Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THE GOLDEN DAWN DEBATES: "Talismans and the Golden Dawn System of Magick"

Reconstructionists vs. Traditionalists

Nick Farrell: MOAA Reconstructionist Golden Dawn Leader, wrote:

"I just made a mercury talisman and was asked why it was yellow and not orange.  I used Beth, and the colour of the magician card. Their argument is that I should have used Hod colours. Practically we are both right... so has anyone been told a rule here."

Martin Thibeault: OGD Reconstructionist Golden Dawn Leader, wrote:

"Our main colour reference for 5=6 is the Minutum Mundum. In it the colours for elements, planets, and signs are those of the king scale of the paths while the colours of the sephiroth (which are not elements, planets, or signs but permutations of forces including these) are in the Queen scale. It is common for people to use a colour because one thing is associated to another, but in the GD, the planets have their own colour...separate from the Sephiroth. The Vault walls are a prime example of this. On the mercury wall of the Vault Yellow is the colour for mercury and orange of the Hod square would be mixed with that yellow for the Hod square on the mercury wall. The colours of the planets are not necessarily those of the sephiroth. The sephiroth represent a far most vast array of forces than just the planet found in their assiah aspect. Hod is therefore not mercury, rather mercury is but a minute aspect of Hod. So a mercury Talisman would definitely be yellow, not the same way a Hod Talisman would definitely be Orange, not yellow (unless we get into various theories on different worlds and their colours here)."

David Griffin: Imperator of the Traditionalist, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega, wrote:

"I definitely disagree with Martin Thibeault and here is the rule Nick Farrell has been searching for. When it comes to whether, using the Golden Dawn System of Magic, a Mercury talisman ought to be yellow (the color of the path on the Qabalistic Tree of Life attributed to Mercury) or orange (the color of the Sephiroth attributed to Mercury).

The correct answer lies in the nature of the energy patterns on the Tree itself, since the paths contain active, flowing energies in motion, whereas the Sephiroth themselves attract and contain energy at rest.

You will find the correct answer, as well as a complete color set of finished Golden Dawn talismans and instructions how to use them in The Ritual Magic Manual, the definitive Golden Dawn Grimoire I released back in 1999.

The simple answer is:

"It depends what you wish to accomplish with the talisman."

Does your intention involve attracting a magical force or does it involve projecting it?

If your magical intention involves attracting a force, then you should use the color of the Sephirah corresponding to the planet, since Sephiroth attract force into themselves.

If your magical intention involves projecting a force, you should use the color reference of the Planet on the corresponding path on the Tree of Life, since the paths are active and represent force in motion.

Talismans from the Ritual Magic Manual

Most importantly. Please don't simply take my word for this! Remember:

"Facile answers breed both facile minds...
...and mediocre magicians!"

Experiment with each arrangement for yourself!...
...then make up your OWN mind what is most effective based on your own experience.

I invite readers here to share your experiences with using talismanic magic here on The Golden Dawn Blog in the comments section below." -David Griffin


  1. I read this. I learned from it. I hope these "Debates" will be a new series.

    I look forward to reading the comments from others about their experiences in these matters.

  2. This is so interesting! I am reminded of the flashing orange of the Cup too - also related to the Sphere of Hod... and very much a tool of receptivity. Whereas the Dagger flashes yellow and is more active in application. Unsure as yet what to make of the Wand on this level... more yellow activity, but why not use GREEN to flash with red? Hmmmm - much food for thought on so many levels here... thank you GH Frater L.e.S.

  3. Color scales need to be taken into account as well. Depending upon which color scale is used may/can/will create confusion; and establishing context for purpose and intent is critical for explaining and understanding this often difficult theurgic practice.

    From an outer order perspective where the aspirant is expected to build their Sphere of Sensation (SoS), in the Queen's scale, orange is correct for linking energies of Hod—which includes mercurial aspects. In general, students may oversimplify and conflate the 8th Sephiroth being yellow since mercurial energies permeate it and Mercury is often depicted as "yellow" but this should be evidently incorrect since Tiphareth is yellow under the Queen's scale and the 30th path of Resh, The Sun, is gold-yellow, with Hod being Orange. This may be crossed reference in Regardie's GD text, PF Case's work, and even Crowley's 777.

    Giving any other information, or advanced rationalizations/instructions pertaining to second order and vault work is bound to further confuse budding students; and even borders on irresponsible tutelage that potentially jeopardizes one's advancement.

    An important consideration is that using the color of a Sephiroth and the corresponding planetary energies are critical for building one's sphere of sensation to properly draw-in (i.e., attract), contain, and maximize such energies as a living talisman—a practice that is especially useful when completing alchemical preparations of tinctures or Ens as well. The student working as a 3=8 should be able to draw-in and master Hod and Mercurial energies before attempting to project it outward—learning about an energy is wise before employing it for a purpose that may have unexpected consequences.

    For Mercury, orange with flashing blue sigils are in order using a closed figure of an octagon signifying energies drawn in or enclosed—again, a practice that a 3=8 benefits from while developing their SoS. In this method, the student’s Will becomes familiar with the energies, and eventually more potent, to accurately project such energies when using active polygrams—more importantly, for self-development to attain conversation with one’s HGA.

    For Mercury, yellow with flashing violet sigils are in order using a pointed figure of an octagram signifying energies projected outward. The Will of a theurgist that hasn't primarily developed and maximized their SoS will likely project ineffective or scattered energies using "active" talismans, because without developing and understanding the energies within their SoS such energies remain untempered and rendered erratic or even relatively useless—even dangerous depending on intent. Caution is needed because reflux energies from such talisman may be surprisingly devastating if the student hasn’t properly developed their SoS as a form of defense and protection to recognize, thwart off, and balance disruptive energies.

  4. This article makes me so happy. How refreshing to have a highly analytical debate on something so highly fascinating! This just further proves the point there is no flame war!

    I am curious to read Nick and Martin's responses and the responses of others. Talismans, seals and sigils are my FAVORITE part of occultism and something I have studied as much as I can. Unfortunately I am not nearly advanced enough to fully comment on anything here or even understand some of the information going back and forth. Won't stop me from reading it though! More motivation to take the stance of the many hard working students around the world and buckle down and really push myself to learn and experience all that the Golden Dawn has to offer!

    Thanks GH LES for such a wonderful post! :)

    In LVX

  5. @ Frater LUA

    Thank you for your kind words. I think that, with the exception of a handful of leaders with ego interests, the ENTIRE Golden Dawn community would like to see a lot more of meaningful discussion and debate like this that includes not only GD Reconstructionists, but also GD Traditionalists.

    Almost EVERYONE is fed up with polarization of the Golden Dawn Community due to outside interference. I will not belabor that again here as we have been over and over that already on this blog.

    An essential dynamic that is maintaining the sad state of affairs in the greater Golden Dawn community is the stubborn refusal of GD Reconstructionists to allow any meaningful discussion or dabate with GD Traditionalists on any of the blogs of fora that they control.

    Indeed, NO ONE from our order is allpwed to respond directly to anything on any of those venues.

    This is one major factor creating the mistaken impression that there is a "Golden Dawn Flame War," when in fact there is none.

    What there is is a sad situation in which the only meaningful dialogue between GD Traditionalists and GD Reconctructionists occurs with each side speaking past one another, broadcasting from their respective soap boxes (books, blogs, websites, fora, etc.). No wonder the greater esoteric community thinks there is a GD flame war.

    This is why our order has begun cross posting the resonctructionists here and dialoguing with them here, despite their stubborn refusal. Whether they like or not, the vast majority of rank and file GD members from across the spectrum want and support such MEANINGFUL debate.

  6. I agree 100% with the flashing colors published in Griffin's Ritual Magic Manual. I dont necessarily agree with George Washington's reasoning though.... Infact it leaves me even more suspect as to the source for the information to begin with. Regardless, it's good info..... The reason for the colors are simply due to the nature of the force. For example Fire; Mars; Aries; & Geburah will all be properly represented by red and green with subtle shade differences.... This would be an appropriate expansion outwards from the Elemental Fire, to the Planetary Fire of Mars, to the Zodiacal Fire of Aries, the ultimately the cooler burning Sepirothic Fire of Geburah.....

  7. señor griffin, en el libro de regardie dice elohim tzahot para la esfera de hod, la palabra tzahot es asi o es tzabahot? y porque las letras hebreas del nombre de dios de su talisman me dan un sigilo distinto en la rosa? es decir, elohim me da lo mismo en la rosa, pero el otro nombre, me da mal.