Sunday, June 30, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls - by the Golden Dawn Community

by Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin
"A valuable addition to the library of any Golden Dawn Magician"
- David Griffin

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn saw its beginning in its present form in 1888, when Isis-Urania Temple Number 3 was founded by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Robert Woodman, and W. Wynn Wescott. 

The order is a late flowering of a Hermetic and Rosicrucian initiatic center in Continental Europe, whose lineages and teachings were carried to England by Edward Bulwar-Lytton and Kenneth MacKenzie.

Count Apponyi of Hungary was a Rosicrucian, representing an extremely ancient and secretive Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers would later refer to as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen in German). Apponyi transmitted to MacKenzie certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions with which to found what in 1888 became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Britain.

Upon his return to England, Kenneth MacKenzie founded this esoteric society that would later become the Golden Dawn under the original name of “Fratres Lucis” or “Brethren of the Cross of Light.” MacKenzie’s temple was Number one, followed by the Bristol temple of F.G. Irwin as Number two. Isis-Urania therefore became Temple Number three when the Golden Dawn was "founded" in 1888. The teachings for this order were coded using Trithemius “Stenographia” as “Cypher Manuscripts” that were later obtained by Wescott from MacKenzie’s widow following the latter’s death in 1886.

Although the Golden Dawn never attracted great numbers of initiates under Wescott, Woodman, and Mathers, the publication of the Golden Dawn's teachings by Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie nonetheless caused the Golden Dawn to impact and influence nearly every aspect of today's Western esoteric tradition. 

As a fitting testament to the enduring power of the Golden Dawn, the tradition has managed to survive and thrive even unto the present day, despite over 120 years of persistent take over attempts by rival Rosicrucian order, the SRIA.

Not only has the Golden Dawn survived, it has flourished, blossomed and given much diverse fruit. From the earliest offshoots, the Alpha Omega, Stella Matutina, and Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, to the myriad diversity of orders and temples that make up today's Golden Dawn community.

It is precisely our diversity that is the greatest strength of today's Golden Dawn community. From fully independent, Pagan-led orders like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega to Christian oriented orders directed by SRIA - From Thelemic Golden Dawn orders to the smallest independent temples - From Magical G.D. orders like the A.O. who remain under the direction and protection of the physical Secret Chiefs in Europe to mystical orders that channel "Secret Chiefs" as "Astral Masters" - today's Golden Dawn community comprises greater diversity than at any previous time in history. 

As Peregrin Wildoak writes in his Preface to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls:
There are more Golden Dawn orders, groups, and magicians today then ever before and the tradition itself is in an exciting phase of development and growth.
- Peregrin Wildoak
Seekers today are able to approach Golden Dawn groups that emphasize vastly different approaches: from magical to mystical, Christian, Jewish, Egyptian, or Pagan, to Nonsectarian and Ecumenical. Despite this great diversity, all of these groups are united by common Hermetic and Rosicrucian roots, and a common base line spiritual technology to offer today's spiritual aspirants.

Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls is a volume edited by Nick Farrell and published by Kerubim Press, a publishing house belonging to Golden Dawn members, Nick Farrell and Dean Wilson. Commentaries a collaborative effort by a wonderful selection of authors from a vast cross-section of our G.D. community, each bringing forth their own unique experience and point of view. Commentaries represents a noble effort to present to the public a snap shot of the kaleidoscope of our rich G.D. diversity. 

The book is organized by the numbers of the Flying Rolls, which essentially translates into chapters, with each chapter including one or more articles commenting on the content by various authors in the Golden Dawn community. As the commentary is separate from the Flying Roll material itself, one may easily read only the original Flying Rolls to come to a unique and personal understanding of the material without the colorations of commentators.

Although many of these Flying Rolls have been previously published by Francis King in Astral Projection, Ritual Magic, and Alchemy (Aquarian Press: 1987), there are several Flying Rolls in this new collection that have not been seen in print before. Moreover, there is a great deal of valuable information to be gleaned from the commentaries themselves, based on individual research or personal magical experience of the authors.

The book contains a Table of Contents at the beginning and a short biography of each commentator at the end. In a perfect world, I would have like to have seen each commentary also listed in the table of contents together with the author to make it easier for the reader to find a particular author's articles.

In the Introduction, there are short biographies written by Nick Farrell of the various Golden Dawn Adepts who authored the original Flying Rolls. To enjoy this book, one need not agree with everything that every commentator writes. For example, in Farrell's biography of S.L. MacGregor Mathers in his Introduction to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls, Farrell writes that Mathers "developed the Second Order and its teachings by Inner Plane communication with an entity Mathers believed was the archangel Raphael and used the magical name Lux e Tenebris."

There are several problems Farrell's thesis that Mathers saw his contact with the Third Order, Frater Lux E Tenebris, as the Archangel Raphael - and that this proves that Mathers did not see the Secret Chiefs as physical persons.
  1. Mathers (in primary sources) claimed to be in contact with the Secret Chiefs both astrally and physically, so the two notions are not in any way mutually exclusive.
  2. Even if Mathers saw Frater Lux E Tenebris as the Archangel Raphael in 1888, this is long before Mathers (in primary sources) claimed to have established physical contact with the Secret Chiefs in Paris in 1891.
  3. Primary sources indicate that the notion of the Secret Chiefs as physical persons was generally accepted by various Adepts following the G.D. schism of 1903, including the founders of rival Golden Dawn offshoot orders, A.E. Waite and R.W. Felkin, who counted among Mathers' greatest critics.
For a complete analysis of these problems as well as of the weaknesses in Mr. Farrell's research methods, see my introduction to Sincerus Renatus' well researched article, On the True Nature of the Secret Chiefs, that you can read here.

As outlined above and demonstrated in detail here, there are serious problems with the historical reliability of certain of Nick Farrell's biographies in his Introduction to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Roles. Nonetheless, Nick Farrell still deserves much praise for the initiative he took to make this book a reality. As regular readers of the Golden Dawn Blog already know, the Alpha Omega has led the way for years in launching one initiative after the other to foster ever greater harmony in the Golden Dawn community.

For example, we invited every Adept from every G.D. temple and order of the entire Golden Dawn community to the 2012 International Conclave of Golden Dawn Adepti (here). This year, the 2013 International Golden Dawn Festival (here) was additionally open even to members of the outer order of every temple and order of the entire G.D. community. To foster true harmony, we deliberately chose to exclude no one.

It is therefore wonderful to observe Nick Farrell follow in the Alpha Omega's footsteps and spearhead a community effort which resulted in Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls. It is even more precious to witness such fine contributions from so many varied members of our richly diverse Golden Dawn community. 

Authors who contributed to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls each deserve much recognition and much praise. Commentaries is packed with fascinating information.

For example, there remains a persistent misunderstanding in the Golden Dawn community that Golden Dawn training should be free. This is not true, since anything of spiritual value is also of material value. Nick Farrell clears up this misunderstanding, by showing how things were done in the traditional Golden Dawn, when he writes:
"The cost of each flying roll was between 2/6 (half a crown) and 7/-. ... In a time where an average worker made £10 per year, and you could buy a reasonable sized house for £500, half a crown represented two thirds of an average workers monthly wage. Owning a full set of flying rolls would cost a Golden Dawn member about £5. If a group were to charge the same amount of money in today's terms, you would be expected to part with £1,400 [$2130] for a couple of sheets of paper...

Membership fees were half a crown [two thirds of an average worker's monthly wage] and then on top of that they had to pay for their papers, which seemed to be a similar price to the flying rolls."

- Nick Farrell
Thus, Nick puts the question of Money and the Golden Dawn to rest once and for all by making clear that in the original Golden Dawn, merely owning a complete set of flying rolls cost Golden Dawn members half a year's wage for an average worker. According to statistics published by the U.S. government, this would equate in 2012 to $21,347. On top of this came membership dues and initiation fees, and members were expected to pay for their grade documents as well.

In my opinion, it is the spirit of fraternal cooperation underlying the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls project that matters most, and the resulting book is a worthy testament to the diversity that comprises today's Golden Dawn community.

The republishing of the Golden Dawn's flying roles in yet another edition, however, also underscores the major challenge the Golden Dawn community presently faces. The greatest problem before us today is that virtually all of the 1888 Golden Dawn material already been published.

The good news is that for several years the now physical Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order have been transmitting vast quantities of supplemental Golden Dawn material that finally give our Golden Dawn community essential new teachings and spiritual practices for the first time in over a century. These materials reinvigorate the Golden Dawn from the lowest to the highest grades of the order.

For Fratres and Sorores longing for something more than the published 1888 Golden Dawn material, the supplemental teachings and spiritual practices recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs to the Golden Dawn community through the Alpha Omega are already waiting for you! As always, the Alpha Omega remains willing to share these teachings and practices with all orders and temples and their members in our Golden Dawn community.

All you have to do is knock, and the door will open for you. Why not come in out of the cold?

Here are a some original highlights from various commentators contained in Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls:

Lisa Llewellyn, from the Universal Order of the Morning Star, writes regarding Flying Roll IV:
"What is most interesting about this working [contained in Flying Roll IV] is that it is a vision of the Divine Feminine, of the Goddess. This was occurring at a time when most esoteric societies, such as Freemasons and SRIA had all male membership and spoke only of God as "He and Him." Here we have a working revealed in the words of Soror SSDD and Soror F (et R) "The Great Mother Isis, the Isis of Nature.
This was at a time when ... society was really quite patriarchal."

- Lisa Llewellyn
Frater Yechida (Dean Wilson) of the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Golden Dawn, co-owner of Kerubim Press together with Nick Farrell writes regarding Flying Roll V:
"The key to this paper is that imagination, the construction of a virtual form within the mind, is real within the appropriate realm of its existence (the astral and higher planes). It may or may not have a physical presence, but that does not diminish its reality. To the dreamer the dream is real."
- Dean Wilson
Frater YShY of Thuban Temple writes regarding Flying Roll VI:
"[The] few lines [of Flying Roll VI] actually contain one of the most useful and potent formulas in all of the RR et AC, which is to invoke the highest first in every operation. The suggestion is simple, when working with the color red, it is a symbol of Will and hence Gevurah and Mars, and one should always invoke Kether first."
- Frater YShY
Regarding Flying Roll VII, Rachel Walker, of the Order of the Golden Dawn: Collegium Spiritu Sancti, writes:
"Mathers frequently said "Invoke and Invoke often." This does not merely refer to engaging in ritual invocation, but more importantly to invoking the Divine into every activity that we may become  part of the "living tradition" of magic where every enterprise is a magical act and an expression of the Divine."
- Rachel Walker
Regarding Flying Roll IX, Soror AID, Deanna Bonds writes:
"The tree of life is a geometric glyph that represents the structure of the Universe and everything within the universe as a fractal pattern of the whole. The tree of life can be viewed as creation itself, God, man, or anything in between."
- Deanna Bonds
Regarding Flying Roll X, Samuel Scarborough of the Ordo Stella Matutina writes:
"[Apotheosis is] to raise oneself closer to the Divine, or in the case of the Magnum Opus, to unite with our Divine Self, thus becoming more divine and closer to God."
- Samuel Scarborough
 Regarding Flying Roll XI, Jayne Gibson writes:
"The magical visionary arts can lead the magician to realms of intense beauty and knowledge. The methods of skrying, travelling and rising on the planes take time to master, but there are great rewards to be had after the work is done."
- Jayne Gibson
Regarding Flying Roll XII, James French of the "Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn" writes:
"Any practical occult work that is of any use should leave the operator feeling exhilarated. ... If one is drawing on cosmic energies, as should be the case if the Adept is diligent with her practice,  the result, again, ought to be ecstatic, not draining."
- James French
Regarding Flying Roll XIII, Joseph Max of the Thelema oriented, "Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn," writes:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" ... is the most famous maxim of Thelema, and Crowley drew a clear distinction between "Will" and simple desire. The maxim does not mean simply "do what you wont," but rather to spend one's life discovering one's True Will, and following it."
- Joseph Max
Regarding Flying Roll XV, VH Soror QQDAM, member of the Magical Order of Aurora Aureae writes:
"The Golden Dawn is not a religion, nor does it purport to be. That is very clear. It is a fraternity, the common ground of which is the acceptance of the 'Hermetic ancient philosophy; as expressed in the Ritual, and Pictorial and Symbolic representations' which are given at the different stages of progress."
- VH Soror QQDAM
Regarding Flying Roll XVI, Ian Cowburn (Frater L), member of SRIS and the order of Brigita Beatica Britanniae, writes:
"As to the etymology of the word Rosicrucian, several derivations have been given. The more reasonable derivation is from rose and cross. This was undoubtedly in accordance with the notions of Andreae, who was the founder of the Order, and gave it its name, for in his writings he consistently calls it the Fraternitas Roseae Crucis, or the fraternity of the Rosy Cross."
- Ian Cowburn
Regarding Flying Roll XVII, Eric V. Sisco, member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) writes:
"In the summer of 1891, S. L. (MacGregor) Mathers, one of the founders of the Order of the Golden Dawn took a trip to Paris, and allegedly, by serendipity alone, happened to make contact with a group of Continental Adepts in the Bois de Boulogne....
...How the Cipher Manuscripts, for both the Outer and Inner Orders, managed to find their way into the hands of Wescott and Mathers respectively, remains a topic of much controversy.
- Eric V. Sisco
Regarding Flying Roll XX, Aaron Leitch writes:
"The Microcosm--Man is one the most important documents given to students of the original Golden Dawn ... It was intended as an Inner Order essay concerning the practical application of Qabalistic Psychology within the Order's system of spiritual rectification ... it is a veritable guide to the Great Work of the Adept."
- Aaron Leitch
Regarding Flying Roll XXI, VH Frater Philomancer of Thuban Temple writes:
"Advancing through the Outer Order is no small task. Every grade is a milestone, each initiation a rite of passage, until at length the initiate has conquered all obstacles through perseverance."
- VH Frater Philomancer
Regarding Flying Roll XXII, VH Frater Iaodaf Oias Vooan writes:
"We can choose to remain in blissful ignorance, or we can pursue the path of the magician. It can be our will to attach ourselves to the material plane and base our existence upon the attainment of material wealth and nothing more. Alternatively, we can study occult science, practice a system of high magic and eventually surrender our wills to the grand design."
- VH Frater Iaodaf Oias Vooan 
Regarding Flying Roll XXIII, Christopher Bradford, Frater AIT, former Alpha Omega member who left the Golden Dawn to practice Palo Mayombe following the tragic death of his son, writes:
"The inner worlds are limitless--and without structure, a vision is meaningless. Mental masturbation, instead of useful travel. Inspiration is like a bolt of lightning, and structure is the conductor enabling the transfer of its power to the magician."
- Christopher Bradford
Regarding Flying Roll XXIV, Lauren Gardner of the Ordo Stella Matutina writes:
"For those comfortable and familiar with the horary method of astrological divination, perhaps the only benefit to be gained from studying the original Flying Roll is the opportunity to note certain minutia of the technique used by members of the Order while interpreting horary charts."
- Lauren Gardner 
Regarding Flying Roll XXVI, Frater AM Olen Rush writes:
"We learn quite a few things regarding the Planets, Tattvas, and Elements through Flying Roll XXVI. One of the most significant and revealing of which is the relationship to certain Compound Elements."
- Olen Rush
Regarding Flying Roll XXVII, Frater Goya of the Circulo Iniciatico de Hermes writes:
"Although ritualistic and showy, the Golden Dawn was able, thanks to the brilliant mind of its creators, especially McGregor Mathers, to remove many of the magical techniques that were almost standard in Europe that period. The Golden Dawn was the first group imminently magical, who dismissed in its rituals any type of sacrifices involving blood."
- Frater Goya
Regarding Flying Roll XXVII, Sam Webster of the of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn writes:
"Theurgy is the core of what we do. Invocation, the assumption of God-forms, oracular possession, and working with spirits are all used in theurgy to spiritually advance the practitioner and make us 'consorts of the Gods'. Handed down through history, from Iamblichus who explained it, to Agrippa who fused it with Christianity and Kabbalah, to the Golden Dawn where it was developed into a school, this ancient stream of spiritual practice underpins all we do today."
- Sam Webster
Regarding Flying Roll XXVIII, Morgan Drake Eckstein of Bast Temple writes:
"It is not the magician who must be perfect and not concerned with the world; it is the mythical being that the Order is meant to produce, a person who is more than human, who is perfect and above worldly concerns and connections."
- Morgan Drake Eckstein
Regarding Flying Roll XXXVI, VH Frater Amoun Ra of Thuban Temple writes:
"To visualize is to project an idea in anthropolomorphic and symbolic terms to have better clarity when studying anything from Yoga to Ceremonial Magick. ... The more one spends their time developing these techniques, the more one opens their mind to receiving information from the Akashic Record."
- VH Frater Amoun Ra
Remember though, for Fratres and Sorores longing for something more than the published 1888 Golden Dawn material, the supplemental teachings and spiritual practices recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs to the Golden Dawn community through the Alpha Omega are already waiting for you! As always, the Alpha Omega remains willing to share these teachings and practices with all orders and temples and their members in our Golden Dawn community.

There is no need to leave your present temple. All you have to do is knock, and the door will open for you. Why not come in out of the cold?

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


  1. I ordered this book the day it became available and am very excited about it for several reasons. Chief amomg these, however, are two main reasons: to finally have access to the Flying Rolls that until now have never been printed, and gleam any information and inspiration possible from those who came before us; and secondly, to examine the Golden Dawn Tradition that is so dear to my heart through the lenses of the widely varied and different Orders, Schools, offshoots, and personal opinions that make up today's greater Golden Dawn Community. Hopefully this will help to show aspiring magicians and mystics alike that the Golden Dawn Community is making great strides to behave like proper fraters and sorors that share more commonalities than differences should, and show the world that the infamous infighting that so many instantly think of upon hearing the words "Golden Dawn" does not define our beautiful tapestry of Western Mystery Tradition Orders and Schools. I believe that this book, along with many other recent attempts, do a wonderful job of making this point, and sincerely hope others will feel the same way after reading it.

  2. This is a letter I wrote to Aaron Leitch as a comment on his blog:

    Care V.H. Frater Ananael,
    First off, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the Flying Rolls book! I was really excited at the prospect of a book truly authored by the “Golden Dawn Community”, and purchased the book the minute it came out. I am a bit saddened now that I have read it though, as you did not include anyone from my order, even though we make up a very large part of the Golden Dawn Community. In this new article, you write: “the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls is a book both by and for the Golden Dawn Community. If you’re a Golden Dawner, then this means you.” Yet you also write “you were not invited to participate in this book if you were A) hostile toward the Golden Dawn or other members of the community….”
    Who decides who is being hostile toward the Golden Dawn or other members of the community? Who gives them the right to make these decisions? Just who exactly are you and Nick Farrell referring to with these statements? Can you please answer these questions in a clear way for me? I am in no way trying to be hostile as I have no problem with anyone Else’s personal beliefs or the Orders they choose to join for their own personal spiritual development.
    Still, I can’t help but feel like this “hostility” exclusion is politically motivated, and purposefully exclusionary of all of the members of the rather large Golden Dawn order I belong to. I have never once been “hostile” to any other Golden Dawn Order or independent Temple, or to any Order or individual in our community at all for that matter. I certainly have not been hostile to you and the other authors of this book. Nick Farrell has accused my whole Order (without justification, in my opinion) of being hostile to the community on numerous occasions, despite the fact that his entire book “King Over the Water”, could easily be interpreted as an act of hostility by Farrell towards the Golden Dawn community, since our order is part of that community too after all!
    So again, who decides which orders are or are not part of the so-called Golden Dawn community, and who decides who is being hostile toward the Golden Dawn or other members of the community? Who gives you or Farrell the right to make these decisions?
    Remember, I am not being hostile here, but I am indeed being honest about my feelings. I feel like you and Mr. Farrell are letting the fact that you disagree with one of a certain Order’s leaders on several issues cause you to discount ALL of our Order’s members, which feels completely unfair and even disrespectful to all of the rank and file members of our order, which are a large part of the Golden Dawn community, whether you acknowledge us as such or not. Even though you deny it, from where I sit, all this still looks like just more of the same old political games, and not the “olive branch” you have presented it as.
    Having said this, despite what I see as just more politics as usual, the idea of “true” community-wide invitations is a good one. Remember, our order did not exclude either you or Frater Farrell from our recent conclaves. That you chose not to come was your own decision. You were still invited nonetheless as these were true community wide invitations. Again, I did thoroughly enjoy your articles, and all the great commentaries included in the book. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I truly look forward to reading your answers to my sincere questions. I think we can be mature about this and have a healthy discussion as fraters of the same wider Golden Dawn Community without any aggression. Again, thank you for a wonderful read!
    Frater A.T.L.V.

    1. Dear Frater A.T.L.V.,

      Thank you for your feedback. I empathize with your sadness, having received a numerous letters from other Alpha Omega members expressing similar sentiments, following my publication of this book review.

      Let me clarify a few things.

      Since Alpha Omega is philosophically nonsectarian and ecumenical, the A.O., of course, defines "The Golden Dawn Community" in an all-inclusive, nonsectarian, and ecumenical manner.

      One really beautiful thing about the nonsectarian philosophical position of the Alpha Omega is that we are all-inclusive - even of the rights of others in our community to be sectarian and exclusionary - including in the way that THEY define "The Golden Dawn Community."

      If others choose to define "The Golden Dawn Community" in a sectarian and exclusionary manner...

      That is entirely their own business - at least according to the nonsectarian philosophy of the AO.

      Others might want to think twice about the wisdom of defining "The Golden Dawn Community" in a sectarian and exclusionary manner though, as these days such a thing would be pretty transparent to everyone anyway - and would merely end up offending large parts of the community.

      What is it that the editors and publishers of "Commentaries" really intended? We have no real way of knowing. I urge you therefore to put your feelings aside and to "assume good faith" no matter what you may feel.

      Because from the Alpha Omega's nonsectarian and ecumenical point of view...

      Anything that purports to foster harmony in the Golden Dawn community deserves praise, regardless of whether or not there may or may not have been hidden agendas involved.

      I personally therefore see "Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls" as a much needed step in a very good direction.

      I hope you enjoy reading "Commentaries." I enjoyed the book very much and look forward to many more community wide initiatives in the future.

      David Griffin
      Imperator Lux ex Septentrionis, HOGD
      Chief Adept, AO

    2. Of course. You are right. To each their own. Still, I am surprised that Aaron Leitch censored my above comment from appearing on his blog. Perhaps my questions were too uncomfortable for him, who knows. I was polite, not even slightly aggressive, and only offering my honest thoughts, feelings, & very simple questions. I even said that I am a fan of the book, despite it lacking any input from our Order, and commended him for his efforts. I would ask Mr. Leitch why he did not publish my comment. He will no doubt read this. If the intention of the book was to show how well we all get along & the lack of hostility in our community, then why not answer polite & honest questions from a fellow frater of the very same community of which he speaks? I made every attempt to be fraternal about my questions, and was in no way being hostile. Quite the contrary, I even praised him for his efforts and complimented his book (which I myself bought), articles, & commentaries. As I said, to each their own, but to censor a polite and fraternal comment such as mine....well, it just feels very hypocritical to me.

    3. He is known to censor in this way. It has happened before. Just bring the debate here - it will get a lot more readers in any case.

    4. I don't know WHY the censorship took place in this instance. It in any case does not altar the fact that the book is a good one and advances the ideal of Community - even if that proves to be the self-limiting and exclusionary one we have tended see from certain writers like Farrell, Leitch, et al. They also do some good work and it is only right that they are acknowledged for that when it happens.

    5. Indeed. There is a lot of peace and simplicity to be gained here by taking the goodness that is this book and just not being too interested in what people may or may not have meant in the background. Everything that works to the benefit of the family is good stuff.

      Family members are not always kind to each other, but they are still family of course.

      Just glad this content has appeared. Good to focus on that and not lose too much time on the other stuff. We've got magick to do...


  3. IMPORTANT UPDATE: Nick Farrell just replied to academic objections to his theory that the Secret Chiefs are mere "astral masters":

    "An article in Italian peer reviewed by Italians who know nothing about the Golden Dawn for example is pretty much a chocolate teapot when it comes to "proof" of an idea. A peer reviewed journal also is always trumped by a primary source."

    I am quite pleased that Nick Farrell is finally beginning to address academic objections to his theory that the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn have always been mere "Astral Entities" instead of physical people. It merely underscores the weakness of Farrell's research methods, however, when he attempts to casually dismiss the entire history and protocol of academic discourse, peer review, and publication in respected academic journals - even insulting the integrity of the academic institutions of an entire country! - with a statement like: "An article in Italian peer reviewed by Italians who know nothing about the Golden Dawn for example is pretty much a chocolate teapot."

    The above statement makes some pretty sweeping assumptions and calls the integrity of Mr. Farrell's entire research methodology into serious question.

    If Mr. Farrell indeed has primary source evidence to support his theory, then he should once and for all produce it, as he has been invited repeatedly to do in the past (for example, here). In turn, I would be pleased to likewise produce primary source evidence that indicates precisely the contrary, namely statements by Mathers and other early Golden Dawn members indicating that the Secret Chiefs are physical beings. This would be very different than merely repeating one's theory again and again in as many different venues as possible, as though it were established historical fact, as Mr. Farrell has been doing now for years.

    1. Indeed. Do let's see this debate on proper academic grounds rather than repetition ad nauseam of unsubstantiated opinion. Farrell can do better than that.


      Nick Farrell just replied to the above:

      "The primary source where Mathers says that LeT was Raphael was first printed by Bob Gilbert in his GD Scrapbook which was later than Yeats'. As far as I am aware the letter in question is now in the British Freemason Collection. But at the time it was in the position of Bob Gilbert and is now well know amonst golden dawn researchers.... but not Yeats researchers."

      The above citation further illustrates the extreme weakness of Nick Farrell's entire historical methodology. Mr. Farrell apparently does not understand the difference between a primary and a secondary source. Even a cursory inspection of Gilbert's The Golden Dawn Scrapbook reveals that there is no primary source material reproduced there as Mr. Farrell erroneously claims. There is only Gilbert quoting from an unreferenced letter on page 37 of a book that itself has no academic peer review. And this is the "primary source" upon which Mr. Farrell's entire theory stands or falls!

      Despite Mr. Farrell's misunderstanding, no primary source material whatsoever has been produced to support Mr. Farrell's theory. Therefore, in the present absence of such evidence, Nick Farrell's entire "Astral Masters Secret Chiefs" theory must presently be considered mere wild and unfounded speculation that has been directly contradicted by a professional academic researcher in a highly respected, peer reviewed academic journal.

    3. Just to help things along a little bit....

      A primary source is a letter, a diary, speech, lecture, piece of legislation, document or manuscript-- an original source which forms the basis, with other sources, of secondary work, such as a study of life in eighteenth century Ireland. A narrative is usually a personal account, by a single individual, of a period of time or an event.

      A secondary source is based on a primary source or other sources. It includes analysis, criticism, or other intellectual input. Secondary sources can include books, book chapters, articles, especially literature reviews, and some book reviews.

      A tertiary source is commonly a resource or tool that helps people find primary or secondary sources. Tertiary sources include most bibliographies, databases and indexes, and library catalogs.

    4. Looking forward to the rigor.

    5. Like the man said:

      While I may disagree with your opinion, I will defend to the death your right to have it...

      Families take a little work sometimes.


  4. Solitary Dawn1 July 2013 03:28
    Solitary Dawn wrote:

    So wait, Mathers, Wescott and Woodman were members of SRIA. So applying the same logic, they would have been seen as Satanists then. So that would make the Golden Dawn a satanist led order as much as it is a pagan "led" order now? Ohh, what would the members of teh GD anywhere think discovering thet the very basis of the GD would be seen as Satanistic...

    1. Hi SD,

      That isn't actually the same logic though. Mathers was not playing the hypocritical game that we see today. He had no need to manipulate the GD or play take over games. Nor is Hermeticism a RELIGION - and GD has always been first and foremost a Hermetic Order. SRIA was not then, and is not now the Third Order behind the GD - if it were, then the Third Order would require a RELIGIOUS profession from all its members... how absurd! The ecumenical nature of GD is in the very roots it draws sustenance from.


    2. Hi SD,

      Important to formulate the issue precisely here.

      The issue is that the SRIA very strongly states that all Magick and Paganism is forbidden, BUT members of their leadership not only profess but actually practice both.

      Very specific point.

      All the best with your researches.


  5. SD,
    You are not getting it. We are not calling all SRIA members Satanists, just calling present leadership out on the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another.

    1. The Alpha Omega has no problem whatsoever with any member of SRICF or SRIA. We also admit and advance Christians on an equal basis with brothers and sisters of all other religious. Unlike Christian segregationist SRIA leaders, the Alpha Omega is nonsectarian and ecumanical and does not discriminate based on religion, race creed color, etc. Anyone interested in additional accurate information about the AO, should read the manifesto on our order's website at:

  6. Our favorite nonymous internet slime troll, Mitzy, is spewing froth again.

    She writes:

    "In the lifespan of the HOGD AO blog, there have around 27 posts on paganism ... of these, three were unfounded attacks on pagan writers, three were unfounded attacks on Golden Dawners."

    1. "HOGD attacks everyone" blah blah blah.

      This is the same old tired meme that SRIA leaders' sock puppets have been wheeling our for years. Don't they have any new material.

      The problem with all of these silly accusations is that when you challenge the trolls to present evidence of "attacks" the whole thing dissolves like cotton candy.

      Inevitably, what the sock puppets call attacks are actually differences of philosophical opinion.

      The sock puppets are so dogmatic that they scream bloody murder that they are being "attacked" any time that anyone challenges what they say or disagrees with them in any way.

    2. Oh, for those unfamiliar what "slime troll" means, it is a very specific concept. For clarification, please see: "A Bestiary of Internet Witch Hunt Trolls" at:

    3. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot the latest variant on this theme:

      "The entire HOGD/AO attacks the entire Golden Dawn community. They have a foreign policy like North Korea."

      Where are all of these mythical attacks?

      Translation: "How dare they disagree with us about anything?"

    4. I think it is really the sign of a HEALTHY community that we can and do disagree on MANY things. Doing so in a way that furthers our arguments without stooping to such lies and distortions is the sign of a maturing community. I hope that a few immature people will not be allowed to further damage our good name in the wider esoteric community - that helps none of us.

    5. There is really only ONE clear and undisputed ATTACKER deployed at present - and that is Mitzy. Anyone who reads these crossposts or looks at her hate blog can witness that for themselves. She is clearly not a source that can be trusted - on anything.

    6. Guess she missed these:

      Oh well....

    7. Mitzy wrote: ""The entire HOGD/AO attacks the entire Golden Dawn community. They have a foreign policy like North Korea."

      Where are all of these mythical attacks?

      Translation: "How dare they disagree with us about anything?"

      Wow Mitzy... plenty of "entires" here.

      Are you sure you are alright?

  7. Anonymous slime troll "Mitzy" writes:

    "It has also been suggested on Mr. Griffin’s blog that he and the entire HOGD AO wholeheartedly support the loony left of the pagan world in the form of Starhawk through to Z Budapest."

    1. Nope. That is not at all what anyone here has said. I have said personally, however, that Mitzy operates an anonymous page that is entirely dedicated to attacking not only the HOGD/AO Imperator, but Pagan leaders in general from Starhawk to Z.Budapest. That is merely a statement of fact.

    2. Yes. Mitzy is just distorting the facts and sticking incendiaries in her diatribe like the petty slime troll she is. Probably has only that one trick to play.

  8. Anonymous slime troll Mitzy writes:

    "The usual disingenuous prattle that fills up the comments section of that blog has yet again failed to gain any traction, other than feed the Griffin koolaid narrative."

    1. I love the way Mitzy describes a blog with nearly half a million page views as having failed to gain any traction!

      "Griffin koolaid narative?" More silliness from the SRIA leaders' sock puppets.

      Understandably, they have to keep using the same hate material over and over.

      After all, how many different ways are there you can scream "WE HATE DAVID!"?

    2. The different ways all got tired a long, long time ago. Now we are in endless repetition mode. Total breakdown in creativity. Schoolyard name calling actually has a greater variety of content.

  9. Anonymous slime troll Mitzy writes:

    "Bravo Dave, you’re a pagan leader now. You win the internet, you thickie, numpty twat."

    1. Translation: "We hate David."

      Blah, blah, blah.

    2. I am really not that sure what Mitzy is trying to achieve with all this, if anything.

      The GD family is and shall not be in conflict.

    3. Ummmm...rather think that was established a while ago, before Mitzy noticed...perhaps...

  10. Anonymous slime troll Mitzy writes:

    "Griffin’s ignorance of history"

    1. Translation: "We hate David."

      Blah, blah, blah.

    2. It is just so boring! Not all slime trolls are this boring. This Mitzy-troll just doesn't have anything substantial to say.

  11. Well anytime soon I am sure Mitzy will be able to come up with something actually substantiated.

    With actual documents, and sources, and basic on something more than speculation.

    Until then.

    We'll just wait....

  12. Sooo here are some key points about actually attaining some level of rigour...

    Historians do the following:

    A. Sourcing – analyzing the resource: Who said so? Where did this come from?
    1. Stop and source before reading!
    2. Consider a document’s attribution (the name of the author or editor and how the
    document came into being) before doing anything else:
    a. Read the headnote, if any;
    b. Look at all the source information, including date, publisher;
    c. Note the attribution, if any;
    d. Consider the genre (book, diary, newspaper, speech);
    e. Set it in historic context – time and region;
    f. Verify provenance (records documenting authenticity or history of ownership);
    g. Study the Table of Contents and Index.

    B. Contextualizing – imagining the setting, making it visual
    1. Create a picture in your head: what did the original scene look like?
    2. The available technology affects the way information is produced and delivered –
    What things were different in those days? How might that matter?
    3. Who are the others thinking and writing on this subject – the people talking about it?

    C. Corroborating – cross-checking: Who else says so?
    1. Inter-textual reading – looking for corroboration/confirmation.
    2. What do other sources say?
    3. Where would we find other perspectives on this issue? (e.g., after the destruction of
    the USS Maine, what was on the front page in Havana? in Madrid?)
    4. How does other material support, oppose, or extend your understanding of the subject?

    D. Close reading – bias, tone, implied meaning: What does it say? How does it say it?

    This may help Mitzy et al with their struggles.

  13. Also important to consider....

    We are really trying to help Mitzy et al along here...but it is also useful for us all to read with these things in mind.

    Let's be critical thinkers. Let's develop the mind of a magickian. This is the work of Mercury.

    1. Who created the source and why?
    2. Was this record created through an impulsive act, a routine transaction, or a deliberate
    process? Is it an officially-sanctioned version of the event?
    3. Did the recorder have firsthand knowledge of the event or report what others saw?
    4. Did the author participate in the event or watch from the sidelines?
    5. Are there any factors to suggest the author’s motivation for recording this event? For
    example, was he a neutral party, or did he have opinions or interests that might have
    influenced his interpretation of the events? Can you identify bias?
    6. What qualifications does the author have that would make you trust his testimony (e.g.,
    research the author's educational background, experience, previous writings.)

    Date of Publication
    1. When was the source produced/published?
    2. Was the information recorded during the event, immediately after the event, or after some
    time had passed? (Be as specific as possible about determining the amount of time
    between the event and the record.)
    3. Is this the first version or edition of this piece? (Note: later versions may be revised.)
    4. Did the author return to this event in later writings?

    Intended Purpose and Audience
    1. Was the source intended to be public or private? For example, did the recorder produce
    the source for personal use, for a specific individual, or for a wider audience?
    2. Is the author addressing a particular audience or type of audience? Is the information
    aimed at a specialized or a general audience? What evidence supports your answer?
    3. Did the recorder intend to inform or persuade others? (Make conjectures about whether
    the author intended to be objective or persuasive. For example, does he use selective
    information or choose terms that are likely to arouse emotion in the reader?)
    4. Who would be most likely to disagree with this version of events?

    Objective Reasoning
    1. Would you say this information is fact, opinion, or propaganda? (Facts can usually be
    verified; opinions, even if based on factual information, are merely the author’s
    interpretation of facts. Skilled writers can make it difficult to tell the difference.)
    2. Is the information supported by evidence or by other witnesses? Can you identify any
    errors or omissions? What might the author have omitted?

    C. Coverage
    1. Does the work update other sources, substantiate other materials you have read, or add
    new information? Have you searched for a variety of viewpoints?
    2. Double-check: Is the material primary or secondary in nature? How do you know?

    Good luck with your researches....

  14. Another SRIA leaders' sock puppet just wrote:

    "Still there are some who argue about being part of the community but at same time their discourse appears to be like they want to be the “owners” of GD."

    1. That would be "SRIA sock puppet community" talking point #7. These sock puppets are nearly as tenacious with their worn out talking points as they are disingenuous in their application.

  15. This morning Mitzy's anonymous attack page has disappeared from cyberspace this morning.

    Poof. Gone.

    It looks like the SRIA sock puppets, especially the ones who make money selling books, are finally waking up to the fact that they have been sawing off the branch they have been sitting on all along.

    Think about it.

    1. Many SRIA sock puppets love to make money selling books on the Golden Dawn.

    2. There is a very limited market for books on the Golden Dawn.

    3. Since the Alpha Omega is the world's largest Golden Dawn order, writing books attacking the A.O. merely pisses off the largest part of the market for Golden Dawn books.

    It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. I am surprised it took these guys so long to get it, but I for one am glad they did.

    No offense to the wonderful people who contributed to the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls book, but I for one will not be buying it.

    Why not? Two reasons.

    1. It was edited and published by an author who wrote two books attacking the A.O. and its founder, Mathers.

    2. It has been hyped as the proceeds going to the legal fund whose only purpose has ever been to attack the A.O. in court.

    A.O. members have a huge power by voting with their wallets. By refusing to buy books written, edited, or published by individuals who attack the A.O. in their writings, such individuals suffer for such nonsense in the place that they love most, their wallets.

    The SRIA Sock Puppet Community
    "We Make MONEY"

  16. Interestingly, Nick Farrell today posted that he would no longer describe the MOAA in GD terms. It seems odd to me that someone dedicated enough to the GD tradition to publish and edit commentaries on the Flying Rolls would separate himself and his order from the GD tradition -- at least in name.

    Among the oddities to me was that he seemed to suggest that no longer describing his order in GD terms would separate the Order from the GD egregore; I didn't think that simply re-describing the order would be sufficient for such separation: as long as the practices are still GD practices, aren't they still connected to some degree? Also, he seemed to suggest that the egregore itself was limiting and hindering magickal development, "the ghost of a long dead and dysfunctional order". I'm new enough at this to be swimming in unfamiliar waters, but this seems like a very curious set of ideas.

    If nothing else, NF seems to misunderstand the function of tradition. Tradition doesn't limit development but carries on ideals and knowledge which help to form its new developments. If he finds a vital, living tradition -- as GD magic is -- limiting, it is probably his own understanding and relationship to tradition that is the issue, not the tradition itself.

    Naturally, I am not suggesting that NF might not know what he is doing. He surely must know better than I do. And perhaps it is better that he separate himself that way, for him and for others. It's just that the announcement seemed very curious and the reasons adduced for the separation did not seem like they would justify a complete separation. I was left with the feeling that someone else must be up than what is being said. And why not work toward purifying the egregore rather than separating? I don't know... again my newness at this may be why I don't understand...