Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Golden Dawn Secret Chiefs Debate

Recent years have witnessed a dramatic polarization of the various Temples and Orders of the Golden Dawn community into two entrenched camps. The basic fundamental approach to the Golden Dawn of each of these camps is so vastly different that they appear to agree on precious little.

On the one hand, there are "traditionalist" Golden Dawn orders like the August Order of the Mystic Rose and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which operates under the authority of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, and others like them. Traditionalist Golden Dawn orders understand the Golden Dawn as but one late manifestation of preceding, Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions that continue to live until today, and hold that the Golden Dawn can only be properly understood from the greater perspective of these deeper esoteric traditions from which the Golden Dawn originally arose and continues to derive its teachings and its authority, even until today.

Traditionalist Golden Dawn orders hold fast to traditional Hermetic and Rosicrucian values and practices, which include the fundamental importance of things like initiatic secrecy and traditional initiation inside of real Golden Dawn temples, instead of New Age, astral initiation, etc.

Firmly entrenched in the other camp, are "Recontrructionist" Golden Dawn orders like Pat Zalewksi's "Order of the Golden Dawn" and Nick Farrell's "Magical Order of Aurora Aureae." These orders teach that the Golden Dawn has been a fraud from the beginning, founded using documents faked by liers, S.L. MacGregor Mathers and W. Wynn Wescott, who founded the Golden Dawn. G.D. Reconstructionist orders such as these teach as a fundamental tenet that the Golden Dawn is a dead tradition, which died when the Whare Ra temple closed its doors, and that the Golden Dawn today needs to be "reconstructed" according the the personal, ideosyncratic visions of leaders like Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewksi.

Because "Reconstructionist" Golden Dawn orders hold the fundamental belief that the Golden Dawn is a dead tradition, to be reconstructed as anyone sees fit, they feel completely comfortable with throwing out traditional elements of the Golden Dawn, like oaths of secrecy, the sanctity of oath bound material, and even traditional Golden Dawn initiation. Pat Zalewksi and Nick Farrell each have abandoned secrecy, publishing previously secret Golden Dawn material, for example. They rationalize this by considering this as mere "historical" material deriving from an essentially dead tradition.

Since the fundamental approaches to the Golden Dawn are so vastly different between the traditionalist and the reconstructionist camps in the Golden Dawn community are so diametrically opposed, it should surprise no one that there is unending philosophical disagreement between these two camps.

Clearly, the only way that there can ever be peace and harmony in the Golden Dawn community, is if the Traditionalist and Reconstructionist camps can simply agree to disagree, and allow room in the diversity of our common Golden Dawn community even for such fundamental differences.

Unfortunately, however, Golden Dawn reconstructionists appear completely unwilling to leave traditionalist Golden Dawn orders in peace. On the contrary, they attack them repeatedly, which is why Pagan author, Frater Barrabbbas, and others have characterized them as "agressive" reconstructionists. As one example, Nick Farrell, for instance, recently published the rituals of the Alpha et Omega and attacked the notion of the Secret Chiefs in an article that he wrote for an on-line journal.

Few subjects are as contentious between Golden Dawn traditionalists and Golden Dawn reconstructionists as the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order, from whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers claimed he received the material for the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. 

Golden Dawn reconstructionists, like Pat Zalewski's and Nick Farrell, claim that Mathers lied, that his Secret Chiefs are nothing more than figments of Mathers' imagination. Obviously, Zalewski and Farrell can in no way be considered to be in any way objective in this matter. How could they be, since the very existance of the Secret Chiefs negates their most fundamental theory, namely that the Golden Dawn is a dead order whose material is to be dissected as objects of historical curiosity.

To make matters worse, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega, a traditionalist Golden Dawn order asserts to have not only reestablished contact with Mather's Secret Chiefs, but has even received more Second Order material from them. Evidence for this can be viewed online here and here and here. As additional evidence, the order has also offered to share these advanced Second Order Golden Dawn teachings with qualified Adepts from all across the Golden Dawn community, and has already begun to do so!

All of the above explains why Pat Zalewksi's has published a new series of posts in recent weeks attacking Traditionalist Golden Dawn orders and the Secret Chiefs yet once again. It is noteworthy that Zalewksi really raises no new arguments and most of what he says has been refuted over and over across the Internet, for example by GH Frater Sincerus Renatus on the Gyllene Gryningen blog of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® in Europe. These articles cah be viewed here, here, and here, nor am I the only one who has needed to defend our order against such nonsense either. They have also been refuted on numerous articles on the Golden Dawn blog, for example here.

Sadly, repeated, thorough, and consistent refutation never seems to stem the tide of disinformation from aggressive Reconstructionists. Let us therefore, yet once again, refute Mr. Zalewski’s latest arguments point by point.
Pat Zalewski
Zalewksi begins:

"Why then would the S[ecret] C[hief]’s make their presence known to the public by “adepts or disciples” of their own teachings? I’d like to know that as well, especially when the SC’s came out of the closet some months ago, went public on a certain GD blog, heralded by the writer of said blog and on an audio interview. It appears that silence is not their concern. All we got from them was wishy-washy bullshit, as one would expect.

What I am getting at is the SC’s producing papers for temples they support, not necessarily for publication.

One of the things you must expect if you follow the SC dialogue is what comes out it. I have noticed that in some temples that claim this very little is produced to back it up in the way documentation for said temples."

How has Mr. Zalewski has come to this conclusion? Has he been present in any of the Temples of the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega? Of course not.  Or has he been privy to any of the secret documents of our Temples? No. In other words, he Zalewksi is merely pulling this out of his ... In reality, despite is pretentions, Mr. Zalewski is in no way qualified to judge anything at all relating to any higher and secret teachings of the Second and Third Orders of the A.O. 

Moreover, even though what the Secret Chiefs actually are teaching, remains "oath-bound material," it does not mean that it does not exist, merely because Pat Zalewksi is not personally privy to it. It is his own fault that he has no respect for oaths, unlike Adepts from other Golden Dawn orders that we have already shared some of the advanced Second Order material with.

Mr. Zalewski then continues:

"For example take the GD tarot. What papers have the SC written for this?
What papers have the SC given about Enochiania?
What papers have the SC given in Enochian Chess?
What papers have SC given for god forms?
What papers have The SC given for rituals?
What papers have the SC given about non material alchemy?
What papers have the SC done on the Convoluted Froces?"

Here we come to the crux of the matter. Pat Zalewksi sees the Golden Dawn as little more than a series of papers. In Pat Zalewksi's personal, reconstructioist vision of the Golden Dawn, he considers spiritual development to be basically an intellectual exercise. Mr. Zalewski’s vision of the Golden Dawn, is that of intellectual understanding - and to manufacture even more convoluted teachings. 

Traditionalist Golden Dawn orders, under the guidance of the Secret Chiefs, on the other hand, understand that the entire purpose of the Golden Dawn is:

" become more than human"

I will have more to say about this central point later. First, however, to add to the above I have to say something regarding Zalewksi's laundry list of “G.D. teachings”. Without going into details regarding the particulars of the teachings that have been transmitted by the Secret Chiefs and and about to be transmitted in the near future, I must ask: Why should the Third Order have to adapt itself to Mr. Zalewski’s personal vision or standards of the Golden Dawn? Who, after all, does Pat Zalewski think he is?

Clearly, Zalewksi's entire line of argument is absurd. The Third Order obviously has no need to conform to Zalewksi's personal, idiosyncratic view of the Golden Dawn. Zalewksi is welcome to take his own order in any direction he likes. This adds to the overall richness and diversity of the Golden Dawn tradition. Where problems arise is when reconstructionists like Zalewksi refuse to show the same tolerance and respect for diversity by incessantly attacking  traditionalist Golden Dawn orders and fundamental cornerstones of the Golden Dawn tradition like the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order.

Zalewski continues:

"These are all legitimate questions and should be asked. These are some of the weak spots in the original GD papers that should be filled in. Now I have done my bit in this area and claim no SC guidance and I challenge the SC’s in said temples to do better than what I did in the published area, as a mere plodder."

To be honest, with a few early exceptions, most of what has been published by Mr. Zalewski, in my opinion, has not been particularly impressive, especially not in his later works. This is strange, especially considering Zalewksi's claims to have been initiated, however irregularly, as an Adeptus Exemptus (7=4).

Some of his early writings on Golden Dawn Ritual are quite interesting, at least in parts. But there are also so many errors, and Mr. Zalewksi has been repeatedly caught misattributing his own inventions and constructions to others, like S.L. MacGregors or a "Whare Ra oral tradition."

Zalewksi continues:

"If you are a member of a temple that claims Secret Chiefs then you should have access to material that that goes way beyond what I have published, and if you don’t, then there is a problem with the SC or your chiefs."

Contrary to Pat Zalewski's misrepresentations, the teachings coming from the Third Order into the Second Order of the Alpha et Omega really do go beyond anything that Mr. Zalewski has ever published. Unlike Mr. Zalewksi's convoluted teachings, however, the teachings of the Secret Chiefs derive from actual esoteric transmissions and focus on the spiritual development of the Adept rather than on convoluted intellectual analysis.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Sadly, oaths prevent me from going into much more specific detail. One example that has already been made public as evidence of the factual existance of the higher Second Order teachings and practices, regards the Kameoth or Magical Squares of the Seven Planets, which clearly interconnects in a direct way. I previously wrote:

"Let us consider the Golden Dawn’s use of the magical squares originally published by Cornelius Agrippa in ‘Three Books on Occult Philosophy’. The Golden Dawn’s (5=6) Adeptus Minor grade does not really add much of interest to the knowledge of the magick of magical squares beyond that published by Agrippa. The mere advanced (6=5) Adeptus Major and (7=4) Adeptus Exemptus grade curriculum, however, teaches how each Adept can construct their own magical squares, as well as the deeper secrets of the squares published by Agrippa.
For example…no one in the entire esoteric community has known that the squares published by Agrippa and included in the Golden Dawn's (5=6) Adeptus Minor grade curriculum are not the real squares, but are only encrypted versions, and only the tip of the iceburg of a vast, incredible system of theurgy that unlocks untold numbers of parallel dimensions on the inner planes, ultimately culminating in union with the Divine at the center of the square, properly understood as a three dimensional cube. …no one has understood either what the “planetary seals” published by Agrippa really are, when in fact, they are keys to “unseal” the “sealed” squares in order to reveal the true, unencrypted magic squares, and to unleash the true magick and full power of the system.

Once unlocked with the proper initiatic keys, these magical squares reveal to the advanced Adept the entire, secret magical hierarchy of entities of the Golden Dawn system of magical squares, that remain safely encrypted from those who would seek cheap notoriety by publishing the secret names and sigils of the true, servient spirits of Agrippa’s squares."

This is but one example of the quality level of the newly received Second Order teachings from the Secret Chiefs. This is clearly not mere "wishy-washy bullshit" that Pat Zaewlski tries  to assert as a mere "Golden Dawn flame war" tactic. Zalewksi's comment about "wishy-washy bullshit," itself amounts to little more than a desperate and deceitful attempt to divert attention from the actual, substantial corpus of new teachings and techniques for spiritual development that have recently become available to Adepts from across the entire spectrum of the Golden Dawn community!

Zalekwsi's strategy all along has been to ignore all actually presented evidence, repeating over and over that there is "no proof" as though he were a parrot, while secretely trying to provoke traditionalists to release even more information. Another example of actually presented evidence is the recent analysis by Third Order emmisary, Frater Lux E Tenebris, which sheds major new light on the Adeptus Grades of the Second Order. Let me quote some pertinent parts concerning the true nature of the Adeptus Minor (5°=6°), Major (6°=5°) and Exemptus (7°=4°) Grades and the corresponding initiation rituals:

"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.  […]

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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

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). […]

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. […]

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."

This is clearly not mere "wishy washy bullshit" as Pat Zalewksi's flame war would like you to believe. Frater Barrabbas Tiresius, a well respected Alexandrian Wiccan High-Priest has observed all of this  from the perspective of the pagan and non-Golden Dawn perspective. He recently wrote about the above on his blog, Talking About Ritual Magick:

Frater Barrabas
Alexandrian Wiccan Elder and Pagan Author
"I have been carefully studying a recent transmission from the spokesperson for the secret chiefs of the HOGD faction of the Golden Dawn, translated and edited by David Griffin for the benefit of everyone. This transmission is entitled “Traditional Initiatic Meaning of the Three Grades of the R.R. et A.C.,” and was written by Lux Et Tenebris. […] What was being transmitted was truly remarkable, and it was obviously far beyond anything else that I have read on the same subject. […]

Most of the Golden Dawn organizations seem quite unable to write about anything substantive when it comes to the degrees beyond Adeptus Minor. I would suppose that it might have something to do with the fact that the Golden Dawn material which is in the public domain only goes that far, and the various degrees and lore beyond that point have been, at least up until to now, merely suppositional. Some might say that the higher degrees of the second order (5th, 6th and 7th) are too secret and mysterious to talk about, or that those who could talk about them are oath bound and constrained to be silent. Of course, that hasn’t stopped some in the Golden Dawn community from writing and talking about nearly everything in a public forum, so I suspect that it mostly has to do with the fact that the higher degrees are essentially undiscovered country for most GD organizations.

Yet in this specially transmitted document are the definitions of the initiatic degrees of the vaunted second order of the Ruby Rose and Golden Cross, written by someone who is the gate-keeper for the third order. You should expect that such a revelation would be quite remarkable if it were indeed a communication from the secret chiefs. Such a communique would have to walk a very fine line between being revelatory, and revealing confidential and oath bound information. I have carefully read over this transmission and I have found it to be profoundly revealing and truly amazing. […]

I have shared this transmitted document with my peers, and they all agree that it is remarkable and quite amazing. I have seen nothing like it in the various Golden Dawn material that I have in my possession or have ever read about. It is deep, profound, and also, quite insightful. I found myself saying, “Of course, it was all so obvious!” at various points while I was reading it. If anything could convince me that the various claims made by David Griffin of being in contact with secret chiefs were true, this brief transmission should prove it beyond dispute."

Such is the material, which Pat Zalewksi, using feigned objectivity, would unreflectingly dismiss as "wishy-washy bullshit."

Zalewski continues:

"There is a lot of bullshit floating about re astral contacts who produce nothing. The chances are you’ll be told that the SC don’t do this type of advice. Well isn’t that convenient!"

Here again, Zalewski shows no understanding of the value of, nor respect for, oath bound material. Instead, in typical flame war style, me merely dismisses out of hand all actually presented evidence.

Zalewski continues:

"Now you can stick your head in the sand and ignore what I have said here or ask the hard questions. Mathers never finished the 5=6 degree and SC’s and today we hear that the SC’s come in and try and give advice for the 3rd order when they have not finished delivering the full 5=6? If the SC’s have not delivered the full sub grades of the 5=6 then we have to argue what good are they. It is most likely that someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes if they have not – and go figure who."

Here Zalewksi is just pretending there is no evidence, yet once again. Zalewksi continues:

"The SC’s are like santa clause in a impoverished area. Lots of best wishes and no presents."

This last statement removes any and all doubt that what Zalewksi is really up to here is merely engaging yet once again in cheap, "flame war" propaganda. This sort of nonsense has gone on far too long in the Golden Dawn community, and it creates the false impression that the Golden Dawn is nothing but a bunch of groups that are at one another's throats all the time.

Enough is enough already.

Furthermore, Zalekwsi's reference to “Santa Claus” of course tries to instil the idea of Traditionalists as myself adhering to a belief system instead of science. Peregrin Wildoak has lately suggested something similar on his blog, comparing Traditionalist Golden Dawn with a confessional faith. Nothing can be further from the truth. 

The Secret Chiefs are sharing their wisdom right now in our modern age. It is shared to the Second Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega – and as I just said, the Alpha et Omega in turn is sharing this material with worthy Adepts of any other Golden Dawn Order. This is a FACT, not a fantasy or a dogmatically held belief.

Unlike Pat Zalewski, there are many brother and sister Adepts in Golden Dawn orders across the Golden Dawn community who respect the sanctity of oath-bound material and who deserve to have access to traditional Hermetic and Rosicrucian teachings beyond the Adeptus Minor material published by Israel Regardie.

As I previously wrote on this blog, and Pat Zalewksi is well aware:

"Let it be known that the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega does not want to dominate any other order. On the contrary, we want to see the entire Golden Dawn community continue to grow in the direction that was originally intended for the Golden Dawn by the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order. We therefore have no problem with sharing the teachings of the higher grades beyond (5=6) Adeptus Minor with Inner Order Adepts from Golden Dawn orders and temples other than the AO.

Please understand, however, that we must be extremely careful about whom we share this unprofaned material with, as I am personally accountable to ensure that this material will not be profaned like the (5=6) Adeptus Minor material was by Crowley. To qualify, therefore, you must have not only been physically initiated as a (5=6) Adeptus Minor, but you must prove yourself trustworthy, be willing to swear to keep the advanced grade material secret, and you must actually keep your word as well.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in our Golden Dawn community who would stop at nothing in order to gain cheap notoriety. These individuals would publish anything they can get their hands on just for cheap fame. And by this, they prove that they are not true initiates, because initiatic secrecy has at all times been considered necessary not as a question of power, but rather as a question of sacredness. The Divine Science should never be profaned."

Zalewksi then concludes:

"So what does this third order teach that is so astounding? The answer is Alchemy. So you can skip the GD and do alchemy under the new fabricated rules. If you are already an alchemist and work the mineral world, then you can skip the order and do your own thing, so even the SC and 3rd Order can be bypassed."

Has this flame war nonsense not gone on far too long already?

Clearly, alchemy is indeed an essential aspect of both the Hermetic and the Rosicrucian traditions. Furthermore, the higher and secret initiatic transmissions regarding the Royal Art of Alchemy definitely do offer a most excellent opportunity for spiritual development.

But for Pat Zalewksi to so arrogantly belittle the entire Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions in this manner, merely betrays his faulty understanding about the true Hermetic or Rosicrucian traditions, and anything beyond his intellectual and convoluted reconstructionist approach to the Golden Dawn.

At the end of the day, this approach to the Golden Dawn, espoused over and over by Golden Dawn reconstructionists, like Pat Zalewski and Nick Farrtell, can be nicely summed up in Zalewksi's own words, quoted directly from above:

"you can skip the order and do your own thing."

The choice has never been clearer. You can either:

"Do it yourself" with Pat Zalewksi 

or you can choose instead the

Traditional, Rosicrucian, and Hermetic Golden Dawn!

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