Monday, December 17, 2012

Leading the Golden Dawn into the 21st Century (Reply to Donald Michael Kraig)

Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin

Donald Michael Kraig has written another fascinating article over on the Llewellyn Publishing blog. You can read the entire article here.

Donald Michael Kraig wrote:

Donald Michael Kraig

"I’m not a luddite who is simply against any change. But the fact is, rituals become traditional because they work.

- Donald Michael Kraig 

Frater Kraig goes on to point out about the Golden Dawn's Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram:
"As proof of its strength, when people try to “improve” it they basically just change a few words or actions.  
- Donald Michael Kraig 

Kraig next points out how even Crowley's replacement ritual, the Star Ruby, includes the basic elements of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Kraig then continues:
"But there’s a difference between what Crowley did with the Star Ruby and what some people do with their “improvements” to Golden Dawn rituals.
- Donald Michael Kraig 

Don mentions that Crowley was already an experienced Magician when he adapted the LBRP into the Star Ruby and understood the function of every change he made. Kraig then contrasts this with unreflective changes beginning Magicians have made to Golden Dawn rituals. Kraig continues:
"I am in favor of change in rituals if the people making the change know what they are doing and if there is a legitimate and mystical reason for the change..."
- Donald Michael Kraig 

The Golden Dawn's Neophyte ritual reads:
"Holy art Thou Lord of the Universe 
Holy art Thou whom Nature has not formed, 
Holy art Thou the vast and the Mighty One 
Lord of the Light and of the Darkness."
- Golden Dawn Neophyte Ritual 

Frater Kraig then points out how some people think this is sexist and have replaced "Lord" with things like "Lord and Lady." He further points out how this overlooks the Qabalistic significance of Lord = "Adonai Olam" and how this equates via Gematria to "Ain Soph," one of the primordial veils giving rise to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is a great example of why people should not make changes willy-nilly. Kraig continues:
"I’m not against change; I’m in favor of it. Spiritual movements that do not evolve end up devolving into tired husks of their former beauty...But...It’s important to fully understand the purpose of the valid original in order to make it an even better new form."  
- Donald Michael Kraig 
Donald Michael Kraig is quite correct that one must be quite careful about making changes to Golden Dawn Ritual or Magic - and that such changes should not be made without adequate training and experience. Clearly Don's wisdom has matured based on many years of Magical experience.

Frater Kraig's advice is sound. In fact, the position the Alpha Omega's position all along has fully agreed with the position Don states here. I have discussed the A.O. position on these matters at length here, where I wrote:

"Experimentation and innovation are indeed essential aspects of Magical practice for advanced, highly experienced Magicians. The “science” of magic is important - but should be done only after one has reached the doctoral stage of the Art. 
I am all for using the scientific method to analyze ritual practice. However, I would not advocate that an undergraduate (Outer Order Student) attempt this form of ritual study.
Throughout the academic world, undergraduates are required to master course curriculum in the manner each Professor requires it. This does not mean that there are not other methods or that experimentation has no value. Experimention and innovation certainly do have their places, especially when writing a doctoral thesis. These things do not belong in the beginner's level though, as undergraduates are not properly trained in comparative research methods. 
At the undergraduate level, what really counts is that the Professor has a method that works, and effectively transmits to students the fundamental abilities they will need for more advanced studies. This can not be done properly by expecting students to use post-graduate methods at an undergraduate level.  
Beginning magicians are not in a position to interpret “what works.” 
What does “works” even mean? How would I know it works? It feels good? Demons appear? I win the lottery? The bigger question is what is the intent? How would I even begin to know that my magic “works?” That is the real question. Once that is known, troubleshooting and creating ritual is easier. 
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega is the bachelor’s degree of Magic. Its primary purpose is to educate the aspiring magician in the required vocabulary, symbolism, and practices which are already established and proven to be effective. 
The Master’s degree (Second Order level in the A.O.) is an applied approach to the science and/or art under consideration and prepares the student to do secondary research in one specific area of knowledge. The “master” is one who can take existing knowledge and apply it to new situations. Finally, the doctoral degree (Third Order level in the A.O.) is to learn the methods of primary research and obtain the skills to create new knowledge. 
The Outer Order beginning student is at the bachelor stage. Undergraduates are not ready to do comparative research of sources. They don’t know enough, or have the skills required, to make informed choices. 
This is why the work of a university (or Order) is required. It’s not that the undergraduate information isn’t already available and easy to find. It’s a progressive learning experience that removes the requirement of comparative research skills." 
- David Griffin

Let us recall that in the first linked article, Frater Kraig wrote:
"I’m not a luddite who is simply against any change."
- Donald Michael Kraig

This statement also exemplifies the maturity of Frater Kraig's magical wisdom. As does the Alpha Omega, Don Kraig clearly also recognizes that certain changes ARE necessary if the Golden Dawn is to remain a living and evolving tradition.

Various orders in the Golden Dawn community will likely not always agree what these changes are. In fact, the whole question of what should and should not be changed as the Golden Dawn evolves into the 21st Century is quite controversial. The answers to this question are as diverse as the Golden Dawn community itself.

As Don has so eloquently points out, one DOES need to be very careful when making any changes or additions. Still there are corrections and changes that DO need to be made.

The Alpha Omega recognizes the need to make a few cautious changes, because:
  1. There are errors in Qabalistic hierarchies used by the Golden Dawn that came in through repeated transliteration from one language to the other.
  2. Mathers in his lifetime never completed the curriculum for the Golden Dawn's entire three Order, ten Sephiroth Grade system.
  3. Mathers in his lifetime ever finished integrating Qabalistic and Enochian Magic in the Golden Dawn system. He completed the integration for Elemental Magic, but not for Planetary or Zodiacal Magic. 
  4. Golden Dawn tradition requires that Golden Dawn Rituals for Initiation and Magic be kept secret, yet have all been published.
The Alpha Omega has solved these problems for our order because:
  1. I managed correct the Qabalistic hierarchies used in the G.D., by verifying them in pre-G.D. Biblical, Rabbinical, and Qabalistic sources. This is carefully footnoted throughlout the Ritual Magic Manual.
  2. The Alpha Omega in 2002 made contact with Hermetic Masters in Continental Europe who represent very old and very pure streams of Hermetic and Rosicrucian initiatic lineages. They transmitted advanced Rosicruican Magic and Hermetic Alchemy to the Alpha Omega, which now completes our Second and Third order curriculums. The A.O. moved most published material to our Outer Order, since it is "out" anyway.
  3. Using Mathers' precise lines of synthesis, the Alpha Omega managed to complete the synthesis that Mathers had begun with Elemental Magic - integrating Qabalistic and Enochian Magic also for the Planetary and Zodiacal systems. This is carefully documented and explained in the Book of the Concourse of Planetary and Zodiacal Forces in the Ritual Magic Manual that you can read here.
  4. In the Alpha Omega, we cautiously, slightly revised our initiation rituals, so that they remain traditional, yet their actual, present form remains secret. We were very careful in making these minor adjustments, avoiding the sort of mistake Don Kraig mentions above. Secrecy of rituals is important to protect the Egregore of a Magical Order.

These are just a few Alpha Omega solutions to challenges Golden Dawn orders face in our community in the 21st Century. Again, each order will answer these challenges in its own, unique way. This is what makes our community so diverse and gives people so many choices.

This morning, Donald Michael Kraig released another absolute gem of an article which you can read here. The ending of Kraig's new article is so important that I delayed publication of this article to comment on it. Frater Kraig writes:

"I take a position that is...based on two presuppositions... 
The internet has not been well exploited for occult and magickal training. A combination of lessons on the internet with supplemental books—or perhaps the study of books with supplemental internet lessons—combined with on-line teaching of a group (webinars) or through individual live instruction (via FaceTime, Skype, etc.) or email interactions, may be the future of getting information into the hands of the individual."

- Donald Michael Kraig

It is wonderful to see how Donald Michael Kraig's position so closely mirrors the Alpha Omega's regarding how best to meet the needs of Self-Initiates and Solitary Practitioners while leading the Golden Dawn into the 21st Century. This is why I have been working tirelessly for months now with the Alpha Omega's 1,000 Points of Light initiative.

With the 1,000 Points of Light initiative, the Alpha Omega led the way in bringing Self-Initiates and Solitary Practitioners more resources than ever before, because:
Personal Temples: The Alpha Omega encourages Self-Initiates and Solitary Practiioners to create Personal Altars and Temples. We are putting them on the map for you here on the Golden Dawn blog and publishing photos of independent Altars and Temples around the world. 
Self-Initiation: The A.O. teaches how the goal of Golden Dawn Initiation and Magic is to strengthen the energetic body and to awaken the Elemental, Planetary, Zodiacal, and Sephirothic Magical Forces in the "Sphere of Sensation" of the aspiring Magician, and are providing the techniques necessary to attempt this on one's own. 
Magical Tools: The A.O. teaches how traditional Golden Dawn Magical Tools are created by publishing photographs of Israel Regardie's tools from the A.O.'s Golden Dawn Museum. 
Ritual Magic 101 Coaching Webinars: The A.O. brings solid Ritual Magic teaching and coaching to self-taught Magicians all around the world. 
2012 Golden Dawn World Tour: The Alpha Omega makes Ritual Magic instruction and coaching - as well as tradtional Golden Dawn initiation - available in at least 5 countries over the next year - up close and personal. 
Ritual Magic 101 Workshops: brings magical coaching up close and personal. 
Ritual Magic 101 Private Coaching: The Alpha Omega offers private Ritual Magic coaching with David Griffin both in-person and via Skype.
Ritual  Magic 101 Coaching Dojo: The Alpha Omega offers bi-weekly group Ritual Magic practice - dojo style  - with David Griffin - beginning January 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada at Well of the Moon Pagan Bookstore.
Ritual  Magic 101 Training Videos: The Alpha Omega offers free Ritual Magic training videos both on the Golden Dawn YouTube Channel and soon to be on the new GoldenDawn.TV website as well, along with soon to be released other new training aids.
 Traditional Golden Dawn Initiation: The A.O. offers traditional G.D. initiation in our international network of traditional Golden Dawn temples - as well as part of the Golden Dawn World Tour.

It is wonderful to witness more and more orders in our community stand with the Alpha Omega in leading the Golden Dawn into the 21st Century with new and creative ways to better meet the needs of Self-Initiates and Solitary Practitioners.

Remember: I am not saying the Alpha Omega is somehow "better" than other Golden Dawn orders.

But we DO things differently - and you can learn them too!

Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!"


  1. Excelente artículo.

    Cómo estudiante que perteneció a diversos grupos, yo si puedo decir que la HOGDAO es lo mejor para mí.

    El sistema de la HOGDAO funciona, y se está haciendo un esfuerzo valioso por poner a disposición de todo el público la tradición de la GD clásica.


    Excellent article.

    How student who belonged to various groups, I can say that I HOGDAO is the best for me.

    The HOGDAO system works, and it is becoming a worthwhile effort by making available to the public the tradition of classical GD.



  2. Of late certain questions have been raised regarding the legality of quotations from other blogs.

    I have therefore been asked by the Alpha Omega's Praemonstrator Ordinis, Jorge Hevia III Esq., Attorney at Law, to publish the following information:

    "The United States Supreme Court, in Eldred et al v. Ashcroft, 537 US 186 (US, 2003), ruled that, on First Amendment grounds, fair use, during the term of a copyright, provides considerable latitude to reproduce facts and ideas from the copyrighted work for scholarship, comment and even parody."

    Please be advised that GH Frater DeDI (Mr. Hevia) is the A.O.s designated DMCA agent and General Counsel, as well as 2d Adept of the the Alpha Omega's Second Order, the R.R. et A.C and Praemonstrator Ordinis our First Order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

    Anyone with questions regarding copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or would like to report abuse, please contact Mr. Hevia directly at GHFraterDeDI@Golden-Dawn.Com

  3. Gratifying that DMK is coming to the very same conclusions HOGD exemplifies.

    I do hope that there will be much more acceptance of these views from the wider community now that the likes of DMK are speaking up... it will be of great benefit for the future of the greater Golden Dawn.

    HOGD continues to show what can be achieved.