Monday, December 2, 2013

Core Golden Dawn 1: What is the True Purpose of the Golden Dawn?


with Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin

Lesson One: 

"What is the main purpose or goal...
...of the Golden Dawn System of Magic?"

"What are G.D. Magicians trying to accomplish?"

The main purpose and objective of the Golden Dawn system of Magic is the emergence into full consciousness of the Divine Spark that lies within each of us, which is stifled by contemporary education and by life experience reliant exclusively on the senses. Magicians seek to complete their energetic evolution in their lifetime, described by the Golden Dawn as:

"To become more than human!"

In the beginning, much wisdom can be gained through critical thinking about Magick; posing good questions, reflecting upon them, and at length discovering answers for one's self. Ultimately, Magick is a journey of Self-discovery. although Magickal training provides the skills needed to unleash the dormant powers of the Soul.

I invite you to begin exploring Core Golden Dawn concepts with me by reflecting upon the following questions.

What does it really mean ...

"to be human?"

What does it truly mean ...

"to become more than human?"

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  1. What an excellent pair of questions! But let me first say how much I appreciate you posing things in terms of critical thinking. While I understand that critical thinking is not an end in itself and perhaps not the most important intellectual virtue, careful reflection -- on what people claim, on the history of magic, and above all on who and what we are and are meant to be -- seems to me crucial in this work. Scanning the web as I have over the last few months, trying to find sites amenable to my own work as an independent magical practitioner who wants with all his heart to learn and understand the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian tradition(s), I confess I have not run into many places where critical thinking is valued. All too often, knee-jerk reactions and party spirit seem to rule, rather than people making the case for what and why they believe and think what they do and listening carefully and charitably to the reactions. If I may say so, AO is taking the lead once again…

    I am new to the actual practice magic and so may not understand the issues as well as others. I am however willing to take a stab at the questions. Two things seem relatively clear to me. For one, the ancient philosophers tended to see being human as something one had to become, not something one is born to. Thus when one speaks of the goal “to be human,” one is surely not meaning simply to be of the species homo sapiens: that is something we are whether we like it or not, not something normative, not something we seek. The question assumes, therefore, that one can be more or less excellent at being human. To truly be human, therefore, would be to be excellent at being human, to have the excellences that characterize being human. We might debate what those are. Those same philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics), for example, tended to see the exercise of reason (including critical thinking) as one key excellence. They would, as a group, tend to add being just, temperate, wise, prudent, emotionally balanced, and other excellences. The goal, according to the ancient philosophers, was a general “well-being” (eudaemonia) which referred to one’s spiritual, moral, intellectual, bodily, and social well-being and flourishing.

    It’s interesting to note, however (and this is my second point) that some of these philosophers – Plato above all – also seem to have had unwritten (i.e. orally communicated) doctrines, some of which were bound up with Plato’s being part of mystery traditions (e.g. Eleusinian mysteries). Not surprisingly, then, Plato and his followers spoke of there being a “divine spark” in us, something which the practice of genuine philosophy (“philosophy” in the sense of a way of life, not merely a set of ideas) and the further practice of certain unnamed practices could activate. To be “more than human,” on this account, would be not only to possess the excellence of being human, therefore, but also to make the divine spark active and alive in one’s nature. This, I take it, is what magical practice is meant to do: to activate and enliven the dormant divine spark within.

    1. Your answers show that you are carefully considering these questions. This will bear much fruit in the future. There remains a great deal to be said and a great many questions to be asked as the 10 Lessons of Core Golden Dawn unfold.

    2. Since the beggining of times,we have been,mental beings,there for,acording to be a human,one had to become (iluminated) up to the time of Jung & Sidmund f,but now,we are (psychological beings)we were first only mental extroverts,now psychological introvertsnow we could go to the deepest part of ourselfs,& find out,who we are?where we are going?,& where we came from?,,&become more than human,& find that (Spark) within.New Light 12-7-13-

    3. Dr. Jeeves, The answer your provide is quite good, yet you make a common mistake on interpreting Western Philosophy. The Greeks did not say obtaining the virtues is being human. The virtues are about excellence and “living well” as described in the word “eudaimonia.”

      According to the Greeks, to be human is to REASON. To be a good human is to reason well.

      So what does this mean "to reason well?"

    4. Today Doug Davis wrote on the Golden Dawn forum:
      "Perhaps listening to, and obeying, the "chatter" of the mind is human, while being awareness of this is more than human. I remember hearing someone say, to paraphrase, "The intellect is a wonderful slave, but a horrible master."
      Fraternally in L.V.X.,
      Frater F.D."

    5. Clearly, learning to calm and disciplline the mind are important. Becoming more than human, however, also involves the discovery of the "Divine Spark" within. What might this Divine Spark be? Or what does this really mean?

    6. Well, often the notion of reason in the ancients was actually associated with the "divine spark".

      Speaking generally, the ancients have a somewhat different notion of reason than we have nowadays, in part because the ancients saw the entire cosmos in terms of analogies, i.e. through a logic of similarity and difference that was understood to be the order of the cosmos and to express itself in the cosmos, in the various levels and gradations of being. For example, some being would be understood to be of a higher order than another, such as an animal being higher than a plant. Yet there are also similarities between the two, e.g. their both being living beings, though they are also different and of a different order. Similarly there are relationships of analogy permeating the whole of the cosmosl.

      Consequently, "reason" didn't simply mean inferences, logic, making an argument and the like, as it often does nowadays -- though these are constituents of reason too even in the ancient sense. Reason was about the contemplation of divine things, meaning the ultimate order of the universe and the analogies that permeate it.

      Still, it seems to me that the divine spark is more than simply what is expressed even in this very robust notion of reason, just as your question is suggesting. Though contemplation seems to be the core of the ancient notion of reason, magic is more than the reception and affirmation, i.e. the contemplation, of that order. It would seem rather to be an active participation in that order, as represented in, for example, the invocation of the angelic orders. The activation of the divine spark then would be an active participation in the divine order, the activation of divine or divine-like powers and capacities in the human being. That would not simply be contemplation (or "mysticism," if you like) but the exercise of divine or divine-like powers, partially activated through a cooperative and active relationship to the potency present in the cosmos.

      Hmmm...Answering the questions seem to raise more questions...

  2. Good Morning and thank you both for posting replies. My practical question comes in terms of this?
    Can we siphon off evil and the production of practical science off and away to magic. Can we become detectives of our own being and journalize building a scene, a muderproof sceen, of paper, wood frames and plastic mats. Get in contact with our proprietary past. And most of all stand fully evolved into something incandescent.
    Bonjour et merci les creaturs vivide de cette suit des arts. J'ai des prochaine questions a vous posse en francais. Et vous amis ou et vous prive. Si vous est prive quel preparation je doit addresse a pense a faire pour aquille amis en vos origanization?
    Mes Souait Scincerement, Branden Rennie.

  3. Much of the discussion of the questions surrounding Core Golden Dawn is happenning over on the Golden Dawn Forum at:

    I am crossposting here to keep the discussion in one place.

    On Dec 6 10:45 PM Adrian Cassar wrote:
    "The main purpose of the Golden Dawn and magicians is the Great Work, which is the transcendental work of the unity of the microcosmos with the macrocosmos, the human soul with the Divine Soul. This will give you freedom from the curse of samsara, being reborn again into the wheel of life.
    If magick is used for the sake to become powerful and ‘more than human’ in a sense which having ability to control elements and spirits for the sake of petty material gains, is considered black magick. This will cause an inflation of the ego, and as happened during the fall, will happen again.
    "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning...For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'"
    Isaiah 14:12-14
    Crowley quoted on black magick
    “It is like looking for an escape of gas with a lighted candle. As far as the search goes, there is little fear of failure!
    To practice black magic you have to violate every principle of science, decency, and intelligence. You must be obsessed with an insane idea of the importance of the petty object of your wretched and selfish desires.”
    In LVX

    1. Dear Skabowta,
      Intriguing questions, indeed.
      Why stop there, though?
      Ask yourself:

      What is the micro/macro cosmos?
      How can discern one from the other?
      What would “unity” look like?
      How would you know it when the two unify?
      How does a magician cause this?
      How does the magician approach this task compared to the mystic?

      What is the Western concept of “Samsara?”
      Where does this fit into magick?
      Did the Western magicians neglect this concept?
      If so, why? If not, what is their conception?
      How does it differ from the East?

      Will this “unity” make me more than human?
      In what way?
      How would I know?

      Can we gain control of the elements without practicing black magick? Why or why not?
      What is a “petty” material gain compared to a “significant” material gain? Would a “significant” material gain be “white” magick?
      Why or why not?

      Break down your questions more and more until they seem obvious to answer. Then, question even your “obvious” answer!

      Your contribution can make a big difference!

      - Imperator David Griffin

  4. Much of the discussion of the questions surrounding Core Golden Dawn is happenning over on the Golden Dawn Forum at:

    I am crossposting here to keep the discussion in one place.

    On Dec 7 11:03 AM, walter_gadsden wrote:

    "Sir, I have quick questions that I have been pondering for a while now.
    What determines how powerful or weak magic can be?
    Could it be the intention of the practitioner?
    And what of Karma?
    How can we defeat the negative and embrace the positive
    if and when a practitioner were to use magic?
    There are many more questions I have such as these, but I cannot
    think of them at the moment. Im looking to improve knowledge of self
    and enlightenment. I hope that this order, one which I will petition to join VERY soon,
    can lead me to this.
    Thank you."

    1. Another cross post from the Golden Dawn Forum:

      manafromthemuseDec 8 10:22 PM wrote:

      I am part of this group , but not yet a GD official Member. I can tell you to me what it means to be human.
      To be human is to have mastery of ones senses and the identity of ones originality. To take the tools we have as agents of Divinity and to ascend to a higher vibration of eternal Truth.
      to be more then human to me means to identify with more the the Mind and Spirit itself combine in perfect balance. It is to be free of this struggle of identity and to radiate as a vessel of Divine Essence and inspiration . to be A Magician is one who has control over all the tools set before him and the mastery of Infinity as a key . To move beyond the limitations of the descriptive worlds .both inner and outer and to be fearless of the Mystery beyond our imagination.
      To be the Fool and to dance in the wreath of Illumination .
      this to me is what it means to be More then Human
      Hu Spirit
      Man the Mind.

      Very sincerely yours,
      Mana Youngbear

    2. Dear Mana Youngbear,

      If to be human is to master the senses, what does it mean to master hearing? What is a master of touch? You need to write out each question and pursue the answers. But, add this to the end: a magician. In other words, What does it mean to master the sense of sight as a magician? How does master of sight, touch, or hearing differ with a magician than a yogi, Zen priest, or philosopher? Can the non-magician master the senses? If so, how does this mastery contribute to being human as a magician? If the magician must become “more than human,” should he or she also perfect being “merely human?” We must know what it is to be human so that we have some measure to recognize when we are being “more” than human. How do the above questions, and those you generate, contribute to this knowledge? Perform this same analysis with the concept of the identity of one’s originality.

      You conceive being more than human consists of identifying with more than the Mind and Spirit itself, but combining them in perfect balance. How can one be more than “Mind?” more than “Spirit?” How would you know if you were achieving this? What is “perfect balance?” How would you know?

      Ask similar questions about radiating as a vessel of Divine Essence and inspiration.

      What are the tools of the magician? What is infinity? How is its mastery a key? What is a “key?”

      What is it to be fearless? Is this human or more than human?

      How is one to be a Fool? What is a Fool? How would I know whether or not if I am making progress toward becoming the Fool? If I were a Fool, would I be done? Would I then be a magician? Or a mystic?

      Let us be cautious that our questions do not remain nebulous. We must break down our questions until we can answer them. After all, we seek to learn that we may serve. Learning comes through the experiences we gain through finding and then answering our questions.

      We cannot fail as long as we try and try again, without end.

      - Imperator David Griffin

    3. @ Walter

      You raise good questions which every magician asks themselves, but I think it puts the cart before the horse. Only a magician performs magick. What determines how powerful magick can be? Obviously, the magician is the most important factor. Magick uses natural and divine energy. Natural energy is finite, but beyond our comprehension. Divine energy is infinite. Therefore, magic has infinite power. How weak can it be? Inert might be the weakest possibility. But, if it is inert, is it magic or nothing? If it is nothing, it is not magic, and therefore not how weak magic can be. To have no effect is to not exist. Hmm.

      I would suggest you not try to answer your questions until they run out of them. If we attempt to create a to-do list, but stop to perform each item as we write it down, our list will not be complete. While we will appear productive, we have robbed ourselves from prioritization. The task that comes to mind may not be the one I should be doing given my limited time. We write them all down, choose the order in which to do them, and eliminate those with less value in the present. Our questions will be the same. A list of questions is a scientific to-do list.

      The reality is, good questions force us to grow. It might take years to answer one really good question. It might take an entire lifetime. It might never be answered. It doesn’t matter. It is who we become in the effort to answer it that matters.

      So, let’s take the question “What determines how powerful or weak magic can be?” for analysis.
      What is magic? What does it mean for magic to be powerful? What does it mean for magic to be weak? Is magic and ritual the same thing? Can I do “magic” without doing ritual? Can I do a ritual without doing magic? How would I know whether or not I am doing magic or ritual without the other? What would be a measure for the power of magic? What does the word “power” really mean?

      The list is long, but not infinite. Once we run out of questions, we can put them in order according to some algorithm and begin the process of trying to answer them. Say focused! The process of answering a question gives rise to many more, some relevant, some not. Write them all down and then check them to see if they contribute to answering the original question or not. If they do, pursue them. If not, put them aside for future consideration.

      A “key question” is one that gives rise to many others. Once you have discovered a key question, create a notebook, Excel spreadsheet, or mindmap to track all the questions that arise while contemplating how to answer the key question. You can never answer a key question without devising dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other questions and answering them first. The key question is the top of the wall upon which we rest the ladder and all the derivative questions are the rungs we must climb. By keeping notes and sharing them with colleagues, we create a scientific community seeking the same conclusion.

      - Imperator David Griffin

    4. If you have not gone through the process,you will never understand the work of a magician,becouse,the problem it is not of faith,but knowledge & wisdom,you do not start from the end,you start from the beginning.lets put it this way,one most be deprogramed according to get to know oneself.Xilef.01-14-14-2.52 pm.

    5. Magic is,the ability of communocating with your higher self,having become a transparent channel,no ego no personaslity works works separate,all work as one.

    6. Magic is,the ability of communocating with your higher self,having become a transparent channel,no ego no personaslity works separate,all work as one.

  5. Look,one does not become a magician over night y takes some times eons,to get to the final stage of development,in other words if you have not gone through the process,you can not become a magician in this life,your ego & your personality most be under the direction of your higherselt.a mystic uses his mind,a magician goes inside,as a psycological being he knows to be,,uses his knowledge of self,an goes deep into his subconsciousness,to tap on his colective subconsciousness,but he brings his years & years,of lernings & with a little practice,he is able to contact his higher self.Xilex 01-14 -14