Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moina Mathers' Alchemical Painting: GD Traditionalists & Reconstructionists

by David Griffin

There has been a great deal of conflict in the Golden Dawn community because the Reconstructionist faction will not allow Traditionalist Golden Dawn orders to function in peace. The way that McDonalds corporation put thousands of independent hamburger restaurants out of business by imposing corporate domination of the industry, Golden Dawn Reconstructionists have attempted likewise to destroy traditional Golden Dawn orders, like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD) and our parent order, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega (AO). This has led to the term "McGoldenDawn" to describe the extreme aggression of the reconstructionist faction in the Golden Dawn community.

They have defamed us on the internet for nearly two decades. They have published our initiation rituals. They have even attempted to demonize our order by rewriting our history. It turns out that this entire Witch Hunt has been manipulated from behind the scenes by the SRIA, a shadowy, anti-Semetic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Pagan organization based in England, with tentacles stretching across the world, including throughout the aggressive Reconstructionist faction of the Golden Dawn community. 

The SRIA has stirred strife in the Golden Dawn community for at least two decades, not infrequently by providing documents to Golden Dawn Reconstructionists to profane through publication, in order to promote their groups. A primary culprit in this profanation of documents has been R.A. Gilbert, who has trafficked in Golden Dawn documents for decades.

The following, an alchemical illustration painted by Moina Mathers, will serve nicely to contrast the difference between the Reconstructionist and the Traditionalist approaches to the Golden Dawn. Comments published by GD Reconstructionists Pat Zalewski and Olen Rush about this illustration will make this distinction clear, contrasted with comments that I will make below.

Sunday April 22, 2012 Pat Zalewski wrote about this illustration:
"One of the most important GD diagrams that to the best of my knowledge has only been published in R A Gilbert's GD Scrapbook (which is online), is the diagram of the winged dragon eating the tail of the unwinged dragon. Olen Rush goes into this as well. This is a diagram influenced by Kirchweger's edition of Homer's Golden Chain. You can also see this in Alchemy and mysticism by Roob, page 404.
Flamel also discussed this principle in his Chymische Werke. The use of the hexagram within the the two dragons by Moina was possibly due to it being similar to, though not identical with the the symbol of the Theosophical society. The text underneath the symbol of Moina is a paraphrase of Kirchweger.
If you go to Roob's book and study the Kirchweger plate, then look at the one on the next page you have the winged and unwinged dragons locked together within a zodiac, which is taken from a Ripley Scroll and is the pictorial basis for the Convoluted Forces paper. From what I can gather the Convoluted Forces diagrams appears to be a mixture of Theosophical, Kirchweger and Ripley. The diagrams are one thing and the text is another, and Agrippa's influence comes in there as well.These are then fused together within a GD frame of reference."
Pat Zalewski
On Sunday, May 30, 2010, Olen Rush wrote:
"Moina's translation/interpretation recovered to the best ability of my squinty old eyes.
This is the wording of the Golden Dawn version of the Figur Abyssi Duplicatae diagram as presented in the previous post. This is the work of Moina Mathers... quite interesting really. Obviously, it is a direct work from the Kirchweger text. Her extrapolation of the Elements to the smaller triangular forms (6 small triangles of the periphery) of the Hexagram differ from the partial diagram I worked with. It had the two furthest right (smaller) triangles of the Hexagram labled with "Terra" for the inferior triangle, and "Vegetabalia" for the Superior Triangle. Comparing to a number of GuRC diagrams... I utilized "Vegtabalia", "Animalia", and "Elementa" on the angles of one (larger) triangle... for the other (larger) triangle I used "Terra", "Siderea", and "Elementa".
In the transcription below, the elements listed in brackets such as: [fire] replace the elemental symbols of Moina's text.  
'Whenever the Dragon meets an enemy, they fight.
The Volatile must become fixed, vapour and [water]
must become [earth]. [Fire] must become corporeal,
so life can enter the [earth]. The superior must become 
inferior, and vice versa. The fixed becomes volatile.
The [earth] becomes [water], vapour, [air], and [fire],
whilst [fire] returns to the center of the [earth]. Heaven, 
i.e. [fire] must be converted into a first [earth]. The 
Dragon with wings kills the Dragon without wings,
or the latter destroys the former. Thus is manifested 
the Quintessence and its powers." 
Olen Rush
Let us not examine what we do and do not learn about this alchemical painting from Mr. Zalewksi and Mr. Rush. We learn that the drawing was published in "The Golden Dawn Scrapbook" by SRIA agent, R.A. Gilbert, that it appears influenced by Kirchweger's Golden Chain of Homer, that the diagram is called Figur Abyssi Duplicatae, and that Flamel discussed it in his Chemische Werke.

We also encounter, however, some highly speculative data that I believe is also quite erroneous, for example, that the whole is somehow related to Agrippa and that Moina Mathers included the hexagram due to its similarity with the symbol of the Theosophical Society. We also encounter the  completely unsupported speculation that the Convoluted Forces paper of the Golden Dawn is taken from a Ripley Scroll and appears to be a mixture of Kirchweger, Ripley and Theosophy.

This entire approach, including the rather fantastic and highly erroneous speculations, poignantly demonstrate what is wrong with the entire Reconstructionist approach to the Golden Dawn. Through the academic approach of the Golden Dawn Reconstructionists, we do learn some interesting background information, but we also encounter bottomless sacks of red herrings due to rampant and unwarranted speculation, often easily confused with real data.

Completely absent from the analysis of both Mr. Zalewksi and Mr. Rush is why Moina Mathers painted this particular alchemical illustration, and what relevance to or importance it has in the Golden Dawn TRADITION. The Golden Dawn is, after all, a SPIRITUAL TRADITION. One may safely assume therefore, that this illustration has a spiritual significance.

Here we enter the realm of TRADITIONAL Golden Dawn orders like the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega. We Golden Dawn Traditionalists do not need to try to reinvent the wheel, nor do we need to attempt to figure out what things mean based on idle speculation. Since we are initiated into the Hermetic and Rosicrucian mysteries, we are taught the original, spiritual meaning and use of each and every aspect of the Golden Dawn tradition.

As a matter of fact, in the case of this alchemical painting by Moina Mathers, we are in the presence of a symbolical depiction of one of the most important SPIRITUAL PRACTICES of the THIRD ORDER of the Golden Dawn. As Traditionalists, we look at the symbols of the Golden Dawn not to provide historical data or to engage in personal speculation, but rather to better understand how to carry out specific spiritual practices.

I must at this point remind readers that all of the spiritual practices of everything in the traditional Golden Dawn above Adeptus Minor (5=6) remains secret, oath bound material. I am therefore not permitted to divulge the actual details of the spiritual practice of the Golden Dawn's Third Order that this particular alchemical image actually represents. 

I can, however, shed light on its real meaning using the "language of the birds", as Hermetic sages have always done, lifting the veil so that the light beyond may be witnessed, but without ripping the veil away from the door to the inner sanctuary. Thus, while withholding the specific nature and details of the Third Order spiritual practice in question, I may nonetheless shed light on the true meaning of certain of the relevant symbols. 

The two dragons, one winged and the other not, represent the two natures, Sulphur and Mercury, which united together create the Salt. Note also that the two dragons are circulating together, in a counter-clockwise, or widdershins direction. Thus they do not follow the path of the Sun, but follow instead the path of the Zodiac. (Thus Zalewski got this one association right.)

The planets represent the elements to be used in the practice and the timing for the work. The triangles are double because each nature is always double. The central circle represents the philosophical egg, also relevant for this particular practice. This circle also represents the Salt when the two natures are in conjunction.

The hexagram, contrary to Mr. Zalewski's irrelevant speculation, has nothing to do with the Theosophical Society, but it does indeed have an extremely important and profound meaning. The hexagram reveals the mystery of the septenary and refers to the true and proper practice to be performed. Note particularly how the upward pointing triangle is yellow where usually one finds red in most alchemical drawings. This is highly significant, as it represents a very important detail in practice, which must be always considered in this particular spiritual practice.

Finally, I add that this particular Golden Dawn practice of our Third Order may also be ritualised in the Vault of the Adepti as well.

Let he who has an ear, hear. Let he who has an eye, see. For the Sons of Hermes speak the truth and plainly for one with ears and eyes.

Thus we see clearly the true reason that Golden Dawn Reconstructionists are so aggressive towards traditional Golden Dawn orders like the AO. The Reconstructionists remain ignorant of the actual SPIRITUAL PRACTICES hidden in all of the symbology of the Golden Dawn. Consequently, they remain lost in a labyrinth of academic research and sterile speculation.

Since the racist SRIA is trying to set itself up as a faux Third Order, stirring strife, and interfering in the Golden Dawn community for two decades, selectively releasing archival documents to GD Raeconstructionists, one would expect that the SRIA would also be able to transmit the secret SPIRITUAL PRACTICES encoded in the rites and symbols of the Golden Dawn. If the anti-Semetic SRIA is the real Third Order, let them explain to us what the SPIRITUAL PRACTICE is encoded in this painting by Moina Mathers. If the true meaning of the "0=0" was too difficult a test for them, at least they should be able to pass this one.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its parent order, the Rosicrucian Order of AO is today the only Golden Dawn order under the direct guidance and protection of the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order of the Golden Dawn in Continental Europe. As such, we have access to the ENTIRE curriculum and SPIRITUAL PRACTICES of all grades of all Three Orders of the Golden Dawn system.

We have already begun to share this incredible knowledge with Adepts of orders from across the Golden Dawn community. We have no problem in sharing these teachings and spiritual practices with other Golden Dawn orders. We have no interest in manipulating or controlling anyone. We are not like the SRIA. We want to see the Golden Dawn thrive as a diverse community. We ask only that aggressive Reconstructionists agree to keep traditional secrecy and respect the sanctity of oath bound material as has always been the case in the Golden Dawn, and that you live and let live, and end your misguided Witch Hunt against traditional Golden Dawn orders like the AO.


  1. A very excellent article. Thank you for contributing a scholarly analysis of the surveyed material.

    I hope the detractors attempt to answer the questions posed, so that we may learn more of this fascinating material in these further discussions.

  2. Great article! And those with eyes to see- may hopefully see.

  3. This is wonderful! Thank you.

    Pax et LVX

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