is just like the Egyptians themselves described this process.

On Custers website you would expect extensive information about magick and ancient mysteries. And you hope to find texts and books on magick rituals or an explanation about how to use magic. Unfortunaly this is not the case. Custers her site does not provide extensive information about magick or about the ancient mysteries.

On Custers her web site you will find just a small number of short and shallow articles on Magick. These can be found under 'knowledge'. In the menu on the left. You will find also files in PDF format, on magick and related topics. You can download these files. To receive these PDF files, the reader can also register by e-mail, you will get informed by Custers as a new article is published. This PDF articles are short presentations about what is offered in the training program. Manly written to recruit members or new students.

On Custers webpages there are also small pieces of texts, written by students and members of The Temple of Starlight. These can be found under "Photos" in the left menu. These members only write about their very positive experiences with Custers and about their great experiences in the Temple of Starlight. They are also very enthusiastic about Ina Custers Ina and her methods of teaching.

Under 'Photos' there is a very interesting glimpse into the ritual practice of this order. You can see what is happening during the rituals. These pictures are showing what kind of stuff and symbols Custers is using during those rituals. We see a lot of black goods, pentagrams, candles, statues and altars, and some people in dark robes. Black and red and gold seem to be the favorite color which she mainly uses during the rituals .

dubble click on this image to get a glimpse in to the dark rituals of the Temple of Stralight.

Black, red and gold are also the colors used for the paintings, sashes and banners, which are above, or hanging on the altars. This color gives the impression that Custers, deliberately or not, is associated with black or dark forces. It looks as if the Masters of the dark are in charge in this magical order. A visitor who stumbles on this photo page, would easy think that he has bumped into the photo pages of the church of Satan.

On the page you will find information about the study program (a correspondence courses is also possible.), course, or weekend workshop of Custers, and you can learn how to become a payed member of the Order the Temple of Starlight. A membership will cost you a big amount of money. A simple course day will does 95 Euros.

Custers is getting lot of money out of this activities.

How many members or students Custers order counts is nowhere to be found. The Temple of Starlight it is is founded and established by only by Ina Custers.

About the history and the establishment of The Temple of Starlight you could find some information on the Dutch section of Wikipedia and on the web pages of the Temple of Starlight it zelf.

Wikipedia has removed the article because of the commercial content. This article was written by a member of the TOS, Diana den Held. She is also webmaster of the site http://www.Gevleugeldewoorden.nl. In daily life, she works as an Internet strategist.

The article on Wikipedia was a cleverly written advertisementto promote the Temple of Starlight.

About the establisment of the "Hermetic Order of the Temple of Starlight" Wikipedia stated the following: The Order of the Temple of Starlight by Ina Custers-van Bergen is established in November 2003 in parallel with the former Lodge Auset Hekau.
On the Internet you will find no information about Lodge Auset Hekau except a link on the Web: http://www.servantsofthelight.org/aboutSOL/lodges.html. Under the heading Full SOL Lodges. This is strange because the Temple of Starlight doesn’t operate under SOL and here the TOS is regarded as a full SOL Lodge. This link reverences however to http://www.templeofstarlight.nl/

On the same page under the headline Daughter Schools we find relating texts about the Temple of Starlight:
"Within a school Lodges are the" children "or That school and, like children They grow, change, and beginning to express Their Own Individual styles and ways of working. This Is to Be Expected and was applauded by the 'Mother' school. If the teaching Has Been assimilated well the next stage is reached and a Lodge in effect breaks away from ITS matrix and Becomes a school in ITS own right. " - Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
* Temple of Starlight (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Under the headline:
Affiliated Lodges are two lodges in the Netherlands listed. These have no URL to a Web reference. If these two lodges have any connection or partnership with The Temple of starlight is unknown.:
The following lodges are not formally a part of SOL, but are affiliated independent Lodges.
Netherlands:
Lodge Frau Holle (a womens-lodge) - Amsterdam
Lodge Stella Maris - Amsterdam
About these lodges is also nothing to find on the Internet. This is something which need a deeper look inside to complete the information about history of the Temple of starlight.

This is what the Dutch Wikipedia wedpages are telling us about the founder of The Starlight:
Ina Custers-van Bergen (Roermond, 1957) is a Dutch Magister Templi, occultist, mystica and a writer. Ina Custers-van Bergen devoted herself from early childhood to her spiritual development. At the age of seventeen she started yoga and Zen Buddhism, worked with the material of Fritz Perls, Eva Pierrakos and practiced the bio-energetics of Alexander Lowen. The search led her through a variety of Eastern and Western traditions until she came in contact with the work of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki of the Servants of the Light , School of Occult Sciences (SOL). After she had once signed up for the curriculum she developed first to supervisor, then later she became the European coordinator of the SOL.

On the webpage of The Temple of Starlight stated that Ina Custers-van Bergen worked as a psychiatric nurse, social therapist and that she has worked as a department manager in psychiatric care. She is also a certified NLP Practitioner.
It is not listed on the site or she still works healthcare sector, whether she is fulltime busy with her order: The Temple of Starlight. It is also not mentioned on het web pages whether she is married or if she has any children. Her personal situation is completely ignored in her publications and on various websites, where attention is paid to Ina Custers or The Temple of Starlight.

Custers web page only a summary is given of her career and her work within The Temple of Starlight. Enumerating a list of careers is likely done, to aim a solid and sound image. Properly to this profiling is used to strengthen the image of Ina Custers-van Bergen herself and her order. With her resume she wants to make us believe that she is both in the occult field as on civic matters on top. She also shows in her resume that she also has therapeutic qualities. if the right profile is given, followed by the actual training she claims, her extraordinary work, experience and her obtained (magical) degrees, we can’t check anywhere if truth is written on Ina Custers her webpages.

Wikipedia tells us the following about Custers career: she began her business career as an artist, and she made a start in that time with her spiritual development through yoga and Zen Buddhism. At her 30th, she made a professional switch because she became intrigued by the spiritual work and special abilities of the human spirit. As a result, she began working as a psychiatric nurse in open and closed sections, and later worked as a social therapist and department manager. She has worked as sociotherapist including such programs as 'coping with hearing voices', developed by Professor Marius Romme.
Over her career as an artist, and her work as sociotherapist, and about Rommer program is nothing to be found on the Internet.

She specify herself on its web page in the flowing way: At this moment Ina has focused herself completely on teaching, she writes lessons, rituals, lectures, gives workshops for students from different countries. Her goal is to make the ancient Mystery texts and techniques accessible for modern people who are interested in practical esoterics

Ina Custers-van Bergen is the self-appointed - Magister Templi and Director of Studies of her own formed magic order Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum. This order was founded by her in 2003. Ina says more about herself on her website that she is a Cosmic Mediator and an Initiation Third Grade. She is head (Magister Templi) of Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum. She tells us that she is a very experienced ritual magician and she has an extensive experience in organizing lectures, courses, trainings and weekend workshops

Her initiation line comes from Mathers and Moina J.W. Brody-Innes from the Alpha et Omega Lodge of the Stella Matutina Temple of the Golden Dawn, by Dr.. Theodore Moriarty to Dion Fortune, the founder of the Society of the Inner Light, and by WE Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and Butler of the Servants of the Light.

After the training by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, she broke away from the Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki (servants of Light) lodge and as an result of that Custers has independently founded her own order, of which she is also only the head.
The Dutch wikipedia states: That Ina Custers has been authorized by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki to found a European Daughter school in the Western Mystery School Tradition and Ceremonial Magic: The Hermetic Order of the Temple of Starlight.

There is no proof whether the The Temple of Starlight is an official consent and Daughter School from Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, magick school Servants of Light, this is probably not the case. Again, nothing can be found on the Internet.

Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum is a foundation and is registries at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce registered as a religious organization. This way of registering a company has many advantages. This registration construction results in paying less tax ant it is technically very attractive. This is in contrast to other orders and secret societies, since they usually form an association. Freemasonry has such an association form. Because Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum is not an association, the members of Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum therefore, have no in site in voice in the organisation affairs or financial affairs of the Order.

The data and training courses at The Temple of Starlight are paid per item. There is no set year membership fee or annual subscription. This gives the impression that this is a commercial institution, whether Custers is a sole trader, under the name of a Mystery School, which shall not result in the club's, but the fill the pockets with money of the Magister Templi? Who knows it may say!

W do not know if the purpose of this school are as noble as web page of The Temple of Starlight would have us believe, it is untraceable.

On the methods of training at The Temple of Starlight the webpage states the folowing: Ina has all training modules of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight ® designed so that they, through psychotherapeutic systems, hypnosis, NLP, Reiki, Kabbalah and ceremonial magic a support system is intertwined. This system generates emotional, mental and spiritual health and growth in a person.

Books and publications of The Temple of Starlight:
Ina Custers-van Bergen is the author of the book “ De weg naar de oude Mysterien”. This book is translated into English and titled "The Temple of High Magic.

Ina has published many rituals and writings. Check out ISBN Agency. A complete list of her publications can be found at: https: / / www5.cbonline.nl/pls/apexcop/f? P = 130:1010:2576145777405522: SEARCH: NO: RP:: & cs = 38D75BBEAA6176ABE6981A38C7212729D

It concerns a lot of material translated and edited by other writers like Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki.

Wikipedia mentions that Ina Custers-van Bergen various magical rituals wrote in German, English and Dutch. O.a. titles are:

* Once Upon a Time in Heaven, based on ritual Enuma Elish. (2004, Servants of the Light)
* Sekhmet as she dances. (2004, Temple of Starlight)
* Mother Bird. (2004, Temple of Starlight)
* Immaculate Conception. Plant the Seed of Life of Life. (2004, Temple of Starlight)
* The Wheel Of The Seven Fates, Dance of the Seven Hathors. (2004, Temple of Starlight)
* Have The Sed Festival of King Unas, a series or Rituals based on the Egyptian Pyramid Texts. (2005, Temple of Starlight)
* Preparing the Boat for the Flood, Gilgamesh Epic ritual based on the. (2005, Temple of Starlight)
* Paradiso, ritual based on La Divina Comedia of Dante. (2005, Servants of the Light)
* Light in Exelcis, eröffnungsritual Pagan Federation International of Germany. (2005, PFI)
* The Festival of the Lights, The Jewel of Innanah. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* This Reise des Jesters. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* The Great Horizon. The night of reckoning the Spirits. (2006, Temple of Starlight).

Pathworkings note on Wikipedia:

Ina wrote several magical meditations and exercises in German, English and Dutch. Titles o.a.

* Nut eats her children. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* The Taming of the sea serpent. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* Der Wächter des West. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* The White City. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* The Temple of the Crystal. (2007, Temple of Starlight)
* The Tower of Silence. (2007, Temple of Starlight)
* The Spiral Path. (2007, Temple of Starlight)

Workshops on Wikipedia mentions

* The Twelve Hours of the Night, Introduction to the Egyptian, Part 1. (2005, Servants of the Light)
* The Twelve Hours of the Night, Part 2 Introduction to the Egyptian. (2005, Servants of the Light)
* Einführung in that Westliche Mystery Tradition. (2006, Temple of Starlight)
* Return of the Goddess. (2007, Temple of Starlight)
* Moon Magic (2007, PFI)
* Anubis, Shamans Guide Through the 'Gate (2007, Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* The Magus of Eternity (2008, Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* Atlantis, the Sea Mysteries (2008, Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* The Sword in the Stone (2009, Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* The Way of the Wise, Procession Road - (Ritual Magic I Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* The Gateway to the Gods Procession Road - (Ritual Magic II Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)
* The Winding Waterway, Procession Road - (Ritual Magic III Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight)


The webpage of the Temple of Starlight tells us that:
Ina Custers-van Bergen is currently working on the study of the so-called second order of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight ®, entitled: The Builders of the Temple.

Finally:
The creators of this blog site (Sterzoeker) doesn’t have any personal experience with The Temple of Starlight and unfortunately we don’t know anyone personally who is a member of this order. Therefore, Sterzoeker would like to hear other peoples opinion or experience with Ina Custers and the Temple of Stralight. We would like to learn and hear the personal meaning about this magical order from people who are members, or have been participating in courses, workshops or weekends, at The Temple of starlight. To ascertain whether this school is interesting enough to see it as an school which is recommendable or advised against it.

Sterzoeker likes hear to hear your opinion!

Sterzoeker would also like to make a study of the rituals preformed and written by The Temple of Starlight. Perhaps there are people out there who knows those facts and have the backgrounds and facts on this issue and properly some readers of this blog know this order much better than we do and could give information which a broader in site and can be added to this blog.

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