Readers will recall how last month the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega revealed that the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order have finally released the rest of the Second Order curriculum beyond that given to S. L. MacGregor Mathers for the (5=6) Adeptus Minor grade. I knew that this announcement would provoke another chorus of "no proof" from Neo-Golden Dawn reconstructionists and revisionists. This put the Alpha Omega in somewhat of a conundrum. In providing enough evidence to convince objective and reasonable individuals, not only does the A.O. face the problem of the sanctity of oath bound material, but also that every time we release even a crumb of information about the traditional, Rosicrucian G.D. curriculum, Neo-Golden Dawn reconstructionists quickly assemble an inaccurate, zombie-like copy of it.
For example, following the Alpha Omega's announcement in 2002 that we had reestablished contact with the Golden Dawn's Third Order and that the Secret Chiefs had transmitted to us the grade rituals and complete curriculum for the highest grades of the order (8=3, 9=2, and 10=1), Neo-G.D. reconstructionists harped for years that there was "no proof" of any of this.
Among the evidence the A.O. therefore actually did provide, we revealed the importance and prominence of Hermetic Internal Alchemy in the Golden Dawn's Third Order. We also revealed how Third Order alchemical processes, in symbolical and analogical ways, permeate the entire Golden Dawn grade rituals, knowledge lectures, and even the R.R. et A.C. magical system. We further revealed that the Third Order possesses the clear explanation of all of the advanced alchemical processes encoded in every aspect of the Golden Dawn.
From these few crumbs of information, Pat Zalewksi quickly threw together a few basic alchemical notions to reconstruct an inaccurate, zombie-like copy of the above. Of course, Mr. Zalewksi has no real knowledge of of the underlying Third Order, Hermetic Internal Alchemical processes that are actually encoded in the alchemical symbols that permeate the Golden Dawn and the R.R. et A.C. But with his new book, "Alchemy and Golden Dawn Grades," Zalewksi gives these symbols a completely fabricated meaning, referring them to simple and well known phases and processes of basic alchemy. In doing so, Mr. Zalewski is counting on general public ignorance regarding the true nature and function of Hermetic alchemy, together with the enigmatic nature of alchemical symbolism, in order to pass off his inaccurate, zombie-like copy as the real deal.
Nonetheless, despite the confusion that this creates for the public and for Golden Dawn initiates regarding the true meaning of the alchemical symbolism and allegory in Golden Dawn rituals, etc., Pat Zalewksi's personal interpretation of "Alchemy and Golden Dawn Rituals" indeed has virtue, in that it adds something new to the overall lore and diversity of the aggregate Golden Dawn tradition.
This does serve to illustrate yet once again, however, just how careful the Alpha Omega has to be about what we reveal to the public. This is why, when the A.O. last month announced that the Secret Chiefs have transmitted the Adeptus Major (6=5) and Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) curriculum to our order, I deliberately chose an example from the advanced teachings that would, on the one hand, serve as proof enough for reasonable individuals, yet would not give Golden Dawn pirates any new material with which to knock off fanciful and inaccurate copies.
Since a host of books had already recently appeared about magic squares, drawing attention to this aspect of the advanced R.R. et A.C. magical curriculum carried almost no risk of with it of further piracy. Nonetheless, Agrippa's magic squares provided a great example, since they show how the 6=5 and 7=4 grades further develop material contained in the 5=6. In this case, the advanced Rosicrucian grades teach Adepts how to unlock and use the original magical system of the magic squares that was actually used by Agrippa and Trithemius. These squares were only included in encrypted form in the 5=6 grade.
Nonetheless, quite predictably, barely a month had passed before Nick Farrell yesterday published an article claiming that both the Secret Chiefs and I are barking up the wrong tree about not only Agrippa's magical squares, but even about the entire meaning and purpose of the Golden Dawn's Second Order grade initiations.
And since the evidence we had presented used Agrippa's Saturn square as an example, Farrell went after this with all of the subtlety of a pro wrestler. Instead of proving his point, however, what Mr. Farrell actually accomplished was to provide us with an opportunity to clarify the fundamental difference between the Neo-Golden Dawn reconstructionist approach to the R.R. et A.C., and the approach used by the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order, as traditional guardians of the pre-Golden Dawn Rosicrucian mysteries.
In regard to Agrippa's Saturn square, Mr. Farrell in his article published a version of the square embellished with some interesting, yet extraneous Golden Dawn symbolism. This intellectual approach does indeed have value, as is also the case with Mr. Zalekwsi's work above, in that it adds something new to the aggregate lore of the Golden Dawn. What Mr. Farrell's approach does not accomplish, however, is to tell us anything about the original magical system practiced Agrippa and Trithemius. The Secret Chiefs, on the other hand, have now made the entire original magical system used by Agrippa and Trithemius available to Adepts from across the entire Golden Dawn community!
It is noteworthy that this is not merely some reconstructed copy or personal interpretation of some aspect or other of the Golden Dawn. Herein lies the crux of the matter - and most clearly illustrates the two divergent approaches. And this is but one small piece of an entire corpus of traditional Rosicrucian magical systems that the Third Order has just made available for the first time in history.
Yet even this Nick Farrell dismisses out of hand, claiming that all magical systems belong only in the 5=6, Adeptus Minor, grade. According to Farrell, the Adeptus Major (6=5) grade is only "about the surrender of the personality completely to archive the will of the One Thing." And the Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) grade, according to Farrell, is "even more mystical. Instead of working magic, 7=4 [is] the magic, or at least working to become it."
"Both these grades depend on the knowledge of the 5=6, but they are not looking for more information. Instead they are looking to apply information gained effectively. So an order teaching new information at the 6=5 and 7=4 grades is barking up the wrong tree. Any new information automatically categorises itself at the 5=6. If it is a system, new or not, it is by its very nature 5=6."
Finally, Pat Zalewski this week wrote on his Yahoo forum:
"Now I am not the sort that meets a secret chief who farts once and the rarefied air produces the explanations. If the secret chief farts three times I presume it will be a positively orgasmic experience. Now the intellect tells us that if the secret chiefs gives us documents in another language then Huston we have a problem. The Secret Chiefs have given you guys hard data and ignored the self knowledge."
As I mentioned in my previous article, what certain people in the Golden Dawn community still do not yet properly consider, is that they are silently being observed. All this time, although they have remained silent until now, the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order have nonetheless been observing the various goings on in the Golden Dawn community.
In light of recent events in this community, the Secret Chiefs have today, for the first time in history, decided to issue a public statement, emailed to me yesterday by their spokesperson, Frater Lux E Tenebris:
The Traditional Initiatic Meaning of the Three Grades of the R.R. et A.C.
(5=6, 6=5, 7=4)
by Frater Lux E Tenebris
I have been asked by the Magi of the august Order to which it is my great honor to belong, to write about the traditional meaning and true initiatic function of the three degrees of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn (R.R. et A.C.).
The three Adept grades incorporated in the Rosicrucain Tradition are actually re-elaborations of extremely ancient mysteries that have always accompanied humankind since the beginning of its appearance on this earth.
Human beings are born and live with the passing of their lives and the approach of death ever present before our eyes. The birth, life, death and resurrection of the plant world did not escape the careful eye of the ancients. They wondered why it is that what happened in the plant world did not also happen in the world of animals and human beings. The ancients observed that, from the seed of grain was grain reborn, as were human beings from human seed, even if diverse.
In this perfecting the knowledge of nature, the ancients noticed also that the Sun was likewise born, died and was reborn - as was the moon, and as the heavens presented the stars and the planets. In fact, everything in life spoke of this cycle of birth, death and resurrection. It did not take long for the ancients to realize that every law they observed was the same for every thing that could ever be discovered or comprehended.
The Universe is order from chaos and therefore is subject to precise laws that are inviolable and eternal. The universe has two properties: eternity and infinity. The Universe is infinite, as it contains everything that exists. The Universe is eternal, as visible material expression of Beingness.
The Universe, within itself, is mutable and cyclical. The elements contained within the Universe therefore transform into infinite gradations of matter and energy, and this movement, evolution or devolution leads to the creation of Time.
Humankind is a creation of the Universe - and human beings within themselves contain all three of the preceding kingdoms; mineral, vegetable, and animal. Moreover, in human beings Soul, Mind, and Consciousness manifest, being that which makes us human.
As human beings, we notice that our bodies are born, live, and die. By analogical observation, which is the cornerstone upon which all of Magic rests, we discover that our bodies are subject to the same laws like all other things. By noting how the Sun returns, the Moon returns, the seasons return, and plants are reborn - we discover how we are subject to the same fate: Birth-Life-Death-Rebirth.
The point of this is that, as the ancients said, there are only two possibilities for a human being; to be reborn as human or to be reborn as a Soul. With the term Soul, I intend to describe the subtle and invisible complex within human beings, and not just one part of it, which for the purposes of this discussion would be useless.
In Egypt the dead were embalmed and then awakened or caused to be reborn, with particular and energetic practices which coagulated the subtle remains of the deceased, in such a manner that his consciousness could rest upon it and thus live a sort of life beyond the grave.
And the Limbo, the Elysian fields, or Underworld, the Duat, etc. - This inner dimension of man is known by many names - but in any case it means always the one and the same thing.
The initiatic schools, have therefore long understood that the only key, be it to understand nature and therefore the entire universe, or be it to transform a human being, is precisely the perennial law of analogy.
Departing from here, we can observe an entire proliferation of rites and practices analogous to the cycles of time of the earth, the sun, the moon, or stars. This is to ensure that humankind enters into the great cosmic harmony that turns eternally, and thus evolves according a universal law, namely: In the universe things transform from for worse to better as well as from better to worse. In modern times, this is known as the Law of Thermodynamics. For our purposes, however, it is enough to know that this is Eternal Universal Law.
Mystery Schools and initiatic rites can not escape this general universal rule, and thus we find them again and again all across the world, coupled with the eternal laws of the birth of life, of death and of rebirth. Here in the West, we can observe this also in Christianity, the dominant religion of the day, but each initiatic order also has its own corpus of special initiatic doctrines and practices, which cause their disciples to advance along these lines. To this, there are no exceptions.
Thus we arrive at the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, the R.R. et A.C., which as already stated for the other orders, can not escape this rule as an expression of the eternal laws governing everything. In fact, upon initiation in the Neophyte grade of the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn, a new life begins for the candidate.
This entire new life unfolds for the initiate in the grades leading up to Philosophus. Next, the candidate encounters the mysteries of the Divine for the first time in the Portal of the Vault of the Adepts. This transitional grade essential for the incubation of the new Soul in preparation for the second initiatic ordeal - Death following the birth that constituted the first such ordeal as a Neophyte.
In the Adeptus Minor (5=6) ritual, in documents and practices furnished to me not by the R.R. et A.C., but rather by the R+C Order from which the R.R. et A.C. arises, the following is said, which is precise and incontrovertible:
"The Mystery School into which you have been initiated is not a school of mysticism, but rather a school of active Magic. In this order we study the Principles of Sacred Science from a scientific point of view, instead of from the mystical or emotional point of view of religions.
In this Mystery School which transmits the teachings of ancient Mystery Schools of Sumeria, Chaldea, Assyria and Egypt, you will find neither superstition nor obscurantism. We will reveal to you the true inner structure of human beings and their true relationship with the Universe: For this reason, disciple, be ready to follow the course in every phase and fear not the death you shall face..."
This is the grade corresponding to the Adeptus Minor (5=6) of the R.R. et A.C. in the Order, which shall remain unnamed, yet is the foundation and root of all Rosicrucian mysteries ever transmitted in the West
Next, in the ritual which is the source of the 6=5 in the R.R. et A.C., it is written:
"I have died - and now I voyage in unknown realms with my boat (an image of the Subtle Body). Although dead, I am and live in this endless sea, joyous in the knowledge that the body is not everything!
Now I know! Now I can meet my brothers and sisters and receive from them the power of contact with the things above and the things below ..."
For now I shall not dwell upon explaining these words, but shall return to them, once we have first examined the following from the ritual which was the source document for the Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) of the R.R. et A.C.:
"I know you Death - And yet I live! I am dead and I have been reborn. I have conquered death - and I rise like the sun on the horizon. My journey in the world beyond the tomb is accomplished - and now I return with the earth in blossom."
In this journey we may observe and note precisely what happens throughout the universe - and thus also the human beings on their journey towards regeneration.
In these three grades transmitted to the R.R. et A.C. by the mysterious Order from which the Rosicrucian impulse first arose, it is explained in the instructions to the Adept that this is not a path of mysticism and certainly not a path for many - that when we speak of death, you truly die - and that when we speak of journeying beyond the tomb - you truly travel - and when we speak of rebirth - you are truly reborn and not merely symbolically or metaphorically.
Inside of the human being who undergoes these initiations and performs these techniques, changes that occur are not merely mental, but also energetic, biological, and cellular.
Using techniques of Superior Magic of the Adeptus Major (6=5) grade, it becomes possible to have the same experiences as when you die, as all attest who have gone this way before. Once you are "dead" you find yourself in a place that is neither heaven nor earth. In this place, called "beyond the tomb," "dubat," etc., for the first time, you encounter your own complexes of the mind and of the Soul. No longer trapped in the physical body of the Adept, these now take on tangible, visible appearance. It is these which torture or delight the Soul.
If the mysteries of death are those of the Adeptus Minor, who sacrifices him or her-self scientifically, in order to transform into a different substance (as can be observed in any cabinet of chemistry or physics laboratory where matter is studied), then in the grade of Adeptus Major (6=5), consciousness is gained in the LITERAL sense."
The Major Adept encounters these Spirits, Angels, or Demons, meets these energies, gains consciousness of them, gets to know them there, and returns from "beyond the tomb" changed forever, as True Magic and its functions are revealed in subtle detail.
During the 6=5 initiation of an Adeptus Major, a special magical technique is employed, which LITERALLY detaches the soul of the candidate, separating it from the physical body, so that the Adept may have the literal experience of what actually happens when you die.
I understand there have been, and still remain, leaders of orders who have never had contact with the true R+C source. Based merely on their fantasy of the function of these rites, these individuals would nonetheless like to convince you that these sacred rituals and techniques are merely symbolical or mystical. I swear to you, however, that this is not so.
The three Adept rituals of the R.R. et A.C. are but one valid albeit late manifestation of earlier Rosicrucian rites that contain the knowledge of death, the knowledge of the universe beyond, and of rebirth and regeneration. These rites, which TOGETHER contain the requisite knowledge to become a TRUE Adept, are in reality but three degrees in one.
There have been orders that have already deviated these rites and there are others too today who would lead you even further astray. Some today write even that there is no magic beyond the Adeptus Minor (5=6) grade, and that the Major initiation of Rosicrucian Adepts, the Adeptus Major (6=5) is but a mystical appendage of the 5=6 - that there is no place in the 6=5 for advanced Rosicrucian magic, and that the 7=4 is but yet more mysticism.
Our august Order breaks its silence therefore today, so that the original essence of these essential Rosicrucian rites might not be lost merely to a thirst for innovation, led by a chorus of experts who, perhaps even meaning well, would nonetheless otherwise lead you astray.
In the tomb, in which the Major Adept is enclosed, there is all of his/her consciousness, and in the "world beyond the tomb," the consciousness of the Adept encounters the consciousness of Nature, once the consciousness of the Adept has been detached from its physical vehicle by 6=5 rites of Magic.
Once the Adept's consciousness has been magically detached from his or her physical body, he or she then confronts what the Adept knew or thought to be - with what is in reality, and thus can make a complete correction in the eyes of God. It is in the 6=5 grade of Adeptus Major, therefore, that contact can truly be stabilized with one's higher Self, Divine essence, or "Angel" (and not in the 5=6, as has been popularly misunderstood for over a century). It through the the contact that comes from the sojourn in the Underworld in the 6=5 grade, that, in addition to one's earthly guides, one who knows death gains also the guidance from one's Divine source.
The Major Adept knows death, yet the victory is not yet fully won. As the Hermetic adage states, "you must not only separate the volatile from the fixed. It must not only ascend to heaven, but it must also descend to Earth again empowered with the knowledge of superior and inferior things. Then the volatile must once again be reunited with the fixed. Only then will the Earth be reborn and regenerated, and the physical and magical powers of the Adept blossom like the flowers in Spring.
Far removed from all metaphor and mysticism, the LITERAL bath of the Adept in the Upper Astral realm, where resides that which does not live on Earth, reawakens the powers slumbering within the Adept. Thus, it is upon entering the 7=4 that the keys are bestowed of how to use these awakened powers for the common good, as well as to lead the Order. This is why the power to reconstitute the Order, if necessary, has at all times in history resided with Exempt Adepts, together with the Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages of our Order, as is also the case with the Golden Dawn.
Magical and alchemical techniques are given in this grade that carry the Adept to triumph in his or her Opus Magnum (Great Work). Far from all metaphor and mysticism, these techniques are physical, observable, and have nothing to do with mysticism, obfuscation, or the sort of smoky theological arguments about these grades that have appeared in books and on the Internet of late.
The rest, or everything else that occurs later, can not be comprehended by those who have not yet reached such an advanced state of spiritual development, since the manner in which the human machine functions - and the Soul that inhabits it - are so different to that which we are accustomed to think and see, that it would appear to be but a fairy tale.
In this state, the Adept comes to understand the language of Nature, even to perceive and to comprehend the Universal movements of the Spheres. The Adept understands even life and death, living on the extreme peak of both. The Soul of the Adept is quiet and balanced - and nothing can shake this Soul - becoming what Agrippa called a Static Soul - a Soul tranquil, equilibrated, and no longer fluctuating.
Thus we witness the miracle of the trinity of grades of the true Rosicrucian Adept, the nature and purpose of which is totally different than what people had come to think and write of them today. Although to the outside, these initiations appear to be three grades, they are in reality but one deeply profound initiatic process, which fully develops the Soul of the Adept.
The Magi of the Order from which the Rosicrucian tradition first arose, including the R.R. et A.C., asked me to write this article, so that all may better understand the R.R. et A.C. and benefit from the true Rosicrucian manner in which the Second Order of the Golden Dawn has been intended all along.
Trusting fully in my disciple, Frater Lux ex Septentrionis, I accept that today, there is a need for diversity in the Golden Dawn orders. Nonetheless, there is a limit to what can or should be changed, and certain essential things should be touched at all.
If the original R+C tradition is not to be lost completely in America and the English speaking world, it is even more important that at least some Golden Dawn orders remain not only faithful to the original Rosicrucian tradition, as does the Alpha et Omega - but faithful even to the dark and hidden roots from which the R+C rose first grew, and continues to nourish itself even until today.
Thus, in this strange, modern world of the Internet in which we live today - where one writer claims that "the higher R.R. et A.C. grades not magical, but rather mystical in nature" and another writes that "tradition must be sacrificed to intellect in order to achieve Gnosis..."
I am reminded of the words of Jesus the Christ who, according to the Johannite tradition, is reputed to have said:
"They are like the blind leading the blind!"