Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pseudo-Historians & the Golden Dawn Feud

by David Griffin

I Ain't Feudin' - I'm Writin' "History"

Nick Farrell today published yet another pseudo-historical rant on his blog, in which Farrell once again merely repeated the same, worn out talking points, while completely failing to address any of the host of subtantial rebuttals to his talking points that have been raised over and over again from scholars from across the entire spectrum of the esoteric community. Mr Farrell does not yet appear to yet understand the incongruence of his claiming to he a "historian of the Golden Dawn, yet failing to even the most basic rules of academia!

On the Golden Dawn forum, Mr. Farrell was recently taken to task for his propaganda-like approach to "history" by acacemic anthropologist, Leslie McQuade, who wrote:

Anthropologist Leslie McQuade
SUBJECT: When Magicians Play Historian 
"As an academic and a trained anthropologist, it has been extremely entertaining over the past couple of days to observe the group of quasi-academics play historian, while ignoring the most basic rules of academia.  No matter how much I disagree with my detractors, the rigors of academia require that I acknowledge and engage counter arguments to the points that I am presenting. 
To merely repeat "talking points" over and over, like a broken record, whether in forum, book, or blog form, while completely ignoring any rebuttal may work well in the rough and tumble world of Republican politics, but in in real world academia it will likely cost you your peer review. Thus my judgement of esotericist/magicians "playing historians" (like fire-weilding bonobos) seems to be very apt when it comes to the arrogance and complete disregard for even the most fundamental of academic rigors and protocols recently exhibited by Golden Dawn lay-historians." - Leslie McQuade

Mr. Farrell is once again playing with fire in his self-appointed role of "myth busting conooclast" attacking fundamental aspects of the Golden Dawn using a pseudo-historical yardstick. Mr. Farrell has been taken to task by real academics for this on numerous occasions as well. Here is what anthropologist Leslie McQuade recently wrote, for example:
"As an anthropologist, I find it fascinating that Pat Zalkewki and Nick Farrell, who purport to lead Golden Dawn orders, do not understand that it is initiatic proof rather than historical proof that is the correct yardstick with which to measure the "oath bound" material of any initiatic tradition. 
You see, as a trained anthropologist, I have had the opportunity to study cultures, and to have the permission of those cultures to learn things usually hidden to other researchers. This is because of my dual status as not only as anthropologist, but also as an initiated witch. This is a process called "participant observer". It is a scientific method whereby in order to understand some aspects of culture it is necessary to actually "become" a member of the society at a certain level. Usually this means undergoing certain rites of passage which are age and experience appropriate, but also, as in my case, pursuing my interests in magic in the field. 
I am not really surprised to find this phenomenon in the Golden Dawn community. In the Pagan community, we have frequently had to deal with historians trying to play anthropologist, even though untrained in the ethnographic method. 
In Mr. Farrell's case, his experience as a tabloid journalist does not compensate for his lack of academic training in the historical method. In the case of the contemporary Golden Dawn, we find a bizarre situation where esotericists like Mr. Farrell make sweeping judgements about esoteric material as though they were trained historians, which they are not. Even if they were, by the way, they would nonetheless be out of their depth, as the evaluation of a living occult tradition is the proper pervue of the anthropologist rather than the historian. 
What we are witnessing today in the Golden Dawn community are a group of occultists pretending to be historians while, based on motives that are purely political, passing sweeping judgements on material which is anthropological rather than historical in nature to begin with." - Leslie McQuade
TRUTH I: The real reason Nick Farrell keeps trying to debunk the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order of the Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega is jealousy, as was also the case in the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.

TRUTH II: The root of the problem is Nick Farrell leads a Golden Dawn order  with nothing to offer his students but well known magick you can buy anywhere in a cheap Llewellyn edition. Farrell therefore writes entire books trying to prove no one else has anything more or better to offer than Llewellyn rehashes like he does.

TRUTH III: What is driving Mr. Farrell off the rails is that the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega offers Adepts from the entire Golden Dawn community a vast amount of advanced magical practices and systems that were recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs to the Golden Dawn community through the Alpha et Omega.

TRUTH IV: The real reason Mr. Farrell attacks lineage, the A.O., and the Secret Chiefs themselves is because the Secret Chiefs chose the A.O. instead of Mr. Farrell's order to transmit this material.  Rest assured ... had the Secret Chiefs chosen Farrell's order, you would have heard him singing praises instead of attacking the Secret Chiefs!

TRUTH V: Regarding lineage, Farrell desperately ignores that it is the "body of teachings and practices" themselves that define lineage in a spiritual tradition, and not some pseudo-historical nonsense. I have covered this subject already thoroughly here.

And the absolute root of the problem?


"The A.O. has new Golden Dawn magic to teach. Nick Farrell has only old rehash."

And contrary to Nick Farrell's propaganda ...

TRUTH VII: The Alpha et Omega is not asking anyone to take our cornucopia of new, advanced Golden Dawn teachings on "faith." As my grandmother used to say:

"The proof is in the pudding."

In other words, it is the advanced Golden Dawn magical and spiritual practices and teachings - in themselves - that are the real proof. Mr. Farrell's specious claim that we are asking people to take these things on "blind faith" is merely a word game. As Ms. McQuade mentioned above, Farrell is inappropriately demanding "historical" proof, when the real yardstick is "initiatic" proof for oath bound initiatic material.

... And the Alpha et Omega sharing this concrete and indisputable proof with the entire Golden Dawn community at the International Conclave of Golden Dawn Adepti, beginning March 9, 2012 near Las Vegas, Nevada. Here you will find complete details. Hope to see you there at this historical event!

At the end of the day, there is plenty of room in the Golden Dawn for both Mr. Farrell's order and the Alpha et Omega. There is no need at all for Mr. Farrell to be so obsessed with attacking/"debunking" our order and the Secret Chiefs.

There are plenty of people that come to the Golden Dawn looking for history. These people are better off in Mr. Farrell's order.

There are, however, also plenty of people who join the Golden Dawn wanting to learn magick. Many of these people are familiar with the published Golden Dawn material and are not looking for just a Regardie book study group.

These people want to learn new magical systems and are looking for accelerated spiritual growth through advanced magical practices and techniques. These people are better off joining the Alpha et Omega.

Thus the two orders serve the needs of completely different types of students, so there is no reason, jealousy aside, for Mr. Farrell to continue with his obssession with our order.

We wish Mr. Farrell and his order well, even though we do wish Mr. Farrell would mind his own business and teach his own students more, instead of trying to rewrite history in veiled attacks on our order all the time.

I, for one, have much better things to do with my time than to go on refuting the same talking points from Mr. Farrell over and over.

One would hope Mr. Farrell also has better things to do than to go on repeating them endlessly.

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