Saturday, December 25, 2010

Flame War or Peace on Earth?

In an article entitled: "Is David Griffin the King of Witches?", Morgan Eckstein today rekindled the decades old, Golden Dawn flame war, writing:
"For those of you who do not know David Griffin, perhaps some context is in order. Griffin's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn big claim to fame is that they claim that they to be the only legitimate Alpha and Omega group in the world, the only living successor to Mather's original Order, and the only Golden Dawn Order in the world to have contact with the original Third (Secret) Order that provided instructions to Mathers. 
Griffin collects old documents and lineages like I collect cats. 
Now, I will admit that my biggest problem with Griffin is the simple fact that if you go by the rules of the 1999 reformation that I am no longer an Adept. The 1999 reformation that Griffin's Order declared stripped every existing Adept of their Grade. The only way to regain your Adept Grade? Simple, join Griffin's Order."
Season's Greetings to you too, VH Frater Morgan!

I had hoped that the internet flame war that has decimated our Golden Dawn community for nearly two decades was dead and buried once and for all by now.

Let us all hope your new flame article is merely an isolated incident and does not signal the beginning of yet another decade of non-stop, daily attacks on the HOGD/AO, its leaders, and its members on a vast array of fora, websites, and blogs belonging to leaders of other Golden Dawn orders, combined with extremely nasty lies about our order and its leaders published simultaneously on tandem "anonymous" websites and blogs. You will recall that this has been the case for many years over the last two decades.

Thankfully, rank and file members of every Golden Dawn order and temple realized how badly the Internet Feud harmed our entire Golden Dawn community and let their leaders know how fed up they were with it. I have no doubt that the good brothers and sisters of the Bast temple in Denver share this sentiment with their brothers and sisters in the HOGD/AO as well.

I am deeply grateful to Golden Dawn members around the world for letting their leaders know they do not approve of flame war on the internet, deliberate misrepresentations about other Golden Dawn orders, nor attacks on their leaders on the internet. I personally have far better things to do with my time than refuting - over and over - the same bottomless sacks of misrepresentation about our order.
In the interest of continuing peace and harmony in our Golden Dawn community, I am taking time away from my family today to nip this nonsense in the bud and to set the record straight yet once again.
To begin with, the HOGD/AO recognizes that there exist today a vast array of Golden Dawn orders and temples, most of which are based on the Golden Dawn material published by Israel Regardie. Many of these orders have evolved in their own, unique direction. Certain Golden Dawn orders strive to be more like Freemasonic Rosicrucian bodies like the SRIA. Others have developed in a Thelemic direction and yet others like the EOGD in a decidedly New Age direction.

I personally have learned over the years that such diversity in our Golden Dawn community is a very good thing - as it gives people more choices. Our order, the HOGD/AO is on record - over and over - as officially embracing this diversity.

In the same vein, the GH Chiefs of the HOGD/AO have likewise further developed the HOGD/AO curriculum in a uniquely Hermetic and Rosicrucian direction. We indeed reformed the HOGD/AO in 1999 in order to better meet what we understood as the needs of GD aspirants in the 21st Century. Yes, we do now teach our initiates ritual magick from day 1 instead of making them wait until the Second Order any longer. We also indeed teach and initiate today in the entire Golden Dawn system all the way up the entire Tree of Life. It is also even true that beyond the published Regardie material, our order teaches advanced ritual magick, Hermetic alchemy, and Hermetic Internal alchemy as a path of energetic evolution in the higher Grades of our order, beginning with the 5=6, Adeptus Minor grade.
It is utter nonsense that our order has somehow stripped you of your Golden Dawn grades or in any way deprived you of your status as a Golden Dawn Adept. Your claim that the only way you can get your grades back is to join our order is utter poppycock. Even your suggestion that the HOGD/AO somehow claims exclusive access to the teachings of Hermetic Internal alchemy is both patently false and deliberately misrepresentative. 
We have stated - over and over that - although we do initiate in these sublime Hermetic and Rosicrucian teachings - we certainly have no exclusive access to them. There are numerous other esoteric schools like our own - although most others until present remain more occulted than we.

The truth is, Morgan, that our order has made great efforts - over and over for years now - to foster and maintain peace and harmony in our Golden Dawn community. The only things we do, in fact, object to are fraud, exploitation, or public deception under the banners of the Golden Dawn. I have no doubt that the brothers and sisters of the Bast temple agree with us that these things should not be happening.

Morgan, I personally enjoy many of the fine articles on your blog. You have a great sense of humor and are an excellent writer. It is, however, high time that you begin to extend the same courtesy and respect to the good members of the HOGD/AO that we extend to you and the members of the Bast temple.

As a Pagan, you certainly ought to understand what extremely bad form it is considered in the Pagan community, for one Pagan tradition to attack or badmouth another. In my opinion, the various temples and orders in Golden Dawn community ought to adopt this convention as well. Our Golden Dawn community certainly could the benefit from this wisdom.

It is in this spirit that I close this letter by extending Season's Greetings to our Golden Dawn brothers and sisters in the Bast temple as well as in all other Golden Dawn temples and orders around the world.

May we each - severally and individually - redouble our resolve and efforts to foster and maintain fraternal harmony and brotherly love in the Golden Dawn community as we enter the second decade of a new Millennium!

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis (David Griffin)
Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
"Ex Deo Nascimur.
In Yeheshua Morimur.
Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trials of the Moon Book Review: A New Witch War?

We in the Golden Dawn community are no strangers to flame war. The decade long periodical eruption of Golden Dawn flame war has gone far to destroy the reputation of our venerable tradition in the greater magical community.

Thankfully, this situation has improved greatly in our community, thanks to fine bloggers like VH Frater SR, H Frater AIT, and VH Soror FSO, whose fine and frequently well researched articles have raised the tone of scholarly discourse in our community to a level never witnessed before.

Sadly, events of the past week have shown that the Pagan community is not immune to flame war either, where the sort of propaganda war that we have witnessed being waged against one Golden Dawn order or the other, is now being waged clandestinely against Pagan scholar, Ben Whitmore.

For over a decade, Professor Ronald Hutton's study on the history of Wicca, Triumph of the Moon, has been considered by most Pagan scholars to have closed the book on the issue of the survival of elements of Paganism from Pagan antiquity. This has led to most Pagans defining themselves as "Neo"-Pagan, and the pervasive belief that the entire modern Pagan movement is based on mere reconstruction.

A new book has recently appeared, Trials of the Moon, by Ben Whitmore, that has reopened the case. Subsequent buzz in the blogosphere has made it clear that many Pagans are highly sensitive to these issues, and that even respected scholars are not immune to resorting to flame war tactics when cherished beliefs are called into question.

On The Witching Hour blog, for example, blogger "Peg" recently pretended to write a scholarly review of "Trials of the Moon", using flame war techniques to attempt to undermine Whitmore's credibility as an author. While completely ignoring the quite copious and well documented evidence that Whitmore presents, Peg writes:
"Whitmore is not an historian, nor even an academic. And this shows in his failure to observe the most rudimentary rules of objectivity and neutrality of stance."
I responded, commenting on her blog, exposing the flame war rhetorical tactics she was using and outlining my own objections to certain holes in Hutton's scholarship. Predictably, my comment was censored, underscoring that The Witching Hour review is not a serious critique of Whitmore's study, but merely the opening salvo in flame war designed to undermine Whitmore's credibility as an author and thereby suppress uncomfortable revelations about the holes in Professor Hutton's scholarship in "The Triumph of the Moon." 

This new-born flame war further escalated when respected Pagan scholar, Chas Clifton, quoted from "The Witching Hour" article, then added:
"Another example of [Unverifiable Personal Gnosis] UPG-fueld writing appears to be a book called Trials of the Moon, which purports to challenge Ronald Hutton’s historical books on Paganism without, y’know, actually having to do the depth of research that he does.
It’s sort of like wanting to bat against the San Francisco Giant Tim Lincecum’s pitching but demanding that you get to keep swinging and swinging until you hit one over the fence—none of that “three strikes and you’re out” stuff.
Some people like it even while admitting that it “offers no alternate theory or proposes any possible history” for Wicca."
One might consider Clifton's remarks as based merely on ignorance of the actual contents of Whitmore's study. It is, in any case, clear that Clifton has not actually read "Trials of he Moon." Whitmore is quite transparent that he is not an academic, but the evidence he presents clearly demonstrates nonetheless how Professor Hutton reached unsupported conclusions in "The Triumph of the Moon" and frequently even misquoted and misrepresented his sources. 

No, Whitmore does not present an alternative history, nor does he even try to. What he does do - is to conclusively demonstrate that the case for the survival of elements of Paganism from antiquity is far from closed, and that Professor Hutton has not at all closed the book on this as Pagan scholars have believed for nearly a decade. Moreover, contrary to what is misstated on both The Witching Hour and Chas Clifton's blogs, Whitmore clearly has done (and well documented) his research.

Sadly, I must also mention that on his blog, Chas Clifton likewise censored my rather innocuous defense of Whitmore's study in response to Clifton's rather uninformed remarks and having given "The Witching Hour" hack job undue attention. Thus, I can only conclude that we now have a full scale Witch War on our hands, where even well-respected Pagan scholars are stooping to flame war tactics (like cherry picking comments that represent only one side of a discussion) in order not to deal with uncomfortable new developments in Pagan scholarship.

In conclusion, my own criticism of Professor Hutton's study lies not in that it some sort of "evil" attack on cherished Pagan myths, but rather that Hutton's study is fatally flawed. Far too frequently, Dr. Hutton plays anthropologist, although he is not trained as an anthropologist nor does he even attempt to use the ethnographic method. Moreover, as Mr. Whitmore has demonstrated, Hutton frequently misquotes and misrepresents his sources. Finally, Professor Hutton makes sweeping, speculative generalizations completely outside of the stated geographic region of his study as, for example, in Hutton's completely unqualified remarks about C.G. Leland and the origins of Stregheria in Italy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DEBATE: Is "Astral" Initiation a Scam?

In a new blog today GH Frater P.D.R. (Robert Zink) of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn today wrote:
"Have you ever wondered why one particular Order ... refer[s] to astral initiation as dangerous ..."
On the same subject, Frater Zink has elsewhere written:
"Calling Astral Initiation a Scam May Be The Greatest Scam of All."
As I have already stated on numerous occasions, I have no objection whatsoever to Robert Zink abandoning the traditional curriculum of the classical Golden Dawn in favor of New Age teachings and techniques. This is his own business and diversity in the Golden Dawn community is a good thing.

Mr. Zink is welcome to use New Age channeling for Secret Chiefs, spirit guides, or whatever Mr. Zink likes to call them. He is even welcome to sell to his order members (as he does) all of the "New Age Psychic Readings" and "24 Strand DNA activations" and so forth, that he likes. Our order, the HOGD/AO, however, will stick to teaching and practicing traditional Hermetic and Rosucrucian ritual magick and alchemy instead.

Robert Zink claims that the New Age "Astral Initiation" he sells on the internet is as good as the traditional, physical Golden Dawn initiation he seeks to replace with it. Mr. Zink has, however, so far failed to provide any historical evidence whatsoever to back up the above claims, despite challenges for proof from scholars across the entire spectrum of the Golden Dawn community.

Let us therefore examine this question by looking at what various individuals from a cross section of the Golden Dawn community have said in this matter. For example, Golden Dawn scholar, Samuel Scarborough, writes:
"I think of myself as something of a scholar on the GD as well as a serious student of the GD system. The same can be said for Nick Farrell or Imhotep, or several others that say that these astral initiations are not verifiable, nor were they done in the original GD or AO or SM after the 1903 Schism in the regular sense. There is no evidence for “astral” or long-distance initiation from those orginal bodies.

I disagree with certain groups that claim that these astral (long-distance) initiations were commonplace within the original Golden Dawn. I have never seen the evidence to support the claim. Nor can I think that Westcott, Woodman, and Mathers received some astral initiation as founders of the GD in the first place."
Noted magical author, Nick Farrell (Chief Adept of the Magical Order of Aurora Aurorae), writes:
"If astral initiation was used within the GD there would be some evidence of it... If an astral initiation was taking place then where and when and why did it not leave a trace of paperwork? There are no records of astral initiations being performed, nor any members who are identified as being part of the GD who had their initiations astrally recorded. Nor is there any mention of the procedure being used in the various editions of by-laws, nor any diary notes from anyone saying that they had taken part in an astral initiation. While we have access to many different GD rituals, there are no recorded instructions for how to perform one."
Robert Zink argues that those who criticize Astral Initiation do not understand that all magick takes place on the Astral Plane:
"Virtually everything that takes place in the Hall of the Neophyte is based in the spiritual/astral current, we can only conclude that calling groups who provide Astral Initiation a scam or dangerous is simply another negative marketing ploy."
On Nick Farrell's blog, however, "Magician" addresses this claim:
"The discussion isn’t about whether or not magic can work at long distance. The discussion is about if initiation ceremonies can work long distance where there is no way to infuse the physical symbols into the aspirant’s sphere of sensation."
Nick Farrell, moreover adds:
"It really depends on what you mean. Physical initiations do have an astral component. But if you mean do I think it is possible for someone to initiate you into the 0=0 grade of the Golden Dawn without you being there I would say that it is unlikely."
No one is disputing that there is an astral component to both initiation and magick. However, what Robert Zink does not understand is that this astral element is rooted in the physical body. Robert Zink reaches a completely erroneous conclusion that, merely because an astral component is there in initiation, he can make you a "full Golden Dawn initiate from the comfort of your armchair on the other end of the world."

Robert Zink also alleges that Astral Initiation accomplishes everything that traditional, physical Golden Dawn initiation does. This clearly illustrates that Robert Zink (who was never initiated himself) does not truly understand traditional Golden Dawn initiation. For example, one key element in true Golden Dawn initiation is the impression on the psyche of the candidate of the n symbols physically presented during the ritual. For example, on Nick Farrell's blog, "Poimandres" writes.
"EOGD always argues that and Initiation is not Theatre and is all about the astral (forgetting, as you say, the importance of basic psycological and emotional impact!)? Well, actually, ancient Drama copmes directly from the Dyonisian and Eleusinian Mysteries, and Tragic Festivals continued to a sacred ceremony and a sacred experience for the Athenians, which is, actually comparable to intiation ceremonies (especially masonic high degrees where only a few of the candidates participate, and most are just onlookers!).

I bet no one in ancient Greece could say that if the director mentions the name of an Athenian citizen that was out of town, before the perfomance of a Tragedy, would ‘astrally” experience the awe and pity that the tragedy inspired, and the psycologically healthy Catharthic effect of actually seeing the sacred perfomance!"
Nick Farrell adds in this regard:
"A physical initiation is an intensely emotional experience with physical and emotional reactions that have a deep impact on the person. For an initiation to have any impact, such a person should be able to feel something, if not at the immediate time, but in their dreams immediately afterwards. However the reports of people who have undergone astral initiations ... have been extremely nebulous or non-existent (or) have included comments which were so nebulous that they are more likely to be psychosomatic or wish-self-fulfillment."
Samuel Scarborough adds:
"Does long-distance (astral) initiation work? Well, I would say that at best it would be dubious... My concern, and most whom disagree with long-distance initiation, is that there is no way to verify that the person being initiated is actually receiving the energy due to the gap between the initiating body and the candidate."
Robert Zink also claims that "Astral" Initiation helps those who would otherwise not be able to contact the spirit of the order. To this Nick Farrell responds:
"So finally we come to (the) point ... that (Astral initiation allegedly) provides a person with a connection to a working group that they would not otherwise had. This is clearly true, but in my opinion any link would appear to be administrative rather than spiritual. A real initiation takes place when the person is ready."
Finally, let us address the question of whether or not Astral initiation is actually a "scam." In recent years, EOGD management has been increasingly criticized for this. For example, on Nick Farrell's aforementioned blog, "KM" wrote:
"I joined the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn on August 2nd, 2005. Thing is, a month went by and I received nothing from them in the mail and no further emails with a password or the rest. I called the Temple numerous times, leaving messages for someone to get back to me ... with no response whatsoever. It seems to me that this order is guilty of internet fraud, if nothing else, so I cannot recommend them to anyone interested in studying with a mystery school."
Sadly, KM is not alone in feeling they were "scammed" by EOGD management, as becomes clear in the below video, published on YouTube by user, "baphomet257":

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Roots of Modern Paganism Debate II

This new article continues the debate regarding the antiquity of the roots of modern Paganism from the comments section of my previous article. I am replying to Peregrin with this new article as the issues raised by Peregrin require a somewhat lengthy reply.

Peregrin writes:
Hello again,
Sorry if I do not have the energy or time to really go into this. I have done all this before and do not wish to go over it too much. Some stuff is on MOTO, most was years back and not on-line. This is why I ask folk to do their own research.
Just a few points then.
As Pallas says (thank you) I am referring to some not all.
Of course Pagan does not equal Wicca. However, there is no physical EVIDENCE to suggest paganism remained a viable RELIGIOUS path in Europe up to the 20th century.
Of course there were and are pagan survivals; customs, deity prayers, conflation with Christian saints etc. No one disputes this. What I am saying is that there is no evidence that these survivals existed as a religious alternative to Christianity as a full religious tradition. Sadly Christianity subsumed or killed most of these traditions. Folk magical practices, awareness of deities at wells etc do not a religion make, especially when most of the folk doing this named themselves Christians and would attend Christian churches.
Hutton never asserts beyond England and I speculate based on physical evidence.
The leaders of most neo-pagan traditions that became visible in the 60s and 70s had some contact or training with Wicca. Whilst not Wiccan, many from that time drew from Wicca. It is only from the 80s and 90s that we see Pagan reconstructionism consciously forming itself apart from (and sometimes in opposition to) Wicca.
As for your suggestion that unknown pagan activity may have been happening, it really matters little. We can only judge by the evidence. There may have been a secret cult of the Easter Bunny or the Intestine of Judas…if we cannot see evidence of it, we do not know.
To assert or believe something without evidence requires a level of base faith. This I think is inappropriate in mature religion and certainly has no place, to my mind, in the esoteric traditions. We do not accept literal interpretations of scripture without evidence. I see no reason to accept interpretations of Europe’s pagan past without evidence also.
And while my ego appreciates being described as a Christian apologetic, this is really beyond my field of expertise.
Thanks :)
I frankly don't see how this discussion can continue with any seriousness as long as Peregrin  merely ignores all presented evidence (like about Hutton's proclamations on Leland and Italy covered in my previous comments) and instead merely repeats his talking points over and over, propaganda style. Peregrin's new assertion that "Hutton never asserts beyond England" is so factually inaccurate as to beg the question whether Peregrin has actually even read Hutton himself.

Admittedly, Hutton's evidence is rather convincing that today’s Wicca is largely a reinvention. Numerous of Hutton’s subsidiary claims are not nearly as convincing, however. This may suit true Neopagans, who feel no strong ties to the past, but it disenfranchises many other Pagans who feel kinship and connection with antiquity.

Peregrin writes:

"What I am saying is that there is no evidence that these survivals existed as a religious alternative to Christianity as a full religious tradition. Sadly Christianity subsumed or killed most of these traditions. Folk magical practices, awareness of deities at wells etc do not a religion make, especially when most of the folk doing this named themselves Christians and would attend Christian churches."

In this assertion, Peregrin yet once again parrots Hutton. For Hutton, "these people had signalled their conversion to Christianity by the adoption of Christian worship and customs, and Hutton maintains that in so doing, they necessarily abandoned the old gods: one cannot be both Christian and Pagan. Such an assumption of mutual exclusivity is a very important one, as it underpins many of Hutton's arguments and effectively circumvents whole areas of inquiry. It is also a simplistic idea locked in a monotheistic mindset: from a more polytheistic and syncretic paradigm such as that of our European ancestors it was quite feasible to accommodate the new Christian God into an existing pantheon without invalidating the older deities."

Peregrin follows Hutton as well here in defining "religion" in such a narrow manner as to render any possible evidence as moot, although neither Peregrin nor Hutton provide any real evidence to the contrary either. I am not claiming the existence of a massive, organized Pagan resistance movement like Margaret Murray suggested. But for Peregrin and Hutton to deny the existence of ANY evidence of the survival of pagan religious practice is a much bolder claim not born out by the relevant facts.

On the contrary:
"the survival of pre-Christian belief systems and their contribution to the diabolized stereotype of witchcraft in the Early Modern era has become widely accepted in the field of witchcraft history. It has been amply demonstrated by a whole school of well respected historians, including Éva Pócs, Gustav Henningsen, Carlo Ginzburg, Gábor Klaniczay, Wolfgang Behringer and Juhan Kahk (studying witchcraft in Hungary, Sicily, Italy, Eastern Europe, Bavaria and Estonia, respectively), and other luminaries. What these authors have established is that beliefs about magic followed remarkably consistent, well-developed patterns throughout Europe, and that while they operated within the social framework of Christianity they were anything but Christian in origin."
Moreover, Ethnologist João de Pina-Cabral has also examined the problem of Pagan religious survival in detail and concluded that certain ancient Pagan beliefs and practices have had an “uncanny capacity for survival.” The survival of ancient Pagan beliefs and practices are additionally substantiated in Carlo Ginzburg’s Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath.

In an earlier comment, I questioned what the underlying, personal motivations could possibly for Dr. Ronald Hutton to go to such extremes. Large sections of Triumph of the Moon — entire chapters, even — are one-sided, misleading, or plain wrong. Many of Hutton's sources are misrepresented, and for a surprising number of his claims he provides no evidence at all.

Dr. Ronald Hutton
Ronald Hutton was born at Ootacamund in India to a colonial family of Russian ancestry. His mother considered herself to be a "Pagan." Could it be that the vehemence with which Hutton approaches the roots of Paganism in antiquity arises from little more than Hutton's misplaced feelings about his Mother and her religion?

Peregrin next argues that occulted Pagan activity "does not matter," since we can only judge by evidence we can see. This argument betrays the inappropriateness of applying historical method to matters occult or esoteric, wherein the only admissible evidence is the extremely limited written information available to the profane historian - themselves not privy to the initiatic mysteries. By this narrow definition, no initiatic tradition nor secret mystery school may today even be said to exist, due to their very nature as rooted in secrecy!

According to such narrow standards, the esoteric teachings of the Cromlech temple, for example, could not have been said to exist as long as they remained occulted behind initiatic secrecy.

Peregrin's Act of Desecration
Peregrin himself changed this, however, by personally desecrating the Aura papers of the Golden Dawn spin-off, Cromlech Temple's Sun Order, by publishing them without the permission of the surviving Chiefs of that temple.

It is therefore unsurprising to witness Peregrin today apply this same "profanation standard" to initiatic mysteries of Pagan religion as well!

I am certainly not an advocate of blind faith, as Peregrin would like to paint me as. I do however, believe that neither Pagans nor Neo-Pagans should allow academic historians to define our faith for us, especially in light of the depth of lack of academic integrity we have already witnessed ...

... And certainly we should not desecrate initiatic mysteries, merely to satisfy demands for evidence in arenas in which the only evidence acceptable to the historical method is by its very nature precluded for the profane historian as well as for the desecrator of mysteries.

- David Griffin

Friday, November 5, 2010

Urban Legends: Neo-Pagans & Golden Dawn Forgeries - Answer to Ronald Hutton and Ellic Howe

I am saddened at the way certain historical notions are so easily swallowed by the esoteric community and so effortlessly give birth to harmful and enduring urban legends. All too often, such fables are engendered merely because someone considered to be an academic authority publishes a text based on personal bias, substantiated with what scant evidence they, as non-initiates, are permitted access.

One example of such a harmful myth created by an uncritical reliance on academic authority is the prevalent belief that the Golden Dawn is based on a "forgery." This urban legend arose due to an credulous reliance on the authority of Ellic Howe, whose otherwise fine history of the Golden Dawn is marred by Howe's intense personal dislike of the order. The destructive myth arising from Howe's biased theory that the foundational "Sprengel" letters written to W.Wynn Wescott were forgeries, in reality has been substantiated by nothing more than the so-called, "expert" testimony of Oscar Schlag, a Swiss Thelemite who, like Crowley himself, was out to destroy the Golden Dawn.

Golden Dawn Senior Adept, Dr. Robert Word (of the August Order of the Mystic Rose), recently submitted the Sprengel-Wescott letters for independent examination to a truly objective, professional Germanist. Her results verify the Sprengel-Wescott letters not to have been forged by a native English speaker as both Howe and Schag erroneously and misleadingly claim. The letters instead appear written in completely correct Sutterline German entirely consistent with the period. As a trained Germanist myself, I subsequently submitted these letters to personal scrutiny as well. Admittedly, my personal findings can in no way be considered unbiased, due to the key leadership role I play in the contemporary Golden Dawn. Nonetheless, I have been trained as Germanist for over 30 years and - contrary to the enduring urban legend - I also judge these letters to be authentic.

And yet, the myth that the Golden Dawn is based on a "forgery" tenaciously persists until today, among all but those who have actually bothered to investigate the matter for themselves!

Another such urban legend is the prevalent belief in the modern Pagan movement that no Western Pagan religion has survived from antiquity, and consequently that ALL contemporary Pagan religion is but modern revival, with no historical roots. This belief has resulted in many contemporary Pagans mistakingly identifying themselves as "Neo"-Pagans, and has tragically cut off the modern Pagan movement from its historical roots in antiquity.

This destructive myth has become entrenched in the Pagan community in large part due to an uncritical reliance on the authority of Dr. Ronald Hutton's book, "The Triumph of the Moon," an examination of the historical roots of Wicca. In this well-researched work, tenured historian Dr. Hutton presents a rather convincing argument that Wicca is a synthetic religion pieced together from bits of Gerald Gardner's personal experiences in India with Goddess worship, anthropological data from Dr. Margaret Murray, Sir James Fraizer and Charles G. Leland, and the Golden Dawn, with membership drawn in part from the Naturist (Nudist) movement in England.

Even in regard to Wicca, the evidence presented by Dr. Hutton, while difficult to ignore, a decade later does not remain undisputed. For example, Philip Heselton has provided compelling data that G.B. Gardner was indeed initiated into the pre-existing New Forrest Coven. Consequently, contrary to Hutton's premise, it is unlikely that Gardner completely made up his witchcraft tradition.

Nonetheless, the urban legend tenaciously endures that no European Pagan religion has survived from antiquity. This myth survives not based on factual evidence presented by Dr. Hutton on the origins of Wicca, but merely based on sweeping pronouncements Dr. Hutton makes on the antiquity of Pagan traditions in Continental Europe.

There remain gaping holes in these proclamations. Firstly, Dr. Hutton's historical inquiry is limited to southern England, as he readily admits in the opening of his investigation. Moreover, Hutton presents no solid historical evidence to substantiate his decrees on Italy and the rest of the world. Hutton spends five pages merely parroting the opinions of others on the trustworthiness of Leland’s informant, for example.

Finally and most importantly, such matters are better the province of anthropologists rather than a historian. Hutton inappropriately does not limit himself to the examination of the written word as is properly the province of the historian, but frequently relies on personal reports he gathered himself, which Hutton presents according to his personal bias, rather than as the results of intense scrutiny by the rigors of ethnographic method.

Despite these gaping holes in Dr. Hutton's underlying conclusions, the urban legend that no European Pagan religion has survived from antiquity, has tragically deprived much of the modern Pagan movement of its historical roots, and has led to the audacious conclusion that ALL Pagan religion today is but Neo-Pagan revival.

This audacity arises directly from the erroneous presumption that the historical roots of all modern Paganism stand or fall with Wicca. This is an extremely Anglo-centered vision, as though no European Pagan traditions have ever existed outside of England, Ireland, and Wales!

Such an Anglo-centered Pagan vision negates, for example, the possibility that vestiges of ancient Greek or Roman Paganism might have secretly survived intact. This is as mistaken a notion as the myopic vision I have encountered again and again in the Golden Dawn community, as though the Golden Dawn arose as an exclusively British affair, completely separate from its Continental European context and Hermetic and Rosicrucian roots.

In the decade following Dr. Hutton's study, new anthropological evidence has surfaced, for example, that casts serious doubt on these urban legends. For example, the polytheistic Kalash Kafir religion, still practiced today by about 3,000 people in Chitral, has a strong resemblance to ancient Greek Paganism. This has led some to theorize that the Kalash religion arose directly from the invading Greeks.

When the great hero and general, Alexander, reputed as great as the gods Apollo and Zeus, left troops on the mountainsides of the great Hindu Kush, he asked them to stay there without changing their beliefs and traditions, their laws and culture until he returned from the battles in the East.

The Kalash people living until today in a village in Pakistan, proclaim with pride that they are the direct descendents of Alexander the Great. In fact, there are many similarities between them and the Hellenes of Alexander the Great’s time. Similarities such as religion, culture, and language reinforce their claims to Hellenic ancestry.

The Kalash are a polytheistic people and the gods goddesses they believe in closely resemble the twelve gods of Ancient Greece. Shrines are found in every Kalash village reminding us of religious sanctuaries we would stumble across in ancient Greece. These serve as houses of worship where prayers and sacrifices are offered. Oracles who played a major role in acting as mediators and spokespeople between the gods and the mortals still hold a position of importance in the social structure of the Kalash. Every question or prayer towards the gods is customarily followed by a sacrifice of an animal. This is reminiscent of the sacrifices the Hellenes gave to the gods to assure them a victory over the city of Troy.

The Kalash also practice a ritual that is celebrated on August 6, named the Day of the Transfiguration. This is the day where grapes are brought out to the god to be blessed and to guarantee them of a plentiful crop. This ritual can be traced back to Ancient Greece where it was practiced by the cult of Dionysus who paid their respect to the god of fertility and wine. An active member of the cult of Dionysus was Olympia, mother of Alexander the Great, said to have recruited many of her son’s soldiers and who in return practiced it throughout their expedition (Alexandrou, pg. 184).

The Kalash also live a lifestyle that can be positively compared to that of the Ancient Greeks. For example, the Kalash are the only people in the East who make and use accessories such as chairs and stools that cannot be found anywhere else in the surrounding regions. Their chairs are decorated with drawings such as the ram’s horns which symbolize the horns that decorated Alexander the Great’s helmet. Battle scenes depicting Greek soldiers are also observed. In the recent archaeological discoveries in Vergina, Greek archaeologists found the exact same replicas as the ones the Kalash use in their homes today (National Herald, pg. 7).

Certain scientists and anthropologists dispute, however, the notion of the Kalash being direct descendants of the ancient Greeks. Significantly, no genetic ties between Kalasha and Greeks has as yet been discovered. Moreover, the Greeks merely passed through in 327 B.C., probably within 50 miles of Chitral, but did not enter Chitral itself and did not stop or stay for long.

Even more skeptical anthropologists, however, agree that the polytheistic Kalash religion and the Greek religion at least appear to have a common origin. One prevalent theory is that the Kalasha are Indo-Aryans whose religion has commonalities with pre-Zorastrian Iranians. The strongest anthropological evidence, however, indicates that both ancient Greek Paganism and contemporary Kalash polytheism came from a proto-Indo European religion which was carried along with the Indo European language when the Chitralis first got there some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. No matter which of these theories ultimately prove true, the bulk of this anthropological evidence nonetheless casts serious doubt on the urban legend that no ancient European Pagan religion today survives intact.

Clearly, such a conclusion may not reasonably be drawn merely based on the work of Ronald Hutton. From an academic point of view, Hutton's work is dismissible on three counts. Firstly, Hutton's research is over a decade old and as I have shown in this article, new evidence has meanwhile come to light refuting Hutton's remarks about Paganism outside of England. Secondly, Hutton's attempt at the anthropological method is outside his field of expertise. Thirdly, the statements Hutton makes about Paganism outside of his stated research area are perfunctory, and as such should not be taken as gospel. 

The scope of Hutton's actual research was limited to Wicca and Paganism in southern England, whereas ancient Pagan religion flourished across a far broader region. Clearly any remarks Hutton makes regarding Paganism outside of Southern England should be taken - not with pinches - but with BUCKETS of salt. Thus the conclusion, based on Hutton's research, that the entire contemporary Pagan movement is but Neo-Pagan revival is revealed as fatally flawed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

WHEN LIFE MIMICS ART: Sideshow Bob's Facebook Coup

It is no secret that Bob Zink has wanted to get rid of me for decades. I had heard the ugly rumors many times before - like allegations of Bob organizing Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn members to perform Goetic, black magical operations against me order-wide back in the 1990s.
Then there was the infamous "watermelon" ritual where, according to former EOGD members, they consecrated a watermelon like a voodoo doll, to affect me by sympathetic magick, then took turns stabbing it with a magick sword.
Another story involved the 1994 evening that Robert Zink and I dined together in Cris Monnastre's home. According to former EOGD members, Bob Zink called an emergency temple meeting later that night, telling everyone that:
"over dinner the evil David Griffin had worked black magic on poor Bob with his malefic Mars ring."
Sideshow Bob Zink
I indeed own a magick ring of pure gold for each planet (see the slide show below this post) and actually did wear my Mars ring that night. I never dreamed it would set off such paranoia in Bob though.
Then there was the former EOGD member who wrote to me earlier this year apologizing for having spied on me in the 1990s, allegedly also at Bob's behest.

Sideshow Bob's Facebook Revenge

Until last Fall, I had a thriving social network with 4,723 Facebook friends. Then suddenly - Poof! - my profile and my entire Facebook social network were gone! Facebook had permanently disabled my profile - and cut me off from my entire social network - without any warning or explanation whatsoever. I appealed the decision, but to no avail. It was not until this week that the mystery of what had actually happened to my Facebook profile was finally solved. I should have known from the beginning that the destruction of my social network on Facebook was no mere accident.

The Facebook mystery was finally solved this week, when a disgruntled EOGD member sent me numerous posts about my Facebook profile from the esotericgoldendawn private members' forum on Yahoo. Certain of these letters - reproduced below - reveal how my Facebook profile - and my social network of 4,723 friends - did not simply disappear, but were carefully and deliberately sabotaged by Bob Zink orchestrating a group of EOGD members and their friends to "block spam" me on Facebook.

Esotericgoldendawn Members Yahoo Forum
Subject: Special Attention to all Brethren of the Golden Dawn
September 25, 2009
Greetings in Light,
This is a public announcement to warn members of David Griffin; a self proclaimed leader of a pseudo-organization that is an off-shoot of the reconstructionist Golden Dawn of C... It is important to know that no Golden Organizations to include C..., Zalewski, and OSOGD recognize his fanatic authority.
This individual has cost our Order thousands of dollars in legal fees, threatened members of our order, and continues to prove himself to be a danagerous and unstable fanatic bent on owning the Golden Dawn tradition. As a magician he stands as an example of dark sorcery and evil magic.
That is why we encourage you to disassociat with him in all venues; especially this most recent attempt to friend Order Brethren to his Facebook account. This is a warning not to friend David Griffin and if you mistakely already have to de-friend and block him immediately.
Your Servant in Light
GH Frater PDR (Robert Zink)

Esotericgoldendawn Members Yahoo Forum
Subject: Magical links and David Griffin
September 25, 2009
One of the reasons we ask you to not friend David Griffin on facebook is that because he has been hostile to our Order and to myself and other, and because he has attacked our Order over and over again, and because he is bent on being the only Golden Dawn group and has cost C... and our Order thousands and thousands of dollars, and because neither our Order, nor  C.., nor Pat Zaleswki nor Tommy Westlund his first Chief in Sweeden, nor any other GD group reconize him as nothing more than a mischief makers in our GD community, 
YOU RUN A RISK of of allowing him to create a MAGICAL BOND with you and that bond certainly will not be helpful in your spritual or magcial development.
But wait, there is more to this saga, his connection to you as a friend on facebook creates a ray to our Order, this we cannot allow. It is important that you not accept the friend request from David Griffin and if you have, you need to cut it, for yourself, for your Order, for justice.
Your brother in the great work,
G.H. Frater P.D.R. (Robert Zink)

Esotericgoldendawn Members Yahoo Forum
Subject: David Griffin @ FB ~ how to use your privacy settings to block & other advice
September 25, 2009
Ave Sorors and Fraters;
Go to "settings", there you will find "privacy", scroll down, put his name in your BLOCK list, when you do so, a list of various David Griffin's comes up, he's the first one, you'll note his sash in his photo. Click ^him^, and he will be blocked.
Another suggestion, if you've friends who have befriended him, email them at FB and ask them to de-friend him and block him. If for any reason they won't, tell them you'll have to de-friend them as his energy won't be tolerated. Hope this helps,
R. 770

I won't waste time refuting Bob Zink's paranoid portrayal of the "evil David Griffin" in these letters. Bob was clearly demonizing me, in order to manipulate EOGD members and their friends to "block spam" me on Facebook - a dastardly, yet deadly effective way of getting someone's Facebook profile permanently disabled. Five days after this "block spam" attack, on October 1, 2009 - Poof! My entire Facebook social network - and all contact with many of my 4,723 friends - vanished forever. No explanation. No recourse. Just poof! - gone.

An Open Letter To My Lost Facebook Friends

My dear 4,723 former Facebook friends,
Thank you for your friendship, support, and encouragement over the years on Facebook. I really enjoyed my interaction with you and our substantial discussions about Hermetic Inner Alchemy and other aspects of the Golden Dawn. Thanks again for your many valuable contributions to these discussions.
I apologize for for losing contact with so many of you following the sudden and unexpected disappearance of my Facebook profile. When Facebook disabled my page without warning or explanation last October, I had no way to reach most of you even to tell you what had happened. In fact, it was a mystery to me as well - until now that is.
I never in a million years dreamed that my social network had secretly been sabotaged in one of Sideshow Bob's dastardly schemes!
As public figure, I guess I should expect certain losses like this, particularly with a competitor like Bob Zink around. Destroying my Facebook social network was the most successful plot Sideshow Bob has come up with yet.  In fact, I can  see him gleefully rubbing his hands and laughing maniacally while reading this.
Well, congratulations Bob! One of your hair-brained schemes finally worked. In fact, it worked so well that my 4,723 former friends from my Facebook social network you destroyed and I would like to send you this special "way to go, Bob!"
David Griffin

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Hermetic Master Speaks Out II: On The Creation of the Solar Body of Light

I was pleased to see how Master R.C.'s recent statements sparked such a lively discussion. Questions have arisen, for example, from FS on his blog, as well as from posters apparently afraid to identify themselves in the comments section here as well. 

I must admit that I was amused by one such "anonymous" commenter's strange pronouncement that Master R.C.'s exposition has no actual root in the Hermetic tradition, since this anonymous commenter has failed to verify these notions in published Hermetic sources, as though the Hermetic tradition followed the rules of Wikipedia instead of the traditional rules of initiatic traditions throughout history. 

Let me assure our anonymous commenter that these notions are quite substantiated in the voluminous Hermetic literature that until today remains available ONLY TO INITIATES, as has been the case not for Centuries, but rather for Millennia. The notion that initiatic materials may only be considered to exist if they are readily available to the masses not only flies in the face of all true initiatic traditions throughout history, but actually reflects a modern form of madness created by the information superhighway and the age of the Internet.

Despite the rather hostile and provocative tone of certain anonymous commenters, I nonetheless forwarded everything to Master R.C. to see if he cared to reply. Happily, this sparked the following exposition, faithfully translated and presented by Lux ex Septentrionis, Frater R+AC.

- David Griffin

On the Creation of the Solar Body of Light
by Master R.C.

In response to my recent article, I  have been forwarded several letters and comments. I am pleased to observe the interest aroused by the present discussion. This is a positive development, as not enough has yet been written about Hermetic alchemy from an initiatic perspective. Clearly, certain points need to be set forth at this juncture, in accordance with what my own Alchemical Master taught and transmitted to me over the course of decades - in the same fashion as initiatic, alchemical knowledge has been transmitted from alchemical Master to Disciple for Millennia. 

My words here may displease certain readers, but I will not hold back the truth merely because others may find it distasteful. I ask you to set aside for a moment all of your preconceived ideas and to read these few lines in a state of serenity and peacefulness of soul, aspiring that the light of consciousness may illuminate our discourse.

Many people today delude themselves with the mistaken belief that all knowledge may be found either in books and publications or on the internet. In the case of Hermetic wisdom in general, and of Alchemy in particular, published works include only the most minimal part of the legitimate teachings. These are, I must once again repeat, transmitted only through true initiation or from an authentically realized Master - and not from a mere thinker - as true transmission is energetic, from Soul to Soul, and not verbal.

In regard to recent questions and comments about the Solar body:

Everything within creation - merely by virtue of being manifest - possesses a vehicle through which manifestation is possible. The existence of form and non-form is one single reality, which is the true nature of the universe and of creation. 

The transition from form to non-form is instantaneous and we are never conscious of the passage because, these are two sides of the same coin. Thus, even talking about the change from form to non-form is inaccurate and incorrect - as such a notion imposes conditions appropriate for duality, whereas  ultimately it is only unity that exists, which is instantaneously both existence and non-existence.

Consider a point in geometry. A point is indivisible and eternal yet non-existent at the same time. The same may be said about the true nature of the Mercury of the Philosophers.

Therefore, it is in reality not strictly correct to speak of the CREATION of the Solar Body because - since all is ONE - it already exists. Thus the real task is to bring to consciousness the ONE that is within us and that IS us. This is the true mission of Alchemy and ancient Hermetic sciences. 

In the orient, this same notion is implied in the statement that MAYA is reality and illusion at the same time, and that these are two sides of the same coin. In fact, it is also written in the East that MAYA is the same as MOKSA - absolute freedom - but this mere affirmation does not equal the realization of this truth or the attainment of absolute freedom! 

Such intellectual discourse does not even approach the living truth that all is ONE and that all is ipso facto real and unreal. The truth, the reality or unreality of things is created by our mind itself. This is the true meaning of the RAW MERCURY OF THE PHILOSOPHERS. This Mercury is "raw" in the sense that is is unprocessed. When processed by alchemical means, this Raw Mercury may be transmuted first into Silver, then into purest Gold.

I would like to stress that all that is said here about human beings can also be extended to materials of every nature and grade, and thus applies to physical transmutations as well. All of this - of course, observes the fundamental law of UNITY OF MATTER.

Thus we see that the mind, or the eternal capability of matter, has the power to render real or unreal every single thing - even itself. This - in high degree alchemy - is called SULFUR - the generative capacity of the mind - which uniquely and eternally exists.

When the mind, or Mercury, vibrates, creation IS - yet when it does not vibrate any longer...CREATION VANISHES. This is the power of the MERCURY OF THE PHILOSOPHERS - which can pigment all metals or states of matter.

Thus - when correctly understood - the creation of the Solar Body is the ability to cause your mind (or Mercury) to vibrate in such a way that, by creating waves of form, it generates a state of MATTER-SPIRIT-UNITY that is active in EVERY plane of creation itself. In other words, it is the capability of acting consciously on every gradation of the ONE that is EVERYTHING.

This is the Solar Body that indicates the LIGHT and wisdom of all things simultaneously that is eternal. Hence true Eternity and Immortality is the MIND’S CAPABILITY OF BEING AWARE OF ITSELF AND OF THE TRUE NATURE OF REALITY. 

Therefore, every being creates, by its own will, its slavery or freedom. There are those who understand it early and put themselves on the path of wakefulness. There are others, however, who need a lot of time to acknowledge the subtle aspect of creation, in addition to its aspect of form. 

Hence we can talk about TRUE IMMORTALITY only when it is CONSCIOUS and AWARE. Otherwise, despite the perpetual eternity of being, we cannot speak of true immortality, when consciousness, not being aware, sinks into the chasm of illusions that are real for us and envelope us by the great power of mind (or Mercury) itself.

Marrying Mercury with Sulphur, creating the double nature, thus may be understood as joining the mind with its own power, thus becoming conscious of who we really are and of our true potentialities. This state we call the creation of the Solar Body and it is represented as a symbol with an OPEN EYE OVER A FOUR STEPPED PYRAMID, which indicates the four states of matter: solid, fluid, subtle, and radiant, which joined together and merged in the state of the mind, that is the QUINTESSENCE or FIFTH ELEMENT, become the Solar Body of Light, which is eternal and indestructible. 

The methods to reach this, which on metaphysical basis are in the strictest sense incorrectly called "the creation of the Solar Body of Light," have never been revealed openly - And even had they been, they would not have been understood by those who are unprepared, living their reality as they want it to be, rather than how it is in truth instead.

I hope I have been clear and that I answered all of your questions and inquiries. All that remains for me to add is that everything I have written and every mental procedure here described may be perfectly reproduced even in a laboratory through alchemy, archemy, or spagery - In other words, by making use of substances that appear - I repeat - that APPEAR - to be outside of us as living beings alone in this actual life on planet Earth.

With love and respect for all living beings, 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Initiatic Mysteries Debate: A Hermetic Master Speaks Out

Master Hermes Trismegistus
As most readers of this and related Golden Dawn blogs are already aware, we are in the midst of a lively and passionate debate about the value of silence, secrecy, and the sanctity of the Hermetic mysteries. Since publishing my last article, the discussion has grown even more lively, albeit buried in comment section of this blog and spreading quickly across the Blogosphere.

In reply to my article on Cynics & Secret Chiefs, F.S wrote:
Whilst I am usually at odds with your opinions. I find this particular post quite interesting. Here you release secrets that are to be frank common knowledge, through the use of sexual force, compassion and love it is possible to do just as you say, the process also slowly begins to create and birth as you say the solar body.
This is NOT a secret. These techniques are espoused all through out eastern esoteric traditions, there are also many simple to comprehend alchemical glyphs detailing the process in our western traditions. All it takes is some contemplation. 
Though to attempt to trap the leaders of the other orders with such teachings is I feel a bit beyond you? This is not a test of yours, you have structured your words in a way as to make any attempted reply by other orders to look shameful and indignant. This in my opinion is a blase way of going about your admittedly sane per-suite of keeping your oaths, and inspiring others to do the same.
Please note, I do not doubt your connections to these secret chiefs. Though it was always my understanding that the third order was meant for those who have already attained this solar immortality you speak of, not for those still trying to. 
I replied:
Care Soror FS,
Thank you for your frank and forthright comment! 
You are quite correct in your observation of similarities between the highest initiatic levels of the Hermetic tradition and the highest levels of the great initiatic traditions in the East. 
This arises from the history of alchemy. The practices arose in Sumeria, then became the Royal Art Alchemy in Egypt. Egyptian alchemy subsequently spread to the East, where it entered both the Taoist and Tantric traditions. These traditions, of course, existed prior to the arrival of Alchemy from Egypt. Nonetheless, their alchemical traditions came directly from ancient Egypt.
Here in the West, the Egyptian alchemical knowledge spread to Europe following the Greek and Roman conquests of Egypt. In Magna Graecia, alchemy entered the Pythagorean tradition. In the Roman republic, it was transmitted through the Hermetic tradition. From there, alchemy spread throughout Europe, particularly to Germany, where it became a part of the Rosicrucian tradition, from whence it comes to us in the Golden Dawn.
I apologize if my article is perhaps a bit too passionate. Sadly, the "no proof" chorus from certain of our order's critics has tried my patience at times, especially since all actual evidence our order has presented has over and over been completely ignored. The "no proof" mantra was instead merely repeated again and again for nearly a decade now as a mere rhetorical tactic to sow seeds of doubt.
Our order has walked a delicate tightrope in this process. What we have done, with permission of the Hermetic Masters in Europe, has been to provide enough public information to demonstrate that the higher Hermetic teachings actually do exist, as well as to give a general idea of what their actual aim and purpose really is.
What we have NOT done is to publicly reveal specific details of the means of alchemical processing, the actual spiritual disciplines and techniques involved. 
Unlike magick, about which entire libraries have been written, the highest processing of Internal Alchemy still today remains sealed behind a veil of initiatic silence in the Hermetic tradition here in the West. This is also the case with Taoist and Tantric alchemy in the East, where true Alchemical Masters are even more difficult to find than they are here.
This further clarifies what I meant at the opening of this article:
"[The HOGD/AO and the Hermetic Masters in Europe] are NOT the ONLY orders which have the TRUE secrets - which are the ONLY available means for full initiation. However, we DO provide access to these HIGHER orders - and in turn we DO provide access to TRUE secrets - which DO provide a complete and full initiation system.":
FS continued: 
"I do not doubt your connections to these secret chiefs. Though it was always my understanding that the third order was meant for those who have already attained this solar immortality you speak of, not for those still trying to."
I replied:
You are both correct and incorrect. 
The Grades of the Third Order of the Alpha et Omega (that were intended for the Golden Dawn all along) correspond to three specific levels of spiritual attainment - three successive alchemical separations and projections, culminating with the separation of the Solar Body of Light from the physical body at the moment of death and the projection of the consciousness into the Solar body. This is the culmination of the Opus Magnum - the achievement of conscious immortality in the SOLAR PLANE inside light at the fast vibrating end of the universe.
More than this I hesitate to say. I have always emphasized that the Third Order are real people and exist in the flesh. This is true. It is also true, however, that there are also Hermetic Masters that have already completed the Opus Magnum - already reside on the Solar Plane - yet are still part of the Third Order.
The Third Order is, in reality, presided over by a council of 12 Magi in physical incarnation. However, a corresponding council of 12 also exists on the Solar Plane.
This does not mean that Felkin was really in touch with a Solar Master, however. He was not. He knew through Mathers what I am telling you now and therefore deceived himself that he was in contact. He was not. The techniques used by Felkin only reached the Lower Astral, the realm of illusion. 
The whole reason why I have hesitated to ever bring this up, is that admitting that there are also disincarnate Hermetic Masters in the Third Order, opens the door to all sorts of abuse in certain other Golden Dawn orders, where leaders like to justify anything they do by deceiving their members into believing that they are "channeling the Third Order."
Channeling and any sort of mediumistic or waking trance state only reach the LOWER ASTRAL plane, the realm of delusion and self-decetption. The SOLAR PLANE is much higher and requires and extremely high level of energetic evolution to perceive.
The actual techniques for spiritual perception in the SOLAR PLANE are carefully guarded secrets of the Third Order and can only be used by Magi - who have already achieved the Second alchemical separation and projection. 
This is something far different that Felkin's "channeling the Secret Chiefs" that has been so abused by certain Golden Dawn leaders to assert their will and dazzle Neophytes.
Warm regards, David Griffin
In my previous article, I highlighted certain tactics routinely used against our order during the Golden Dawn war, like ad hominum attacks on HOGD/AO leaders and repeating "spin" mantras, like the catch phrase "No proof!" over and over like a broken record,  while ignoring all actual presented evidence.

Sadly, it appears that this exposition was not enough, and the old "No Proof!" "spin" tactic has merely been given new mantra by our detractors, namely "No Real Secrets!" Our opponents additionally appear to have begun republishing only one side of the debate, again ignoring all presented evidence contrary to their position.

Once again, I urge everyone to keep this debate at a fraternal, factual, and scholarly level - free of all ad hominum attacks and rhetorical "spin" tactics. It is clear that bloggers on both sides feel very passionate about this issue. Let us all nonetheless resolve to redouble our efforts to keep this debate fraternal, scholarly, factual, and free of propaganda-like "spin" tactics!

Frater Peregrin today wrote, on his Magic of the Ordinary blog:
As part of the fallout over the whole recent magical secrecy argument, GH Fr LES gave us a very interesting post. The post was carefully worded that any attempt at reply would be either pointless or would need to fulfil certain requirements set out by GH Fr LES. So I did not bother replying.
A certain Sr FS did reply, and not being party to the original discussion was able to say a few things without looking churlish, pointing out the various alchemical ‘secrets’ GH Fr LES keeps hinting at are not secret at all. They are in fact discernible with a little book knowledge and contemplation.
- Peregrin 
 FS answered my above reply, as follows:
GH Fr LES,  Unfortunately the title of Soror gives perhaps the wrong sexuality, I am indeed a male, though I take the believed femininity as a compliment :). Also I should note, I am not by any means a member of any particular order, F.S. will do as it was only intended as a pseudonym for my anonymity :).
Again though I shall re-state what I said above, whilst it is in my opinion a great thing for your order to keep such things hidden, this by no means is not understood by others. I know of several initiates, of differing orders who are aware of techniques to achieve solar consciousness.
My own training and study within the Gnostic tradition also has shown me that these secrets exist there also. Again, you need only look at a glyph of Bahpomet to understand some of the picture, you need only find the tarot card the lover to understand a extra not to dismiss either the image of ISIS, and the story's of the egyptian god's. There are books, and other papers, and intellectual information out there also detailing the idea, and hinting at the process, again with contemplation the process can be unlocked by anyone, willing enough to put in the time, this does not require any sublime initiation, it simply requires time and a willingness to do foundational work. Thanks, F.S.

So that the new issues presented by FS would receive a proper reply, I passed FS' latest remarks along to the Hermetic Masters in Continental Europe, requesting a responce directly on this blog. Hereafter, follow therefore the words of alchemical Master, R.C. that I received this morning, faithfully translated and transmitted by Lux ex Septentrionis, Frater R+AC.

Dear F.S. and Peregrin,

I certainly do not wish to deprive you of your cherished illusions. The actual creation of the Solar Body of Light, however, has never been published anywhere or at any time. In reality, the creation of the Solar Body of Light is the most carefully guarded secret of all the great initiatic traditions of the world, from the Pythagorean and Hermetic traditions in the West to the Taoist tradition in China, and the Tantric traditions in both India and Tibet. There do exist, however, documents where you might find vague indications, and in rare instances, perhaps even  a pseudo instruction in the training of the Solar Body of Light. 

But know this. All of the great traditions teach that the true creation of the Solar Body of Light CAN NOT even BE communicated in writing. In fact, the TRUE secret can't even be communicated as oral tradition, but rather only energetically, from the Master having already achieved this development to the Disciple who receives this most sacred of initiations. 

This transmission can only occur from SOUL to SOUL, and certainly not from a written page to a person. Read and study carefully the instructions that Christ gives to his disciples. Like Buddha, all true alchemical Masters have said over and over that you must have a particular YEAST to awaken gold, and that this yeast may be possessed only by one who has formed it by Divine grace or has received it from another son of Hermes. The former is extremely rare as we shall see.

This is because this formation can only be accomplished through a certain union of Souls and spiritual power passed to the Disciple from an alchemical Master who in turn received it from his own Master, etc. This, however, is TRUE initiation, and not that as understood today in this period of spiritual decadence wherein so many do not even understand the spiritual value of silence, puffing themselves up instead by pretending to publish secrets in books, on the internet, etc.

The true mystery can only be obtained from one who has it. The same is true for initiation. To open a book and consider yourself an initiate merely because you read dead words on paper made from dead wood is a dead end that leads only to delusion and spiritual bankruptcy. This is also the true meaning of initiatic lineage. As it is written that: "None may become Priests and Priestesses of the Eternal unless consecrated by the Eternal itself."

Only the rarest of human beings, having received their mission on Earth from on high, have received that rare gift of a fully formed Solar Body of Light or the ability to cultivate it in a single lifetime on their own - the great Avatars like Christ, Buddha, Krisna, etc. All others must raise their Solar Bodies with the sacred YEAST - that only another who possesses it - a Solar Master - may transmit.

Can you not see and understand that those who seek, awaken precisely when they come into contact with someone who has precisely this YEAST for their spiritual awakening? Think for a moment. Investigate for yourself, but do not allow yourself to be misled by a delusion of simplicity of something that I can assure you is not a simple matter at all. Do not allow yourself, through mere vanity, to be misled by dead words written on dead wood made into paper.

I repeat: This is the most occulted SECRET of humanity, carefully concealed in all of the religions and alchemical traditions of the world. 

However, if you truly believe that to cultivate a Solar Body of Light on your own is such a simple matter, requiring only time and discipline (very laudable as they are) as you each claim, I invite you to prove this to us.

I will then, together with countless others, bow before the first among you who accomplishes this "simple" task - recognizing you as our new teacher and Master at the level of another Christ or Buddha.

With respect,
Master R.C.

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