by GH Frater Sincerus Renatus
Morgan Drake Eckstein just published a "review" of 'Mathers’ Last Secret' yesterday. After his usual barrage of snide remarks against the HOGD/AO (the “trademarked AO”), he wrote the following:
Morgan Drake Eckstein
"One of the big conversations about this book, and the Neophyte ritual that Mathers created for his Golden Dawn offshoot, has been about the shortcuts that Mathers says are permissible "[if] time be of some importance." Most of the Opening becomes optional, large parts of the lecture for the Grade, and even the "Admission ceremony" is optional. Basically, the only thing you cannot skip is the Oath of Obligation."
"In other words, instead of not admitting an Neophyte until a full initiation ritual with a full Opening can be performed, a person could become a Neophtye [sic.] by just paying their dues and committing to keep the AO secret and remaining loyal to Mathers. This reminds me of some of the fringe Freemasonry rituals that I have seen, where a person takes an oath and gets another honorary title to add to their collection."
Again he uses that popular anti A.O. term "optional" the describe Mathers’ motives. What is even more astonishing with Morgan's comment that "even the 'Admission ceremony' is optional" is that he is taking an even further stretch in his smearing of Mathers' reputation than does his friend Farrell!
Good work Morgan! Everyone who has read Farrell's book knows you are twisting the truth beyond recognition. If this isn’t proof of history revisionism, what is?
I didn't think I would ever have to say this but, I ALMOST wish that people would read 'Mathers’ Last Secret' so that they may found their own opinions about the A.O. 0=0, and see that most of the Mathers / A.O. bashers’ opinions about it is mostly sensationalist fantasies.
For you that haven't read it, let me tell you what is actually possible to abridge in the Admission ceremony:
- The passing of the Gates can be shortened to contain two or one circumambulations (which BTW is more in harmony with the Cypher Mss. than the original G.D. version)
- 2. The "Explanations of the Symbols of the Grade" by the Hierophant, which may instead be delivered in a later opened Temple or as a lecture.
- The "Address of the Hiereus" at the end, which also may be delivered later as in (2).
- The "Subjects of study" delivered by the Hierophant, which may instead be delivered later as in (2).
- And "perhaps the effect of the fluid" at the end.
This leaves the majority of the Admission, including all of the purifications, obligation, passing of the gates, the restoration to Light, conference of signs, etc., i.e. the most fundamental magical points of the reception. What is left out is the lighter magical pars / intellectual information.
This spreading of disinformation about a competing branch of the G.D. (i.e. a non-Stella Matutina lineage) is beyond comprehension, especially when spread by professed "initiates" and "scholars" of the Golden Dawn.
This speaks volumes about Mathers’ detractors, rather than about him.
It is highly interesting to see how the trolls behave when a truly independent book review comes along, like the review of Farrell's "King Over the Water, written by Wiccan elder and highly respected Pagan author, Frater Barrabbas, that you can read here:
Responding to this thoughtful and thorough review, Pat Zalewski wrote:
"It was interesting to read a review of King over the Water, which has recently popped up. The author cited Sword of Wisdom as a good Mathers biography and essentially admonished Nick for his analysis of Mathers. Now most of us know that Sword of Wisdom was an informative book, but was essentially a whitewash of Mathers and depicted him as a hero throughout. Now Nick does not need me to defend his work as he is quite capable of doing it himself. What I am commenting on here is how people (like the reviewer) have an idealized mental construct of Mathers and don't want that view shattered with some facts getting in the way, as did the author of Sword of Wisdom. The review was a defence of the mental image of Mathers and what he should have been like, not like he was. He apparently cannot differentiate the work Mathers did from the character. Howe lays it out table as to what Mathers was. Though Howe's work is dated, the new material on Mathers that has come to light since Howe, is more peripheral than core.
The reviewer was clearly out of his depth, going by some of the contrasts given. What Nick did in his book was to try and get rid of the fantasized Mathers and let the real one stand up. Now not everyone will agree with all of Nick's comments, but at least he tried to separate fact from fantasy which is a lot more than the reviewer did.
While I admire what Mathers did as far as the GD goes, because I follow his teachings, I do not enshrine them. I also do not confuse the teachings with the personality who brought them through. This is what the reviewer has done by not accepting what a flawed individual Mathers was, and how his teachings deteriorated in the AO when things were pruned out of the old GD rituals, like making the circumambulation optional."
This is the usual rethoric used by Zalewski, that any and all scholarlay critique of Zalewski's and Farrell's Mathers bashing is "putting Mathers on a pedistal". It is nothing of the kind. We fully know and acknowledge our founding fathers faults, and that he eventually fell out of grace of his Secret Chiefs, but that doesn't mean that we are trying our very best to drag his reputation into the mud, as Zalewski and Farrell is doing. That is what all true initiates react against, not paying a past Chief and Adept and Initiate due respect, regardless of his faults. They seem to have forgot the 3=8 lecture on the "General Guidance and Purification of the Soul", which says:
"Be not hasty to condemn other’s sin. How knowest thou that in their place thou couldst have resisted the temptation? And even were it so, why shouldst thou despise one who is weaker than thyself? Be thou well sure of this, that in slander and self-righteousness is sin."
One such example is twisting the fact and hold it against Mathers, such as "how his teachings deteriorated in the AO when things were pruned out of the old GD rituals, like making the circumambulation optional."
What Mathers says in the A.O. 0=0 is that during meetings where time is constricted, the circumambulation (and some other stuff) may be passed over in the Opening and during the initiation reduced to two or one round. To say that it is "pruned out" or “optional” is a streach, at least in my eyes. Mathers says “If time be of importance, some Abridgement of Ritual is permissible”. This doesn't imply a usual conduct but a species of exception from the normal protocol. What Zalewski and Farrell aren't aware of, or wilfully is witholding, is that the minutes of the Ahatoor Temple have a standardized phrase which reads "Opened in full", something that is said in the majority of the entries.