Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The State of the Golden Dawn

by David Griffin
Archon Basileus - Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
International Imperator - Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Readers of the Golden Dawn blog will recall how the esoteric community was recently stunned by the unexpected announcement that the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order have finally decided to transmit the rest of the Golden Dawn's Second Order curriculum beyond the published (5=6) Adeptus Minor material given to S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1891. This is huge news for the Golden Dawn community and could potentially usher in an unparalleled epoch of fraternity and prosperity. Sadly, it could also mean a resurgence of the terrible flame war that ravaged the entire Golden Dawn tradition for nearly a decade.

Readers versed in contemporary Golden Dawn history will recall when, in 2002, the physical (not channeled) Secret Chiefs of the Third Order made their presence known for the first time in 111 years - when they transmitted to the Alpha et Omega - the entire initiation rituals and curriculum and that had been planned for the Golden Dawn's Third Order since its inception. The Secret Chiefs had hoped that this transmission would revitalize the Golden Dawn, bringing advanced Adepts together at the table of brotherhood on an equal basis from the entire Golden Dawn community. 

They were to be badly disappointed. It seemed that, even in over a Century, the Golden Dawn still had not matured enough for Adepts to finally put the interests of the Golden Dawn tradition ahead of petty personal and egoic interests. Upon the announcement by the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega of this historical transmission, our order was brutally attacked from all sides.

Without even bothering to ask what our intentions truly were, our order and its leaders were systematically defamed with falsehoods and misrepresentations on a vast array of Yahoo fora, websites, and blogs belonging to leaders of various Golden Dawn orders. We were even sued in United States Federal court, in an attempt to deprive us of our right to use the name of our outer order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in the USA.

This senseless and unnecessary conflict caused irreparable damage to the reputation of the entire Golden Dawn tradition. Even worse, the Third Order witnessed this shameful spectacle and wanted to write off - once and for all - the Golden Dawn as simply a failed initiative. For a full ensuing decade, they refused to transmit the rest of the Second Order curriculum that Mathers never recieved - for the 6=5 and 7=4 grades of Adeptus Major and Adeptus Exemptus.

Today, our Golden Dawn community stands at a crossroads, as the Golden Dawn's full Second Order curriculum, including for the 6=5 and 7=4 grades has finally been released by the Third Order. But are we as a community finally ready to share these advanced Golden Dawn teachings responsibly at the table of fraternity as equals? Or is the Golden Dawn community still too immature - blinded by individual interests - to put our differences behind us once and for all?

In recent months, the Star Trek mythos has figured prominently on this blog. I grew up with this mythos and firmly believe that it can today show us as a community the best way forward. The United Federation of Planets provides an excellent role model for what the Golden Dawn community could today become, with each of our temples and orders sharing equally the benefits of the higher Golden Dawn practices, united by a common resolve to uphold the Prime Directive, yet each temple and order maintaining its complete independence and autonomy.

As a first step in this laudable direction, immediately upon transmission, the Alpha et Omega offered to share the advanced (6=5) Adeptus Major and (7=4) Adeptus Exemptus teachings with interested and qualified Adepts from across the entire spectrum of the Golden Dawn community, regardless of what Golden Dawn temple or order. There have been numerous responses already, and we have already begun this process of sharing.

But will the Golden Dawn community ever be ready to transcend factionalism and competition in favor of fraternity and spiritual development? 

Sadly, the first month that has passed since our announcement on July 18 seems to indicate that the Golden Dawn community might never be mature enough. The same sort of accusations and deliberate misrepresentations about the Alpha Omega and our leaders that typified the decade old Golden Dawn flame war, are being published once again by leaders of various Golden Dawn orders.

Over the last week, there have been numerous attempts to attack the Alpha Omega even on our own forum and blog. We have, of course, used our moderator discretion to prevent these misguided "flame war" attacks from appearing at least on our own forum and blog. Consequently, as was the case during the terrible flame war that nearly destroyed the Golden Dawn, the Alpha Omega is once again being accused of "censorship" by various Golden Dawn leaders. 

A leader of one Golden Dawn order, for example, this week wrote:
"...a response I posed to this blog early Tuesday morning was conveniently never published."
In another rhetorical tactic reminiscent of the decade long flame war, leaders of certain Golden Dawn orders are once again also accusing our order of being the aggressors in the same breath that they are attacking the Alpha Omega. For example:
"I am posting this here since obviously complimenting and showing interest in American Occult currents meets with censorship on some groups these days, if it is not in line with certain groups' "marketing" and "attack plans".
Admittedly, moderation does remain a problem with communication in the Golden Dawn community. For example, on one Yahoo group operated by a Golden Dawn leader, dozens of new "flame war" attacks on our order and its leaders have been published over the last month. This same Yahoo group does not allow anyone at all from the Alpha Omega to post there. Not even renowned bloggers GH Frater Sincerus Renatus or H Frater AIT are allowed to post, and many hundreds of posts defaming our order and its leaders remain archived there from the decade long flame war.

One additional characteristic of the Golden Dawn flame war were countless misrepresentations about the Alpha et Omega published over and over, propaganda style, across various venues on the internet. Sadly, even this nonsense has now begun again! 

For example, the leader of yet another Golden Dawn order wrote this week:
"The fact there is a belief that lineage can be passed by signing pieces of paper is indicative of a lack of magical knowledge and a desire to make one's product more superior to others."
Paper lineage?

This GH Frater is not stupid, even though he is here pretending to be. Having managed to create a Golden Dawn order according to his personal vision, he knows full well that the Alpha et Omega has previously refuted this same misrepresentation over and over, ad nauseum.

We have repeatedly clarified that the true lineage of the Golden Dawn is spiritual in nature - like Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism in the East, containing not merely traditional Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineage in the formal sense, but containing specific sets of spiritual exercises designed to produce specific spiritual breakthroughs and realizations. The advanced spiritual practices the A.O. just received for the (6-5) Adeptus Major and (7=4) Adeptus Exemptus grades of the Golden Dawn's Second Order are perfect examples of what the spiritual lineages of the Golden Dawn really are.

As proof of the existence and authenticity of these advanced Golden Dawn lineages with their attendant spiritual practices, our order has already begun to share them with interested and qualified Adepts from the entire spectrum of the Golden Dawn community. Sure you have to fulfill all of the traditional Golden Dawn requirements, including a binding secrecy committment (as has always been the case throughout history), but concrete proof of these advanced lineages is now available to the entire Golden Dawn community.

We have even published one small example of the spiritual practices and content of these advanced Golden Dawn lineages, when we revealed for the first time anywhere that the magical squares published by Agrippa and included in the Golden Dawn's (5=6) Adeptus Minor grade curriculum are not the real magical squares, but are only encrypted versions! 

We likewise revealed for the first time that the so-called "planetary seals" published by Agrippa and included in the Golden Dawn's Adeptus Minor grade are, in reality, but encryption keys to unencrypt the "sealed" squares to unleash the true magick and full power of the system. This Golden Dawn spiritual lineage once possessed by both Trithemius and Agrippa contains Theurgical spiritual exercises that produce profound spiritual awakening, ultimately culminating in union with the Divine at the center of the square.

This advanced system of magical Theurgy is but one crown jewel in the advanced the R.R. et A.C. magical lineages, and it has has prior to last month never before been known or practiced by any Golden Dawn Adept in history. This magnifiscent system of theurgy, properly understood as a three dimensional cube, unlocks untold numbers of parallel dimensions on the inner planes, each with its own R.R. et A.C. magical system. John Dee's system of Enochian magic and the entire reality of of the Enochian universe, represents but only one single square of this vast three dimensional cube. The Golden Dawn's advanced  R.R. et A.C. lineages contain numerous such magical systems and universes.

So why are all of these leaders of various Golden Dawn orders so nervous - that they are suddenly attempting to rekindle the extinguished Golden Dawn flame war? Yet another Golden Dawn leader answered this question clearly this week when he wrote:
"Recently there has been a trend to try and convince people within the GD that its roots are superior to the GD, and those roots were and are the 3rd Order. It does not take an Einstein to work out where this is heading - an instant ready-made 3rd Order.
The GD is a stand alone Order (First and Second), and that is why it was developed from numerous other groups. Mathers never got a chance to finish it, and it is up to us to finish the job. Now how you develop it is up to you guys, but it needs doing. In my group I have already made inroads into that direction, and I hope others will follow. Now I am not telling what to do or how to do it, but if the GD is to develop further, it must develop, and not stay at ThAM as far as written material goes.
All I know is how hard I have worked over the years in doing this, while working with a great bunch of people who want to think beyond 1900. This forum, and others, are another manifestation of that trend of thinking as well. Everyone contributes in their own way.
My take on this is simple. A Second Order should manifest a superior breakdown of the First, and the Third should help break down the Second in a form of reductionism. Each should interlock with the one before it, and the final teachings should be in a form of reductionism. This, however, is just my view."
The above post makes readily apparent the real reason why suddenly all of these leaders of Golden Dawn orders are attacking the AO again, after years of relative harmony in our Golden Dawn community. They are terrified of the physical existence of the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order - and that it somehow negates their own personal vision of the Golden Dawn. They are even more terrified that the advanced Second Order spiritual lineages that the Third Order just handed the AO, may somehow negate their own curriculum that they are developing for their Golden Dawn order for some time.

Nothing could be further than the truth. As I have been saying all along, there is room for great diversity in our Golden Dawn community. There is plenty of room for both the advanced R.R. et A.C. lineages presently being transmitted by the Alpha Omega as well for  whatever new Second and Third Orders leaders of Golden Dawn orders want to develop for their students.

In fact, this was stated so well this week by the Alpha Omega's H Frater AIT on his Heaven's Within Earth blog, that I am republishing AIT's entire article here:

H Frater AIT

Innovation and the Golden Dawn
I've been reading with interest the Golden Dawn forum of GH Fra Zalewski (don't know his motto, and Google isn't giving up the goods.) If one can stomach all the bickering and bullshit, there are some thought-provoking things going on in the community.
It seems that groups who don't have Third Order contacts are developing their own material...not even necessarily basing their material on older papers, but applying their own understanding of Magic and Alchemy to the structure and culture of the Order to create new methods and vehicles.
This is awesome. Variety=Growth, man.
There have been only two ways to move the GD toward completeness, and one is to have contacts with the Third Order, which is, I understand, a group of Adepts who've kept the fire of the Hermetic tradition lit in a continuous link since back in ye olden days. This is the best if you can get it; there are some things in Alchemy you just are not going to learn if you don't have an Alchemical master to instruct you. This isn't an elitist thing, it's just the truth. Not because many of the secrets cannot be communicated through written material, but because there are fundamental components that have been held close that aren't necessarily encoded in the Emblems or even the written works. Things that have only been communicated mouth-to-ear. There are some things that require a particular kind of initiation to understand. We aren't the only ones for whom this is true; the Tibetan, Indian, and Chinese masters all understand this. "Transmission" refers to more than simply paper, it refers to an actual Transmission.
This doesn't mean you can't get a solid Alchemical practice going without this. What is out there now will get you there, if you do the Work. Do enough of the Work, and you can get what you need to complete the Great Work through invocation and communication with entities like Tzadqiel, who teaches the Royal Art. There are a number of different alchemies, and any number of different valid practices, some of which are completely public. There are simple alchemical methods that are public understanding that will get the job done if worked at diligently over one's lifetime. They may not be the best methods available, but they'll get you there. You don't need an engineering degree from MIT to be an engineer...
A physical analogy would be the martial arts; you can learn to defend yourself without having all the hidden bunkai your Art has to offer. You won't have Mastery of that particular Art, though, the Keys to that particular tradition. You'll be strong, and you'll get the job done...but. You won't have gnosis of that Art's tradition, and that is something worth having, in my opinion.
The other method for moving the Golden Dawn forward is to go ahead and add to the Tradition with understanding gained from years of practice. Application of understanding to the culture of the tradition to develop it further. If you don't have contact with the Third Order, you must do this if you're to be part of a living tradition; you have no real choice. Either sit around and re-hash old shit or innovate. I'm pleased to see both of these options being exercised by my Fraters and Sorors of the Golden Dawn.
This Order is living and breathing.
It is growing.
In my own Order, GH Fra LES has received transmission of new occult systems and the keys to traditional Hermetic Internal Alchemy...this is awesome. Some of this stuff is mind-blowing, and incredibly rich. Powerful in application, from what I understand. We have a fully developed Second Order, with un-profaned content that has great potential to enrich the practices of the Magicians who work it. Awesome.
In other Orders, reading this forum, we find that the Order heads are working to complete their Second Orders and to develop content for a Third. No one is sitting still. No one is saying that what's in the old books is all there is, that what's in the original Order's papers is the only knowledge of worth for the Golden Dawn. Even though I believe the transmissions our Order has received would enrich them further, I'm glad to see these other branches of the Golden Dawn growing the tradition in their own way regardless of whether they take David's offer to learn the new transmissions from our Third.  
The tradition is being filled with innovation and new understanding right now, and this makes me ecstatic. We've lasted longer with our bickering and bullshit then any other modern Western occult movement. Not the largest of the lot, but there's quality in there. Good times. 
The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega, and our outer order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, long ago fully embraced diversity in our Golden Dawn community as a great thing. We are not only willing to live and let live. In fact, we have already begun sharing the advanced R.R. et A.C lineages with Adepts from other Golden Dawn temples and orders. 

The Alpha Omega remains willing to take fraternity even further with the Golden Dawn community - using Star Trek's United Federation of Planets as a role model. After all, does a United Federation of Initiatic Orders not have a very nice ring to it?

So, what is it that we as a community want ...

Just another decade of self-destructive flame war ...

Or a Golden Dawn Renaissance, setting a shining example for the rest of the esoteric community!


  1. As a newbie to the Golden Dawn 1=10, I'm very disappointed with the support that I have gotten, or not gotten, from the order. Maybe I'm in the wrong order? I don't know. It does seem, however, that educated people in the art should work in the art, not on it.

    What advice can be given to someone who lives four states away from a temple, with no real support? Charlotte, NC NEEDS a temple and the people willing to do the work to make it work...although I'm still learning and always will be, I would like to be a part of that some day.

  2. Dear Randy,

    I am very sorry to hear about the lack of support you have found in our Golden Dawn community.

    I checked our database and did not find any membership record for you. Which Golden Dawn order do you belong to, Randy?

    Here at the Alpha Omega, we take supporting our students very seriously. Please write to me using the "contact us" link at the website, mark the subject heading "For GH Frater LES" so it gets to me directly, and I will personally look into this for you.

    Please bear in mind, however, that there are many Golden Dawn orders and I will only be able to help you if the issue you are having is with the HOGD/AO.

  3. Ave ,

    well here we are again. i remeber just gettng into golden dawn philosophy and magic around 2002, and i must say there were so many posts about who was authentic and who was not. there were even derogatory things said by the guards themselves. here we are again it seems to me that the old habit of trying to "fix the flux" as Alan Watts puts it is at hand again. and it doesnt take a psychology professor to figure it out.

    the GoldenDawn tradition will only exist as long as it serves a purpose. once its purpose is eliminated so will the beloved order. this is historically proven from al the cults of antiquity. perhaps tproblem is a resistant clinging on to static tradition. in fact the Golden Dawn was seen by many as a algamation of a lot of then avaible occult works in the first place. as the outer order was never intended t be a inner order! the traditional vs. reconstructionist view only threatens those who are established authorities. therefore it is inferencing a hierarchy that is a form of elitist claims to noteriety. this is the threat that a third order chief presents. this is why there were issues with every GD chief or adept ther was becauseuntil the GD is balanced by the RR ET AC grades. simple pride is our culprit and tha is overstated anyway. if the secret third order material is even of any value the powers that be will eventually present it to the community when ready. its the drive for prestige that creates a outrage at this material.

    "I have seen the enemy , and I, am them"

    F.L. Cor Meum Lucidum

  4. Indeed we must bear in mind that many Golden Dawn orders out there art truly doing good work, forging new paths and growing new branches on a most wonderful old tree. However, there are some "orders" out there claiming to be "Golden Dawn" when all they are doing is using the name to lure in unsuspecting seekers for the ultimate purpose of exploiting them financially, sexually, psychologically and spiritually. Such people truly have no purpose in this endeavor other than to use cult like techniques to enslave other for their own pleasure and gain.

    One such person is comically referred to here! Although this particular link appears to have humorous overtones, the problem with the person depicted and his group are very real examples of such exploitation. A quick entry of the name in Google will prove this correct to anyone.

    My question to you, David, is this: How can we freely allow legitimate GD groups to learn, grow, and share AND put a stop to those people who would exploit the GD name for personal financial gain and gross human slavery and exploitation?

    One person saw the above link on another forum and asked "What does this have to do with magic?" Answer, in my opinion, EVERYTHING. By the same token, one could ask what heroin and cocaine have to do with music? Once again, everything. Why? Just ask Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison what drugs have to do with music for them. On the same token, just ask anyone who was part of this link referenced individual's group what he has to do with the GD. In both cases, a wonderful thing was ruined for many because of a much unneeded abberration in both cases.

    As a community, what can we do to eliminate this problem?

  5. Care Anonymous,

    One of the most beautiful things about the Star Trek mythos is that is makes such issues so incredibly easy to understand.

    In the Federation, such abuses would not occur among Federation members.

    Why not?

    Because - at least in my opinion - it is simply because they are a violation of the PRIME DIRECTIVE.

    If we as a community are to actually muster the gumption to move in the direction of spiritual federation, one of the tough questions we need to ask ourselves right away is:

    "What is the Prime Directive?"

  6. The Prime Directive is... TRUTH! Now, how many GD orders have strayed and crashed due to failure to follow such a "Prime Directive?" I think that is a great place to start, don't you? Anyone who is not true to the "Golden Rule" and themselves is in violation of the "Prime Directive." How does that sound?

    Once again, it is easy to Google the antics of those who do not adhere to truth. Libya's exiting dictator comes to mind...

  7. The Federation of Planets was formed to end
    interplanetary (interstellar) war...

    It's prime directive (non-interference) was
    formulated to protect pre-warp civilizations.

    a similar non-interference (of non-initiants,
    by initiants) would be for protection of
    the initiants. (& I do mean initiants, not initiates)