Friday, July 29, 2011

The Secret Chiefs Debate: Traditionalist vs. Reconstructionist Golden Dawn

by David Griffin

Over the past week, the Golden Dawn has been rocked again and again by a series of aftershocks in the aftermath of a spiritual earthquake caused by recent revelation that the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order are now finally transmitting the advanced Golden Dawn Inner Order (R.R. et A.C.) teachings to qualified Adepts from across the Golden Dawn community.

On the one hand, Adepts from across the spectrum of the entire community have been discretely seeking advanced R.R. et A.C. training. On the other hand, however, Golden Dawn buzz across the internet - from the Blogosphere to Yahoo groups - has reached decibels not seen in years.

To understand what all the fuss is all about, one must first consider how the Golden Dawn's Inner Order (R.R. et A.C.) came down to today's GD community only in incomplete form - as a truncated system of teachings ending with the beginners material published by Regardie and Crowley for Adeptus Minor (5=6) grade.

Secondly, today's Golden Dawn community has long been polarized into two distinct philosophical camps: Traditionalists vs. Reconstructionists. Among traditionalist Golden Dawn orders one finds, for example, the August Order of the Mystic Rose and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Alpha et Omega). Reconstructionist orders, on the other hand, include Pat Zalewksi's Order of the Golden Dawn and Nick Farell's Magical Order of Aurora Aurorae.

To the uninformed observer, all Golden Dawn orders may appear more or less the same. In reality, however, a vast chasm of fundamental philosophical differences separates Golden Dawn traditionalists from reconstructionists.

For example, Golden Dawn traditionalists view the Golden Dawn as a living organism that has never ceased to discretely function occulted in one permutation or another during its entire history. Reconstructionists Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewski each have written, on the other hand, that any possibly legitimate Golden Dawn lineage most certainly ended when Whare Ra closed its doors. Such reconstructionists view the Golden Dawn as essentially a dead tradition to be reconstructed and further developed through academic research and personal innovation.

Golden Dawn traditionalists see the Golden Dawn as but one outer manifestation of a much greater and older Hermetic and Rosicrucian tradition that has continued in its work uninterrupted for many Centuries.

Golden Dawn reconstructionists, on the contrary, argue that the Golden Dawn is an isolated phenomenon that has no real lineage nor connection to any preexisting Rosicrucian or Hermetic tradition or internal college.

Radical Golden Dawn reconstructionists, like Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewski, go so far as to argue that the entire Golden Dawn tradition is rooted in lies and deceit. According to radical reconstructionists, the traditional story of Golden Dawn origins is but a hoax perpetrated by Golden Dawn founders, Wescott, Woodman, and Mathers to give the Golden Dawn a faked Rosicrucian pedigree based on forged letters.

It is thus unsurprising that radical reconstructionists argue that the Golden Dawn's Inner Order, the R.R. et A.C, is equally rooted in lies and deceit. They argue that Golden Dawn founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers lied even when he claimed to have physically met with Continental Hermetic and Rosicrucian Adepts in Paris in 1891, that Mathers referred to as the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order.

Radical reconstructionists claim that Mathers also lied regarding the source of the materials that he used to create the Golden Dawn's Inner Order, the R.R. et A.C., and on which he based the substantial Adeptus Minor (5=6) curriculum. Mathers claimed that this material came from the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order. Reconstructionists, Pat Zalewski and Nick Farrell, claim that this is pure deception and that the Golden Dawn is nothing more than the fruit of the personal research of Mathers, Woodman and Wescott.

Golden Dawn traditionalists argue that initiatic secrecy is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the sacredness with which initiates hold the blessings and fruits of initiation and training. This is the position that has at all times in history been held by all legitimate, traditional initiatic schools.

Golden Dawn reconstructionists, however, argue that secrecy has no real purpose and is only a tool of manipulation. Reconstructionsts Farrell and Zalewski have used this argument to justify the publication of secret initiatic materials. Many reconstructionists argue that all initiatic secrets ought to be revealed and some do their best to publish them with their own name attached to them first

Am I the only one who sees how self-serving and logically inconsistent the arguments presented above of the Golden Dawn reconstructionists really are?

What I can not understand is why on Earth anyone would want to initiate anyone into an esoteric system that they personally believe is rotten to the core, since it was founded as a hoax perpetuated on their students by liars?!?!?!?!

The only explanation that I can see for such a bizarre logical inconsistency is that such individuals must have a purely financial motivation. This at least would make some sort of sense. And indeed both Pat Zalewksi and Nick Farrell, for example, are making a lot of money off of the Golden Dawn - by selling books, tarot cards, expensive correspondence courses, etc. They therefore have a vested financial interest in teaching students an esoteric system that they themselves have argued is completely corrupt.

It is equally clear that the radical reconstructionist camp in the Golden Dawn community has a vested interest in the notion of the Golden Dawn being a forgery rather than an outer emanation of any physical Hermetic or Rosicrucian Internal College predating the Golden Dawn. Radical reconstructionists feel their entire house of cards threatened by the very existence of any Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order.

It is therefore unsurprising that the recent announcement that the Third Order is releasing the original curriculum for the advanced Grades of the Golden Dawn's Inner Order has this past week led to a vast number of attacks on the very possibility of the existence of the Third Order on Golden Dawn fora controlled by the radical reconstructionists.

For example, Nick Farrell this week wrote:
"The real 8=3 (as opposed to the SM grade) which the third order belongs is beyond form and is on the other side of form. It is the place of Shekinah and other abstract concepts. Putting a committee of blokes in suits whose sole job is to pop up rarely and give chiefs of Orders an ego stroke would be a thoroughly useless and incorrect attribution (the concept is yesodic)."
I forgot to mention that certain Golden Dawn reconstructionists also argue that all Third Order grades are only for disincarnate entities. Let it suffice to say that this flies in the face of both the Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions - as well as of concrete statements made by Golden Dawn founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers. This sort of invention is a perfect example of how bad reconstructionism can end up creating bizarre fantasies that have nothing to do with legitimate initiatic tradition.

Tony DeLuce, leader of the Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn wrote:
"Before Theosophy brought Eastern ideas to the West in the later part ofthe 19th century there wss very little of this sort of superstition found in the WMT. Of course everyone`s Guru in the East is an ascended Master and worshiped as God but in the West persons dedicated themselves to Christ. etc. and did not worship other human beings. There were of course Secet Societies of elect occultists etc. and much use of communication with Angelic and other hierarchies of being but nio need to get into contact with socalled Masters. Astral or otherwise. The "Third Order" of the GD is the Inspiration of our Tradition Itself and there is no need of a "middle man".
Mr. DeLuce here conflates the sort of Blavatskian "Astral Masters" taught by Felkin and Case with S.L. MacGregor Mathers' "Secret Chiefs of the Third Order," whom Mathers quite specifically claimed were physical representatives of a Continental European Hermetic and Rosicrucian internal college that he met in person in Paris in 1891.

Pat Zalewksi wrote:
"The yardstick to go by is what the so called secret chiefs give out to their disciples to teach, that's the yardstick to go by. Is what they give out worth it? If you think you are in touch with one then prove it - produce worthy material for the order that was beyond the capabilities of mathers. Just make sure it comes from this source and not a library."
"Frankly many of us are sick of this secret chief nonsense which is frankly a wank for some sort of astral legitimacy that cannot be checked in the physical world. You want to control a temple and promise the keys to the kingdom then channel a secret chief (or more than one). Or you can lower the bar and redefine the definition of a secret chief so that you can pick a patsy have his address. Its all crap and slight of hand. This is when the GD starts to become a belief system when the infallibility of the Secret Chiefs comes into play."
Pat Zalewski is dead wrong here. There is no channelling at all involved in this matter. The advanced Second Order curriculum is very real and stands on its own merits. Proof of this is available to any Adept willing to follow traditional rules and do the traditional work required for advanced initiation and training. 

This advanced Second Order material did not come channelled from any disincarnate entities. It came directly from Mathers' Hermetic and Rosicrucian Internal College that continues to physically exist in Continental Europe until today. And no - these advanced esoteric transmissions can not be found in any library. And yes - for any Adept who masters them it is obvious that they are the continuation of the Adeptus Minor material published by Regardie and Crowley.

I can clearly understand why certain Golden Dawn reconstructionists feel threatened by the emergence of the rest of the Golden Dawn's Second Order curriculum. They feel threatened by the existence of anything that they themselves can not find in libraries. The physical existence of the Hermetic and Rosicrucian Internal College from which the Golden Dawn originally emanated shakes to the core many of their cherished beliefs about the Golden Dawn and also poses an actual threat to the Golden Dawn profits in their bank accounts.

I can fully understand how the existence of the physical Third Order feels threatening to such reconstructionists. I likewise feel threatened as a Golden Dawn traditionalist every time the reconstructionists publish another document that I hold to be sacred to the Golden Dawn tradition. In fact, to Golden Dawn traditionalists like myself and other members of the Alpha Omega, if frequently feels like certain radical reconstructionists are attempting to kill the living Golden Dawn tradition,  so that they can recreate it in their own image.

In the wake of Nick Farrell's publishing the Mathers' recension of many Alpha et Omega rituals that had been in use in our order for many years, I attempted to express this feeling with humor. I ended up taking a lot of heat for this, coming from people claiming I was attacking Mr. Farrell and Mr. Zalewksi. 

Nonetheless, considering how radical reconstructionists keep insisting that the Golden Dawn is dead so that they can reconstruct it, I actually believe that the Borg from the Star Trek universe is a rather apt metaphor for what they are trying to do to our beloved Golden Dawn tradition!

Are they trying to kill and reconstruct
the Golden Dawn tradition?


  1. Wow and the song remains the same.

  2. Mr. Griffin. It is of my opinion that what you have said is correct regarding Reconstructionist views.It has troubled me several times with the writings of Zalewski who has boosted the lineage of Felkin and Whare Ra to magnanimous proportions. When I read the " commentary on the golden dawn" by Zalewski I felt somewhat apprehensive with all the Astral talk. It seemed to me that the Golden Dawn's further Z papers were not handed down so to speak, but Invented! Also it bothered me as well to see, that the progenitors of the Golden Dawn TRADITION were being totally slandered by one individual. Westcott and Wentworth were originators of the SRIA but not the documents. One of the chiefs of the order that gave Westcott his charter to start the group was from an earlier Tradition.Also Westcott was a High Grade Mason in the SR and Memphis rites. Was not just a fraud.His Masonic career would have undoubtedly been fraud because of the breach of trust and blatent disregard for moral character. Therefore as a Mason of his caliber it wouldn't have been feasible that he would lie about the documents. As you have stated the Golden Dawn is meant to be a prepretory school for later Rosicrucian teachings eventually culminating in the experience of Gnosis. For modern Gnosis is the Synthesis of all Western Mystery Schools. Brought out by one of the greatest modern lineage holders in the Initiatic Tradition. Rosicrucianism inevitably goes back as you know to the Egyptian and Greek Mystery Schools and also shares with Jewish Kabbalah and Merkabah Mysticism. Gnosis incorporates all lines of teachings of all Secret Societies. Just not by a Theurgical method,The late Richard Duc De Palatine Who was a High Degree Mason, Rosicrucian, Martinist, Iluminatus and held Apostolic Succession of the Gnostic Church has incorporated all the Traditions within the Gnostic School. Indeed Freemasonry was simply a repackaging of Gnostic teachings. Therefore when we consider the root of our traditions it is seen that they are none other than what we would term Gnosticism in ESSENCE. Though the words and symbols always differ.

    In light and love
    Frater Cor Meum Lucidum

  3. Robert Zink just wrote:

    "Care brethren,
    There has been a great deal of talking about the Secret Chiefs. I have no doubt that during these times they are making themselves known to more people.
    I don't think you need to be the Chief of an Order to make contact with these beings of Light either.
    So, my question is this, How do you test a Chief? What is your method?
    Now I can here some of you thinking the banner of the west projected, or the banner of the east, or a pre-planned password for example.
    I would be curious to know how you would go about testing one, if he or she came to you either in the physical or the spiritual planes.
    Robert Zink
    G.H. Frater P.D.R."

    The way you test them, Robert, is by asking them to provide concrete evidence in the form of advanced teachings that complete the 5=6 material published by Crowley and Regardie. This is procisely what the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order have done for he AO. And this proof is being transmitted to the most worthy from across the entire spectrum of the Golden Dawn community.