Madeline Montalban was one of the most significant teachers of magic in the 20th century. Since her death in 1982 her reputation has grown and her teachings have had a profound influence on many lives.
Although she knew Aleister Crowley and other prominent occultists in London during the 1930s, her own system of magic was developed along a quite distinctive path. Her School did not have consecrated places in which groups would work rituals along the lines of the Order of the Golden Dawn or Dion Fortune’s Fraternity of the Inner Light, nor did she claim authority from any ‘ascended masters’ or ‘secret chiefs’.
Madeline taught individual students through her correspondence course and by lessons given personally, latterly at her premises off Shaftesbury Avenue in central London. The basis of her system was Hermetic magic, as developed during the Italian Renaissance and practiced by Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa and John Dee amongst others. Her sources included the Picatrix and Corpus Hermeticum, The Heptameron of Peter d’Abano, the Key of Solomon, the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, and Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy.
Most of these sources were not generally accessible when Madeline began her school in 1956, so she opened the doors for many to a wealth of arcane lore. Successful students were invited to become members of the Order of the Morning Star, where more advanced teaching was given.
Madeline was a gifted writer and working journalist. From the mid-1950s until her death she contributed each month to the magazine, ‘Prediction’, writing articles on the Tarot, magic and astrology. Many students found her through her work on ‘Prediction’, as she never directly advertised her occult correspondence course. Alfred Douglas, for example, first got in touch with Madeline through ‘Prediction’, in 1959. In 1961, while at college, he was accepted as a student member of her School. He first met her personally when he moved to London in 1963, and assisted her in the practical side of running her School for some years.
Madeline’s talent for explaining profound things in a simple, direct manner meant she was a wonderful teacher. She emphasised the practical side of magic as a tool for getting things done, and insisted that results would follow if her methods were properly carried out. Many of us can attest to the truth of that statement.
An inner group of her students gathered around Madeline from 1956 onwards and were privileged to become her friends. When she died in 1982, copyright in all her writings passed to her daughter. After the funeral, Madeline’s daughter approached Jo Sheridan and asked if she and her husband, Alfred Douglas, would be willing to continue her mother’s work. She knew that Jo, a well-known author who had been working on ‘Prediction’ magazine from 1959 through the early sixties and who had edited Madeline’s articles throughout that period, had known her mother for a long time and had a high respect for her work. Alfred Douglas had been a member of the School from 1961 and had helped Madeline run it for some years. As well as being authors themselves, Jo and Alfred were (and are) publishers of the Sheridan Douglas Tarot, so had the practical skills needed to keep the School going.
Jo and Alfred happily agreed and a contract was drawn up, modelled on a standard publisher’s contract, under which they were given exclusive World Rights to publish Madeline’s correspondence course. There was also a written agreement between them and the executors of Madeline’s Will, authorising them only to publish Madeline’s work.
So the Order of the Morning Star has continued its work down the years. Regrettably, as with so many famed teachers who are no longer here to defend themselves, myths have grown up around Madeline Montalban, her life and her teachings. We, her students and members of her Order, have a responsibility to guard her legacy.
Over the 25 years following her death, various individuals have appeared, offering Madeline’s correspondence teachings through websites or in book form. None of these people possess any rights to this material whatsoever, and are in breach of copyright. Anyone who purports to own publication rights, or to set up an organisation calling itself the Order of the Morning Star, is simply showing a contempt for Madeline Montalban and her legitimate heirs. The sole copyright owner is Madeline’s daughter, and only Jo Sheridan and Alfred Douglas are authorised to publish and distribute these lessons in any form. There is only one Order of the Morning Star.
Anyone wishing to contact the authentic Order of the Morning Star may do so through our contact page.