Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Core Golden Dawn 4: Types of Information or Data Golden Dawn Magicians Gather

with Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin

Lesson Four:

"What sorts of information or data ...
... do Golden Dawn Magicians gather?"

Information or data collected by Golden Dawn Magicians is for their spiritual practice and is symbolical in nature. In magic, the symbol is sovereign as a unique tool to communicate with the deeper layers of the human mind, setting into motion the true spiritual life of the Magician.

With the proper choice of symbols, the Golden Dawn system of Magic suggests to the deep layers of the mind the path to take and the energies to awaken suitable for the awakening of the Divine Spark of the human being.

This data is gathered from the symbol system coagulated for centuries around the structure of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, so that it may form a unique corpus of knowledge, perfect to discover and guide the magician through the Inner Planes lying beyond the world perceived by the senses. A Magician learns these symbols, and learns to use them to enter into communication with the deep mind and to develop the energetic body.

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  1. This is, I take it, part of what Jung misses in his investigations of magic and alchemy. His valid insights include the facts that the soul has depth and is a locus of divine mysteries. But he also (1) tends to "psychologize" those mysteries as if they only have psychic significance (thus missing that the symbols not only point to the divine but activate the divine within) and (2) underrates the fact that a change in the microcosm can impact the macrocosm. Does that sound about right?

    1. Precisely. Jung found in the symbols of alchemy the perfect framework to justify his theories of personality. The sad thing about Jung's psychologization of the Hermetic tradition is that there are so many Hermetic and Golden Dawn Magicians today who believe that alchemy means little more than "growth." My blood curdles every time I hear a G.D. initiate talking about the alchemy of the G.D. grades, when in reality Hermetic Alchemy is the sublime science of MATERIAL transmutation. There are even Golden Dawn leaders who talk about "spiritual alchemy" as though it were a separate discipline. They do this as an excuse to reduce alchemy merely to intellectual analysis.

      This is all quite tragic, since Hermetic Aclhemy is even more effective than Hermetic Magic for transmuting the prima material of the physical body (lead) into a Solar body of light (gold). In ancient Egypt, Alchemy was considered as the Royal Science of Immortality.

    2. I must say, Imperator, I have been quite impressed with the neophyte curriculum. I would like to pursue getting a physical initiation with you all. I live in West Texas and would like to inquire about temples near me.

      As to the Jungian concepts and as to what he missed, in reading the grade material I was struck by the allusion to the fact that virtually everything pertaining to the practical workings is Alchemical. Am I wrong in thinking this, Imperator?

    3. Please write to admin@golden-dawn.com and we will refer you to our Alvin, Texas temple for initiation.

    4. Regarding the Jungian concepts: I'm unfortunately not an expert on alchemy but I have a pretty good idea of Jung. Jung was quite enamored of alchemy but tried to understand it like an average scholar would: i.e., just by reading it, without knowing or at least conferring with others who might understand it through the practice. Furthermore, given how well kept the secret of alchemy is, I doubt Jung would have gotten what insight he needed.

      In any case. Jung's tendency is to treat all psychic phenomena -- phenomena of the soul -- as exclusively psychic, as if the soul can be analyzed more or less purely autonomously. In contrast, traditional alchemy, at least as I understand it, has much to do with the transformation of matter, especially the matter of the body, into a new kind of body and matter. Jung never would have gotten that point, I suspect, and there is little room for anything like that in his theories.

      There is of course more to that story... e.g. problems with how Jung read, his ignorance of the kind of "blinds" in the alchemical texts, and his practice of active imagination on the alchemical images which led him to project his own theories and psychic contents onto the texts and images. But in brief, I gather what I said above is more or less at the core of the problem with the Jung's readings of alchemical texts.

  2. I would tend to agree with the above ideas of Jung if you were following his well known texts on Alchemy and the like. Given the time that he was writing he had to be very careful about how he approached such subjects. I would try to point you to lesser known papers of his such as his lecturers on 'Synchronicity'. In these works his is quite forward and open about his beliefs about how symbols in our psyche can become part of our very physics and manifest in the physical world. He called it 'An Acausal Connecting Principle'. For me these papers show that Jung did have a firm belief that alchemy was material and not just part of the psyche.

    1. Perhaps I should add that Imperator Griffin's previous post on this blog, concerning the Isinian mysteries, is relevant to this discussion.

  3. @ Anne North. I can't entirely agree with you about the change in Jung's synchronicity work. You are certainly right that the synchronicity paper (and other especially of his later papers) by Jung was an attempt to show correlations between psyche and matter and moves well beyond some of his earlier work. Further, Jung does indeed argue that symbolic realities impact the physical world, especially the body. I certainly think that's all true.

    However, at least as I understand it, the claim of the alchemists in much stronger than correlation and cause/effect; it is rather that the body can in principle be transmuted through spiritual practices. The latter is much stronger thesis, it seems to me, than that matter/body and psyche correlate and mutually impact each other.

    Even if Jung had in some measure held to that latter, stronger thesis, you are certainly right that given his caution about what to put in writing, he would not have said so: his aversion to being called a "mystic" would have restrained him.

    But be that as it may, I think it is important to see how much more radical the thesis of the alchemists is -- at least as I understand it -- than what Jung claimed and developed. The alchemists, as I understand it, did not think that the symbols were aimed only at psychological wholeness and health as Jung thought, but that, under certain circumstances, they actually were operative on the body, transmuting the matter of the body energetically and charging the body with characteristics it might not otherwise have.

    If I'm misunderstanding this difference, I hope that Imperator Griffin and/or readers of this blog will correct me.

  4. Thanks Dr Jeeves, I think my main concern here is trying to understand what it is that GD hold as important. I am just a beginner in this path. As for the discussion about Jung I remembered a passage I had read in one of his last works (which he wrote at age eighty) and I quote:
    'It is evident from this that the chemical process of the coniunctio was at the same time a psychic synthesis. Sometimes it seems as if self-knowledge brought about the union, sometimes as if the chemical process were the efficient cause. The latter alternative is decidedly the more frequent : the coniunctio takes place in the retort or, more indefinitely, in the 'natural vessel' or matrix.'
    Mysterium Coniunctionis, 'The Conjunction'

    This reads to me that Jung believed that during the process of Individuation, psychic energy (libido) creates a chemical process which brings about the physical change required for material transmutation, which occurs in the physical body. For me (and this is a subjective reasoning) this means that the physical, mental and spiritual bodies are working together, under the same laws, to bring about not just a psychological 'growth', but also spiritual and physical changes. This is what I feel Jung means by individuation (Coniunctio). I also point to Jung's alchemy work that was only published last year 'The Red Book' where he was not discussing alchemy from a psychologist viewpoint, but rather from a true symbolical transformation of the soul. I point specifically to the chapter 'God is in the egg'.

    I think I should point out that at this stage I have always questioned if Jung believed in the true idea of material transformation. In his middle age I think he was still gathering information about how the symbols of alchemy transferred to the symbols in his clients dreams - and how that could happen when his clients had no knowledge of alchemy (synchronicity). In his later life (around his 80's) he spent all his writing time observed in alchemy writing, and pointed to ideas which may indicate that he did believe chemical and psychic energy being interconnected.

    Anyway, I would like to hear other peoples ideas on this. Also I would like to question if GD tradition believes that 'the great work' can only be achieved by the hermetic traditions that they stand by. Do you believe that you can become 'More human than human' by other means. This sounds like I am being rude, but I promise it is a genuine question with much respect :) Cheers Anne

  5. Very nice post, Anne. I certainly think one can read Jung in many ways: Jung was more an intuitive than a systematic thinker and so his ideas are wide-ranging and at times incoherent.

    I would only add to what I said above that Jung frequently stated explicitly that alchemy is a projection of psychic processes onto matter. That is to say, Jung understood all the statements in alchemy concerning matter as unconscious metaphors for psychic processes. Thus, as a rule, when he does speak in chemical or physical terms -- as in your quotation above -- he usually means those statements to be read metaphorically, because he assumes from the outset that the statements about matter are actually unconscious, metaphorical statements about psyche rather than literal, conscious statements about matter..

    With that in mind, I think your reading of Jung is probably closer to the alchemists than Jung actually intended his texts to be, because you are giving the statements a physical meaning that Jung didn't intend.

  6. Thanks Dr Jeeves, again I must state that I am still unsure if I hold a bias where Jung is concerned. I really do wish to believe that he had material transformative beliefs in his alchemic theories.

    I probably should confess at this time that I have been following these Core lessons from number one, and only at lesson 4 decided to join the discussion. One thing that I wish to question is in lesson 2 Dr Jeeves and David were discussing the notion of mysticism and how it converged with modern GD teaching. Now I thought that mysticism, in the traditional sense, was a given in most areas - not independent of itself. What I mean by this was there is a mystical component of Cabbala, mystical component of enochian, mystical component of Christian Fathers and so forth. I did not think there was a separate teaching of the 'Mystical'. I guess what I am saying is that in what I have studied so far there appears to be mystical components to all faiths and that if you can pin point the 'experiential' traditions of these faiths you will come across those that have had mystical experiences.

    From my own experience and studies i thought that mysticism was not an external understanding of God, but a union or presence with God. In my brief understanding of this the mystical experience can bring about transformation, it changes our state of awareness so that you have a new way of knowing God which changes your everyday path. You act in a new way. This is not experiencing God externally, surely this is internal experience - not external. it is a direct communion with God, which brings about human transformation. Therefore there seems to be a direct convergence between magic and mysticism - we don't really control this. (not so sure about this comment - just thinking out loud!) :) When true transformation occurs, there must be some form of mysticism occurring, how would we know that the 'experience' is happening otherwise? Can you really perform magic (do this, point at this, vibrate this sound) and have no mystical experience and walk out and say 'I had no mystical experience, but I am transformed.) ?

    I also note that other GD have a healthy mystical tradition, or so I thought - 'Mystic Fire', The Rosicrucian writings of A.E. Waite have always been special to me, and I considered them to be a convergence with magic and mysticism.

    Anyway, I would really welcome other opinions. cheers anne. bb

    1. Dear Anne,
      We are here experiencing a lack of common definition. I have attempted to define both the Magickal and Mystical currents in the Golden Dawn, as where as their source of origin in numerous previous articles. Two that I fand easily now are these:
      Waitd did not argue a convergence of Magick and Mysticism. Waite repressed Magick, creating a wholely Christian mystical order in his "Fellowship of the Rosy Cross."

  7. Dear David,
    How interesting, what a can of worms! I guess what can happen is that you are solitary for a number of years and you can be innocent of the schisms and clashes that exist within a community. I think it is a good thing that I know what it is that I am searching for and that this can be all worked out before I go any further. There is of course nothing wrong with what Alpha Omega are and believe, but it is not what I am after. Having said that I do not believe that there is anything wrong with believing that the magian and the mystic can be one. I guess we just have to agree to disagree. This is a great blog, I have enjoyed many of the posts. Cheers Anne.

    1. There is the path of the Mystic and the path of the Magician. Is one better than the other? They are merely two roads that lead to the One truth. In the end, what matters is to recognize one's true nature and to follow the path best suited to it. Certainly, not all are called to Magick. For those called to Magick - we are here - and ready to make Magicians.