Saturday, February 8, 2014

Legitimate Philosophical Debate in the Golden Dawn Community

by Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin

Yesterday, I attempted to reply on a Facebook group to aspirant Desiree Finkbeiner, who was asking about the difference between various Golden Dawn orders. I entered the discussion because i had been mentioned by name, and because Sam Scarborough was making inaccurate statements about the Alpha Omega.

The ensuing discussion involving Sam Scarborough, Nick Farrell and myself was the closest thing to genuine dialogue that we have seen in many years in the Golden Dawn community. Unfortunately, today moderator Nick Farrell erased the entire discussion and banned me from the group, posting a message completely misrepresenting what I  had written and accusing me of trying to play some sort of political one upsmanship?

Why does answering questions posed by potential students the real differences between one Golden Dawn order and the other need to be viewed as a bad thing or some sort of political oneupsmanship?

Should we as a community fear open, honest discussion about the differences between our various orders? There were a lot of good insights on the thread started by Desiree Finkbeiner who just innocently asked about the differences between all these orders. In my opinion, it is a shame that the entire discussion was removed by Nick Farrell. Such behavior is unfair to Desiree and others like her who want to know and deserve to know about the real differences between us. Moreover, Mr. Farrell has again repressed any legitimate debate in the Golden Dawn community.

Are we as a community not mature enough to have an open, civil dialogue about the legitimate differences between one Golden Dawn order and the other?

Prospective students legitimately want to know what these differences are. In fact, they DESERVE to know.

ARE there no real differences? Of course there are. 

Then what is so bad about coming clean about them in a direct, civil manner.

And why does legitimate dialogue about these things have to be interpreted as some sort of schoolyard "My order is better than your order" nonsense.

I think part of the problem is that some people in the Golden Dawn community feel that Mysticism is a pejorative term when it comes to the Golden Dawn. 

It is NOT.

There is a long history of very positive Mystical tendencies in our GD community. Just look at A.E. Waite's "Fellowship of the Rosy Cross" which completely surpressed Golden Dawn Magick in favor of Christian mysticism. Is there anything "inferior" about that to Mathers "Alpha Omega"?

Of course not! They are both very important and valid schools in their own right.

In reality, all orders have some Mysticism and some Magick. In both our philosophies and our methods, however, some orders are more Mystical and others more Magickal. There is nothing wrong with this. It is merely a question of unique philosophies and methods. All GD orders do not need to be clones of one another. In reality, we frequently do have divergent philosophies and methods. 

Should we be afraid of a civil, open, and honest dialogue about these things? 

Should all such discussion be stamped out by heavy handed moderation? Do aspirants not deserve better than this of our community?

Let's see if I can't make this point clearer with a few analogies a couple of steps removed from the Golden Dawn, so that our passions perhaps no longer cloud the issue.

Below are some analogies that I hope will make this point clearer.


Would you agree that all good medical people want the health of their patients?

Would you agree all good spiritual groups want the spiritual health of their members?

Would you agree that different groups claim to be in the medical field but have different approaches to health? For example, the DC, MD, DO, and Naturopathic doctor all want a healthy patient but approach it differently?

What is different? Their philosophy of medicine? Yes. Their methods? Yes.

Are the different approaches more appropriate for different people and their ailments? Seems so.

Is there a place for each approach? Seems so.

Are all of them "wrong" except one? Doesn't seem so. Can they all be right depending on the patient? Seems so.

Is the "right" approach fully dependent upon the patient? Seems so.

Should they be very clear to the patient the positive and negative aspects of their approach for that particular patient? Seems so.

Should the medical professional make their goal, methods, and philosophy VERY clear to the patient so he or she can make an informed choice? Seems so.

Is it for the patient to decide? Ultimately.


Would you agree there are different martial arts?

Would you agree they all want the same thing? No.

Unlike medical people, who have the same goal with different methods and philosophies, martial arts can have different goals, methods, and philosophies.

Can two martial arts have the same goal but different methods? Yes.

Is one martial art superior to another? Only in respect to a particular goal.

Should the student make sure their personal goal and the goal of the martial art are the same? Yes.

Should the martial art make their goal, methods, and philosophy VERY clear to the student so he or she can make an informed choice? Seems so.


The GD collectively seems to have the same purpose. What differs between orders are our philosophies and methods. A philosophy of Magick or Mysticism is just one such example. The same methods, driven by different philosophies, creates different results. The same philosophies with different methods creates different results.

If we in the Alpha Omega are focused on "Making Magicians," it demonstrates our philosophy. This mission also informs our approach to our methods.

The Marines and the Boy Scouts both go on hiking and camping trips, but their goals, philosophies, and methods are radically different. Yet, a statement that "Marines and the Boy Scouts both go on hiking and camping trips" is misleading for one that doesn't know the difference between a Marine and a Boy Scout.

For an order to say "We seek the spiritual growth of our members" is as informative as a hospital saying "We want our patients to be healthy." It implies that other hospitals want their patients to be sick (or at least don't care if they are healthy).


So what do I mean by divergent philosophies of Magick and Mysticism in the Golden Dawn community?

Immediately following the 1903 schism, William Butler Yeats wrote an article entitled "Is the Golden Dawn to remain a Magical order?" Ever since, a chasm has emerged between those in the Golden Dawn community who gravitate more towards Mysticism and those who gravitate more towards Magick. This has created fundamental differences between one Golden Dawn order and the other, which endure in our Golden Dawn community even until today.

This is natural, since Mysticism and Magick are two quite distinct spiritual paths. The primary difference between Magick and Mysticism lies codified in the actual methods of practice, together with the Mystical or Magical inclinations of the practitioner.

The Mystical path refers to the capacity and will of the practitioner to place oneself in a passive position in relationship to eternal Being and the forces of nature, which the Practitioner begins to invoke and pray to, so they may manifest and enlighten one, thus spiritually uplifting and exalting the practitioner. 

The Magical practitioner, on the other hand, does not place him or herself in a passive state towards natural and Divine forces, but rather in a positive state. Recognizing the Divine Spark inside oneself, the practitioner actively collaborates with Eternal Being rather than waiting for its manifestations.

In Mysticism, the practitioner expects Divinity to manifest itself, and to ascend the staircase that leads from below to on high aided by the Divine hand that takes us and leads us ever upwards.

Magic does not expect this, instead conquering the Inner Planes through one's own effort rather than through Divine aid. Thus, whereas the Mystical approach is one of submission, the Magician instead is a conqueror.

A perfect example of the Magical path may be found in the Mithraic Ritual deposited in Paris, which shows one such practice of divine Ascension of the Magical initiate. While rising towards Divinity to be received like a prodigal Son or Daughter, the practitioner greets the Gods as equals that gradually appear, not fearing them or subjugating oneself before them, but admonishing them and blandishing them with Magical words that open the gates of heaven.

Whereas Magick is based on knowledge, Mysticism is based on on ignorance in the literal sense of "ignoring" or "unknowing." In fact, one of the most important mystical texts in all of Christianity, The Cloud of Unknowing, speaks of making oneself obscure, humble and ignorant before the unmanifest - to remain there, in silence, gradually emptying oneself, while waiting for something or someone (God) to come and fill the void thus created.

Thus two completely different modalities become evident. Whereas the Mystic reflects the Divine light that is poured out upon him, the Magician generates this light, becoming an emitter himself. 

The foremost exponent of the Mystical path in the Golden Dawn was Arthur Edward Waite, who completely suppressed Magick in favor of Christian Mysticism in his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross and its Inner Order, the Rosa Rossa et Aureae Crucis (Rectified Rite). Waite's Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, reconstructed in recent years and open only to Christians, today remains the most Mystical order in the Golden Dawn community.

The foremost exponent of the Magical path in the Golden Dawn was S.L. MacGregor Mathers. Mathers understood that the Golden Dawn primarily as a Magical rather than a Mystical tradition. Over time the Magical spiritual path has become more and more pronounced in Mathers' Alpha Omega. The A.O. today remains the most Magical order in the Golden Dawn community, in that we teach Ritual Magick already from Day One.

Does this mean that the Alpha Omega is the only valid Golden Dawn order. Of course not. We are just a rose among roses. We do hold a unique place in our community, however, and our philosophy and methods are best suited for certain kinds of students.

There is nothing wrong with having a philosophy and methods similar to ours in the AO. There is also nothing wrong with having a very different philosophy and methods, as does the "Fellowship of the Rosy Cross." 

There is nothing wrong with having a philosophy and methods that lie somewhere between these two extremes. After all, like I said earlier, all esoteric orders have some Mysticism and some Magick.

I urge the leaders of all Golden Dawn orders to begin to set forth their own unique philosophies and to be transparent and forthcoming about the spiritual methods that they actually teach.

Aspirants like Desiree Finkbeiner, who had her legitimate questions unfairly erased by moderation, HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW.


  1. It seems to me that you make your points very clearly and that they are on target. Even in the brief six or seven months that I have been a part of these various fora and websites, reading and trying to understand the differences among the groups, I have seen more or less exactly what you describe. I also do not see why those differences cannot be talked about or made explicit.

    I think this highlights the need for magickal critical thinking, which you have been emphasizing these last few months. Even the comments Nick Farrell put up afterward are petty ad hominem complaints rather than well thought-out replies. Intellectual flabbiness of that kind is not beneficial to our GD orders. Nor are primitive, unacknowledged power complexes, which result in the high school playground mentality you highlight.

    Personally, I can't understand why there is a fear of difference, why the validity of both magick and mysticism and the equal validity of different mixtures of each of the two can't simply be acknowledged and appreciated, or why intense, lively discussion is seen as a problem. Such discussions are where insights are gained, not only about others but about oneself. What could be wrong with that?

  2. I was following the discussion as well. I am disappointed that the thread was removed. Many new aspirants like myself are sincerely interested in knowing the differences between different Orders. Bickering will only serve to alienate potential newbies such as myself. I hope all parties can put aside their egos and move towards unity. I believe there is a perfect place for everyone. We can all be a part of this great work.


  3. "In Mysticism, the practitioner expects Divinity to manifest itself, and to ascend the staircase that leads from below to on high aided by the Divine hand that takes us and leads us ever upwards."

    Dear David,

    In this spirit of bona fide and open dialogue I would like to know your unbiased opinion about certain classes of mystical phenomena and their relationship, if any, with the so called "automatic writing" or spiritism which, if I am not mistaken, is not admitted in the Golden Dawn tradition, just like in Christianity.

    You've written before We do not need prophets. and are also a self-proclaimed pagan.

    There has been in recent years a number of apparitions or mystical manifestations in Christian circles. I refer some of them here:

    True Life in God
    Our Lady Queen of Peace, in Anguera, Brazil
    Directions for Our Times, Ireland

    There are also a number of others, such as Medjugorje. I heard there are about 300 documented apparitins all over the world.

    In Christian circles they are often contested and rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities because they fear that such apparitions or mystical phenomena are the object of "automatic writing" and, therefore, demonic manifestations, or manifestations of the seer's unconscious, etc.

    However, all of these seers have something in common. They were not actively looking for any kind of manifestation, such as spiritism and other low spiritualities and rites. They are just lay people who were out of nothing, say, "approached" by the Godhead or started to receive such mystical manifestations.

    Mostly they are messages of conversion, repentance, peace, unity, etc. I myself have read TLIG messages almost twice and I believe they are of divine source, even though God does respect and sort of adapts Himself to the seer's unique personality and humanity. So I think that, for instance, Vassula Rydén is a prophet in the Christian sense of the word. TLIG messagens convey great inner peace to the reader. In the same sense thinks the Cardinal who reviewed them for the Catholic Church: As well some theologians who accompany her: The Uniqueness of the Spirituality of True Life in God

  4. (Continued)
    Directions for Our Times is from an Irish mystic called Anne: Although I have not read the messages, I did read some excerpts and I feel like they convey the same spirit of inner peace as TLIG messages do, which is sort of indicative they are from the same Godhead (in this case personified in Jesus Christ).

    I am not so familiar with the messages of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Anguera, Brazil and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. But I have read some excerpts of both and although Medjugorje conveys inner peace, they seem to be quite repetitive, and the manifestation of Anguera has a lot of prophetic warnings of tragic future events for the Church and the world, which end up conveying a feeling of anguish. I wonder, for instance, if this is a reflection of the seer's inner state. Anyway I have cross referenced some of the prophetic warnings looking for convergences among different sources in this document: The Signs of the Times - A Compilation of Today's Prophecies. I believe that many of these prophetic warnings do refer to real events and in fact some of them are quite clear and to be in the process of coming true already.

    Here you can see some footage of the seers receiving the mystical manifestations:

    Vassula Rydén video footage
    Note: here you can the original handwritten notebooks: and an analysis by a Catholic exorcist: She also makes a complete description of her mystical experience and mission in her book Heaven Is Real But So is Hell warning of a great chastisement of fire if God's warnings are not heeded. See for instance, this message: My Father will reveal His Mighty Hand to the poor, but to the apostates and to the Rebel, a hurricane of fire from the east will scorch them because of all the filthy things they have done .....

    Now you can compare with:
    Medjugorje and

    These apparitions and manifestations have multiplied in recent years and most ecclesiastical authrorities feel alarmed by them, fearing that they are "demonic" manifestations. Actually this is part of their fear of everything that is supernatural, as if the foundation of Christianity was not on prophets. See: What Is The Spring Of Yahweh?. However, TLIG messages, for instance, warn of satan sending many false prophets to confuse the faithful: And then there are the critics who are argue that it's all a product of either their unconscious or automatic writing.

    However, I myself having read TLIG almost twice, I am quite convinced that it cannot be just a psychological phenomenon. It's just not possible. It's a spiritual one. On the other hand, none of the seers seem to be in some kind of induced trance or passive channelling such as in spiritism and other low spiritualities.

    As the Godhead addresses even pagans in TLIG messages ( I would like to know your unbiased view on this mystical phenomena, in a spirit of bona fide dialogue. Thanks.

    Note: I do not think you're a satanist. :)