Friday, October 21, 2011

Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing, Witch Wars and the Golden Dawn



Donald Michael Kraig recently wrote on the Llewellyn Publishing blog:
"I currently know of two Golden Dawn-like groups where the leaders were members of another group, became initiated into the 5=6 degree, almost immediately quit or were kicked out of the group, and then started their own versions of the Golden Dawn! One actually tried more than once before coming up with a scheme to call his group the Golden Dawn even though his new rituals actually reverse Golden Dawn concepts. (Why call it the “Golden Dawn” if you don’t want to follow the teachings of that group?) The other frequently declares that he is trying to structure peace between Golden Dawn groups while he regularly leads the battles by writing attacks on other groups and individuals."
The above is vintage Golden Dawn Flame War verbiage...

... With Donald Michael Kraig hiding behind a mask of feigned objectivity - and not revealing which Golden Dawn order he belongs to while misusing his author's ethos and the Llewellyn blog as a "bully" pulpit.

Particularly noteworthy is how Kraig mischaracterizes legitimate, scholarly debate in the Golden Dawn community as "attacks," while he himself attacks half of the Golden Dawn community in the very same paragraph.

This is the sort of bullying, duplicitous misrepresentation that typifies Witch War as well as the decades old, Golden Dawn internet flame war, which sadly - judging from the above rant - appears to be alive and well  today on the Llewellyn Worldwide blog - with Don Kraig acting as "de facto" spokesperson of a Golden Dawn order that has been kindling flames in our Golden Dawn community for nearly two decades now.

Enough is enough already.

I would remind Mr. Kraig that the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, United States District Judge, already warned his Golden Dawn order in the court's order dated October 24, 2008 that:
"The Court fully expects [the other party*] will not engage in back door violations of paragraph 4 of the Settlement Agreement, and it will not tolerate any such violations." [This paragraph of the Settlement Agreement viewable here details the non-disparagement clause binding both parties.]
*Case 3:05-cv-00432, "The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Inc. v, Griffin," in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Exquisite Corpse Golden Dawn

by David Griffin

Pat Zalewski, much like Nick Farrell, has written that following the closure of the Whare RA temple in 1978, what remains today of the original Golden Dawn is but an exquisite corpse. To this, Pat Zalewksi today added:
"In general terms, most of us think that Westcott and Mathers lied their heads off to create a blind of secret chiefs and non existent mysterious temples, and Mathers says as much. All I know for sure is the ciphers work, and that's enough, regardless of where they came from or who delivered them. It's still good to have the early GD history out in the open though, and the deceptions revealed."
When Pat Zalewksi writes "most of us" above, he certainly does not speak for anyone from any of the traditionalist Golden Dawn orders, like the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega or the August Order of the Mystic Rose. It is only since the A.O. announced a decade ago (in 2002) that we had reestablished contact with the original Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order, that G.D. reconstructionists Zalewksi and Farrell began defaming Golden Dawn founders S.L. MacGregor Mathers and W. Wynn Wescott and dismissing the historical evidence without justification for the physical existence of the Golden Dawn's Third Order in Continental Europe as both Wescott and Mathers repeatedly claimed.

To any truly objective observer, there are as many logical fallacies in Zalewski's and Farrell's aggressive G.D. reconstructionist position, as there are holes in Swiss cheese. Above, for example, Zalewksi says that even though the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order are a mere fairy tale, that even though Mathers and Wescott are cheats and liars, and that even though the Golden Dawn was a fraud from the beginning, the rituals and the magical system of the Golden Dawn nonetheless still work.

Grasping for straws, this swiss cheese argument was the best Pat Zalewksi and Nick Farrell could find to justify The Exquisite Corpse Golden Dawn, which they dissect and reconstruct into a headless Golden Dawn zombie, like a hybrid of Frankenstein and the Night of the Living Dead.

What Zalewski does not explain is why the rituals and magical system of the Golden Dawn actually do work so well, if the founders were liars and frauds and the Secret Chiefs but fairy tales. If Mathers was a madman like Farrell claims, then how did Mathers and Wescott come up with something so radically different than anything the world had ever seen before? Read Eliphas Levi and you see clearly what 19th Century occultism actually looked like. Obviously, either Mathers and Wescott were the greatest magical geniuses of our time, or alternatively they must have had outside help.

Ellic Howe does not even attempt explain this. Zalewksi does not explain this at all. Nor does Farrell.

To get an objective, outside opinion from someone with no vested interest in the Golden Dawn, this morning I phoned a respected Elder of a major Pagan tradition, who requested to remain anonymous, yet she said:
"The overwhelming historical evidence speaks against these guys. The Golden Dawn is a watershed between the occultism of the 19th and 20th Centuries, something radically different than anything that had ever been seen before. If Mathers was a loon, then where did the genius of the Golden Dawn come from? The only other alternative are the Secret Chiefs, which Zalewksi and Farrell already dismiss as a fairy tail.
Why then are Farrell and Zalewski posing as Elders of the Golden Dawn tradition, when in the same breath they attack the Golden Dawn as a fraud? From where I sit as an outside observer this is the height of hypocrisy. 
Farrell and Zalewski look like a snake oil salesmen defaming the most monumental and revolutionary occult achievement in our times, merely to elevate themselves.
I, for one, would not buy a used car from someone like who claims that, while the car itself is o.k., the manufacturer is a fraud and its CEO a rip-off artist!"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nick Farrell's Latest Attack on S.L. MacGregor Mathers & the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn

by David Griffin

Is the Golden Dawn a Living Tradition or a Headless Cadaver?
Golden Dawn reconstructionist Nick Farrell argues the Golden Dawn died when Whare Ra temple closed its doors in 1978. Farrell further argues the Golden Dawn was from the outset a fraud perpetrated by Golden Dawn founders, W. Wynn Wescott and S.L. MacGregor Mathers.

Golden Dawn Reconstructionist: Nick Farrell
In a bizarre twist, Mr. Farrell fully depends on these arguments to justify his reconstructionist approach upon which he has built a Golden Dawn order according to his personal fancy. Unlike successful Neo-Pagan reconstructionists, sloppy G.D. reconstructionists like Mr. Farrell view the Golden Dawn as a juicy cadaver, from which they happily saw off the bits they like, discard the rest of the rotting carcass, and use the pieces they like to reconstruct a modern, distorted version of the Golden Dawn, much like Dr. Frankenstein did when he likewise created his monster out of bits and pieces of cadavers.

For years, I have been a primary advocate of diversity in our Golden Dawn community. I fully support the existence of a diverse plethora of Golden Dawn orders. Mr. Farrell's reconstructionist vision of the Golden Dawn, much like Pat Zalewlski's New Age alchemy, clearly adds to the overall diversity of our Golden Dawn community. I nonetheless also defend the right of traditionalist Golden Dawn orders, like the August Order of the Mystic Rose and the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, likewise to exist unmolested, so that individuals continue to have somewhere they can receive classical, traditional Golden Dawn initiation and training.

One thing I do object to, however, is how certain sloppy Golden Dawn reconstructionists, unlike their excellent Neo-Pagan reconstructionist contemporaries, abandon academic rigor and protocol trying to rewrite history by attacking even the most fundamental aspects of the traditional Golden Dawn.

I was not surprised at all when Nick Farrell recently published yet another article, entitled Secret Chiefs and the Golden Dawn, attacking Golden Dawn founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers as well as the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order. In this latest attack article, Farrell, who has previously argued that Mathers was nutty as a loon, now argues that the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order were but figments of Mathers imagination (rather than real people like Mathers specifically claimed on numerous occasions).

I will not go into a detailed refutation of Mr. Farrell's arguments, as that has already been done in a fine manner by G.H. Frater Sincerus Renatus, Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® and of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, in a new blog you can read here.

It is significant to note that Mr. Farrell's latest article appears in an on-line journal whose stated purpose is to raise money for a legal fund that finances litigation that unsuccessfully attempted to destroy our order. Thus, Farrell's article may be seen as just another machination in the decade old, Golden Dawn conflict, which covertly continues to be waged against our order, despite our long and incessant efforts to promote peace and harmony in the Golden Dawn community. (Note that, despite ongoing misrepresentation around the internet, our order remains the sole and exclusive owner of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® trademark in the UK as well as in the entire European Community - EU trademark registration 000063925).

Mr. Farrell's recent, senseless profanation through publication of the Mathers recension of the initiatioin rituals of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega is, of course, also best understood in the same light, as Farrell mistakenly believed these the secret rituals were still in use today in traditionalist Golden Dawn orders like the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega and the August Order of the Mystic Rose. He failed to realize that we revised the rituals in anticipation of precisely such an attack on traditionalist Golden Dawn orders.

GH Frater: Sincerus Renatus
Here are a few excerpts from Sincerus Renatus' refutation of Mr. Farrell's latest attack article:
"Mr. Farrell accuses Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers of using lies and deception in trying to uphold the idea of a physical and incarnated Secret Chiefs while at the same time resorting to channeled sources"
"Yet Farrell presents absolutely no sources or references to corroborate his story, in a manner that I have seen with other journalists posing as historians. Thus we must conclude that they are based upon Mr. Farrell’s own fabrications and fantasies, or embellishings, rather than anything solid and historically proven, other than whatever he may have read into Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn."
"I won’t go into any greater details regarding Mr. Farrell’s personal opinions on this matter of Secret Chiefs in the flesh or the “mental condition” of MacGregor Mathers, other than making the readers aware that he himself has an interest in refuting physical Secret Chiefs to be anything but a myth and MacGregor Mathers to be a loony. He uses his usual talking points to further his own post-modern reconstruction of a Golden Dawn Order. Mr. Farrell clearly isn’t dealing with this subject from the perspective of a dispassionate and objective historical researcher, but obviously has his own agenda in furthering his opinionated and highly biased position, as any journalist would with an historical revisionist agenda. But I must react when he claims any historical veracity to his speculations."
One can perhaps understand attacks on S.L. MacGregor Mathers and other Golden Dawn founders coming from someone like Ellic Howe, a dubious "historian" with a clear agenda to destroy the Golden Dawn. What is bizarre, however, is to hear the same arguments being parroted by Nick Farrell, who purports to lead a Golden Dawn order he has reconstructed. Why on Earth would anyone in their right mind want to lead an order, or even initiate or teach others a spiritual tradition they believe a fraud founded by liars and forgers?

Pagan Elder: Frater Barrabbas
I am certainly not the only one who has noted this inconsistency in the reconstruction efforts of Nick Farrell. For example, respected Pagan Elder and magickal author, Frater Barrabbas Tireseus, recently wrote here on his Talking About Ritual Magic blog:
"What we have here is an never ending argument between traditionalists and reconstructionists in the Golden Dawn... Reconstructionism, as I defined it in my previous article, builds a modern tradition using properly vetted historical information. The basic premise is to build an antique system as if it had survived into the modern times... In order to give life to a reconstructed tradition, you must believe in it as a thing unto itself, thus generating a kind of egregore...
if reconstructionists don’t believe in the tradition that they have built, then it is still a dead tradition consisting of various assembled parts (with some missing), like some half finished Frankenstein monster laying on the operating table.
A reconstructionist never says that his or her tradition is fake, but that it exists in a kind of metaphysical sense, “as if” it had never disappeared.
Nick’s role of nay-sayer and myth-busting iconoclast doesn’t help his cause of reconstructing a Golden Dawn tradition, since in order to give life to a reconstruction, one must emphatically believe in it... I have a problem with someone who is the supposed head of his order and who claims that the tradition he represents is fake and based on lies and deceit...
According to what Nick has declared in his recent blog, and what other leaders and members of the other reconstructionist factions have said, it would appear that what they are offering to the occult community is a sad testimonial to the Golden Dawn tradition - a headless corpse being passed off as a living thing... Curiously enough, a reconstructionist must also fashion a “head” for his or her tradition...
I think that we can easily see that choosing a living tradition over one that is a headless corpse is a wise decision."