Thursday, January 31, 2013

Golden Dawn Leaders Speak Out (Part 2): Astral Initiation & Self Initiation

In Part 1 of this article (here), we have seen how proponents of Astral-only Initiation claim that a group or people (or a Temple) can initiate a person by perfoming a ritual somewhere else for a person separated by geographical distance, allegedly initiating the candidate by reading off their name in Temple during the ritual and that other claims made by proponents of Astral-only initiation include:
  1. Astral Initiation accomplishes everything that traditional Golden Dawn initiation does
  2. The original (pre 1903) Golden Dawn practiced Astral Initiation.
  3. Critics of Astral-only Initiation do not understand that all magick takes place on the Astral Plane.
  4. Astral Initiation helps those who would otherwise not have access to Golden Dawn initiation.
My primary objection to Astral-only initiation has been the less than honest manner that it has been protrayed. For example I wrote here, that my objection arises...:
"...when modern innovations like Astral Initiation get misrepresented to the public as traditional or classical Golden Dawn practices. It is the dishonesty that is most destructive."

In regard to confusion caused by proponents of Astral-only initiation, Donald Michael Kraig wrote here:
"The thing I don’t like is when people pay dues, read some papers, do no work, pay for various “astral initiations,” and then claim to be experts with high levels of initiation. They make real occultists and initiates look foolish and bad." 
There is one aspect of the traditional Golden Dawn Neophyte initiation for which I have been repeatedly criticized by proponents of Astral-only initiation. Nonetheless, I remain convinced that not to continue to point this out in this article would be grossly irresponsible.

Traditional Golden Dawn initiations are even more powerful than many people yet seem to realize and there are very real spiritual dangers involved.

To my knowledge, other scholars in our community still have not yet written on this aspect of Golden Dawn initiation. The G.D. Neophyte initiation is based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead. When properly performed this Initiation actually separates and reintegrates the constituent spiritual parts of the candidate.

This is no light undertaking. The spiritual importance of this, and the spiritual danger involved has not yet received due attention by scholars in our community. The spiritual danger is made clear by the rising of the "evil persona" of the candidate at the foot of the altar, threatening to devour the candidate at his or her most vulnerable point in the initiation.

In the figure above, from the chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, this is symbolized by Ammit the devourer, the combined animal figure at the far right of the illustration. Ammit is there to devour the heart if it is weighed heavier than the weight of a feather. The threatening "evil persona" of the candidate is magically subdued for him or her by the skilled Hierophant, when the Hierophant advances and proclaims:

"I come in the Power of the Light.
I come in the Light of Wisdom.
I come in the Mercy of the Light.
The Light hath Healing in its Wings."

I have written about this many times, for example, here:
"There are no short cuts and True Golden Dawn Initiation should not be undertaken lightly, as True Initiation involves the ritual separation and reintegration of a candidate's physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects to give birth to a higher and more balanced spiritual form and awareness.
This process is fraught with danger even under the best of circumstances. With candidates physically present and protected within the safety of a legitimate Golden Dawn temple, however, these dangers can be overcome by a highly trained and skilled Hierophant. 
To deceive oneself that the same result can be achieved alone or with a candidate sitting in another city or on the other end of the world, however, is [in light of my many years of initiatic experience] inviting spiritual disaster."
Proponents of Astral-only Initiation additionally claim that Astral-only Initiation meets the needs those who would otherwise not be able to contact the spirit of the order. To this Nick Farrell replies:
"So ... 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."
This supports my own conclusion, based on my independent research, that Astral-only initiation does not satisfactorily meet the needs of those who would otherwise not be able to contact the spirit of the order.

When it comes to Astral Initiation there is another essential point that has been made by advanced Magicians, like Donald Michael Kraig and Nick Farrell, based on their many years of experience. I have until now specifically avoided making any public statement on this subject at all.

Donald Michael Kraig writes:
"But are they valid within the Western Mystery Tradition?
If you take someone with little or no training and tell them to visualize walking around a triangle (as I was for an Order a long time ago), the answer is decidedly NO!
If you take someone with a great deal of training, knowledge, and experience, the answer might be yes."
Nick Farrell writes:
“The Theosophists believed in astral (or mental) initiations, but the candidate was supposed to be able to consciously “travel? in his astral or mental body to a temple were Masters would initiate him.”
Which goes to show that even by the rules of “astral initiation” the way it is being done in most groups is completely wrong as it requires a high level of experience before the candidate can do it."
I have avoided commenting on this until present because my words have so frequently been misinterpreted or misrepresented by proponents of Astral-only Initiation. I therefore refrained from  elaborating on this subject at all.

In reality, however, the conclusions that both Donald Michael Kraig and Nick Farrell state above fully concur with my own conclusions, based on two decades of independent research and on Alpha Omega teachings.

There do indeed exist such advanced methods, not only in the East, but also in the Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions here in the West, of which the Alpha Omega is one important emanation. As this spiritual practice remains oath-bound, I can not comment on the actual methodology.

This much I can say, however. In the Alpha Omega, an Adept can and does eventually receive higher initiatic teachings on the Upper Astral, in other words, in the realm of dreams. To be able to do this correctly, however, the advanced Adept must have first:
  1. have fully cultivated their Lunar Body,
  2. have achieved the Albedo state of awakening in the world of dreams,
  3. have achieved the first alchemical separation, which permits the projection of the Lunar body in the Upper Astral (the Inner Plane where dreams occur).
To avoid a host of odd new claims that could otherwise arise from this statement, I must also clarify that, just as in the published Golden Dawn material there are means of testing visions obtained by Skrying in the Spirit Vision into the Lower Astral, in the Alpha Omega there exist yet more certain tests to measure the veracity of teachings received while Lunar projecting into the Upper Astral.

The specific techniques to cultivate the Lunar body, to separate it, to project it into the Upper Astral, and how to test these visions are all taught in the higher grades of the Alpha Omega beyond the well known material published by Israel Regardie.

In parts one and two of this article, we have heard positions on Astral-only initiation from a plethora of voices from all across the Golden Dawn community. In every instance, they have concurred with the results of my own independent research over the past two decades.

So what is my present position on Astral-only initiation, after 20 years in the Golden Dawn?

The old adage states that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Perhaps this is true for Astral-only Initiation. If there is a way to perform initiations in this way, however, it is one by which few aspirants would be either willing or capable of performing.

The method itself cannot be disclosed; even the mention of its existence may be stretching what is permissible. What can be said is there are things in the Golden Dawn System of Magic that simply are not available in print, should not be, and hopefully never will be. 

This is why the Outer Order is a place to discover trustworthy Adepts to whom advanced Magic can eventually be entrusted. This fight over the possibility of Astral-only Initiation has always made me uncomfortable because it places me in a conflict between either lying or revealing too much.

It is enough to state that all things are possible but not using any of the information freely available thus far in time. Having revealed enough, I return to my steadfast position that Astral-only Initiation is not a part of the Golden Dawn in the Outer.

But what about all the Golden Dawn "Astral Initiates" already out there needing guidance today? Astral Initiates will be happy to know that the new programs we have created for Self-Initiates and Solitary  aspiring Magicians will better meet YOUR needs as well.

Speaking of which, what about Self-Initiation?

To begin with, Golden Dawn scholar, Sam Scarborough, has some interesting things to say about this. Sam Scarborough writes:
I’ve had the pleasure of being initiated physically, long-distance (astral), and through Self-Initiation. I can say of the three that the least that affect me on any level was the long-distance initiation. 
With both my physical and self-initiation I had a much more profound emotional affect.
... and ...
The bottom line, is that self-initiation works on all levels of initiation. It provides a phyical place and energy, it works on the astral, as the initiate through working the material builds up the astral component, and finally it works on an etheric level by implanting the symbols of the current within the sphere of sensation of the person undergoing the SI. This is especially true of those that have made all of the needed tools and temple furniture for their SI, as making those is a meditation into the symbolism and function of the tool in question, which helps the SI person to better link to the energies of the GD current.
To clarify my position, I must state agsin that I concur with Sam Scarborough and other Golden Dawn community leaders that just about ANYTHING is better than Astral-only Initiation the way it has been  sold and misrepresented on the Internet.

Even Self-Initiation, with all of its drawbacks, is certainly a better option!

If you would have asked me about Self-Initiation eighteen years ago, when Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Praemonstratrix, Cris Monnastre, first appointed me HOGD Imperator, I would have told you: "Self-Initiation is as impossible as self-psychotherapy."

My position has evolved since then though. You can read more about this herehere, and here.

It is not like I just woke up one morning and suddenly decided that Self-initiation is a great thing though. I still do not believe that. It is more like accepting that people have been receiving so much bad information for so long that I can’t put that genie back in the bottle. 

Self-initiation is such an inefficient approach to becoming a Magician that I wanted to do all in my power to convince people to avoid it. Working from my previous metaphor, if I had a son that was considering hitchhiking across country, I would do everything in my power to dissuade him. Why? Because it is inefficient, unnecessarily time-consuming, and dangerous! 

Self-initiation is similar. But, if my son said he was doing it and nothing I say will stop him, I will then try to give him as much information as possible to do it safely. It will still take him way too long. It is still a poor method of long-distance transportation. It is still dangerous.

I read once that ‘experience is a harsh task-master, but some people will learn in no other way.’ Thanks to irresponsible Magicians, many beginners today think Self-Initiation is best approach for them. I can’t undo the damage so I am instead committed to reducing the risk.

This is why the Alpha Omega has launched a host of new programs for Solitary Practitioners, Self-Initiates, and Astral Initiates:
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - the outer order of the Alpha Omega gives you complete training in Ritual Magic with good coaching, as well as a structured program to master all of the published Golden Dawn material using the latest methods of modern on-line Universities. HOGD also gives you access to physical initiation in our fully chartered and licensed Golden Dawn temples.  
Personal Temples: The Alpha Omega encourages Self-Initiates and Solitary Practiioners to create Personal Altars and Temples. We are putting them on the map for you here on the Golden Dawn blog and publishing photos of independent Altars and Temples around the world. 
Self-Initiation: The A.O. teaches how the goal of Golden Dawn Initiation and Magic is to strengthen the energetic body and to awaken the Elemental, Planetary, Zodiacal, and Sephirothic Magical Forces in the "Sphere of Sensation" of the aspiring Magician, and are providing the techniques necessary to attempt this on one's own.
Magical Tools: The A.O. teaches how traditional Golden Dawn Magical Tools are created by publishing photographs of Israel Regardie's tools from the A.O.'s Golden Dawn Museum. 
Ritual Magic 101 Coaching Webinars: The A.O. brings solid Ritual Magic teaching and coaching to self-taught Magicians all around the world. 
2012 Golden Dawn World Tour: The Alpha Omega makes Ritual Magic instruction and coaching - as well as tradtional Golden Dawn initiation - available in at least 5 countries over the next year - up close and personal. 
Ritual Magic 101 Workshops: brings magical coaching up close and personal. 
Ritual Magic 101 Private Coaching: The Alpha Omega offers private Ritual Magic coaching with David Griffin both in-person and via Skype.
Ritual  Magic 101 Coaching Dojo: The Alpha Omega offers bi-weekly group Ritual Magic practice - dojo style  - with David Griffin - beginning January 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada at Well of the Moon Pagan Bookstore.
Ritual  Magic 101 Training Videos: The Alpha Omega offers free Ritual Magic training videos both on the Golden Dawn YouTube Channel and soon to be on the new GoldenDawn.TV website as well, along with soon to be released other new training aids.
Traditional Golden Dawn Initiation: The A.O. offers traditional G.D. initiation in our international network of traditional Golden Dawn temples - as well as part of the Golden Dawn World Tour.
Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Astral-Only Initiation: Golden Dawn Leaders Speak Out (Part 1)

The discussion regarding the benefits and limitations of "Astral-only" Initiation has gone on for years in the Golden Dawn community. The fundamental question is whether or not anyone can be exclusively astrally initiated at a distance.

Proponents of Astral-only initiation claim that a group or people (or a Temple) can initiate a person by perfoming a ritual somewhere else for a person separated by geographical distance, allegedly initiating the candidate by reading off their name in Temple during the ritual. Other claims made by proponents of Astral-only initiation include:
  1. Astral Initiation accomplishes everything that traditional Golden Dawn initiation does
  2. The original (pre 1903) Golden Dawn practiced Astral Initiation.
  3. Critics of Astral-only Initiation do not understand that all magick takes place on the Astral Plane.
  4. Astral Initiation helps those who would otherwise not have access to Golden Dawn initiation.
Let's examine what various leaders and members of the Golden Dawn community have said about these claims over the years. To begin with, Donald Michael Kraig, in a new article entitled Ritual and Ritual Theater recently wrote here:
"Some events are both ritual and ritual theater. For example, in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, initiation rituals involved a group of officers and the initiate. However, there could also be an audience that participated very little in the ritual. So the actual initiation is both ritual and ritual theater. The involvement of others and their energy, as well as the initiate seeing the activity of others and of the temple, makes the very concept of “astral initiations” into the Golden Dawn dubious at best."
There have been numerous other voices in the Golden Dawn community who have spoken out about the ritual theater aspect of Golden Dawn initiation over the years. In March, 2009 Open Source Golden Dawn Chief, Joseph Max, wrote in a post that you can still read here):
"The Hall of the Neophytes is full of much interlocking symbolism designed to have a specific effect on the Aspirant at the point at which they "light up.". Any ritual of High Magic is a work of psycho-dramatic performance art. All Ritual is Drama, as all Drama is Ritual (ask the ancient Greeks.) It is powerful Magic in and of itself.  
So... if the Awakening of the Body of Light *is* Initiation (the first one anyway,) it doesn't matter how it comes about, even spontaneously. But *Golden Dawn* Initiation is a sub-set of this phenomena; it's aimed in a definite and unique direction down a particular Path of Attainment. It comes from the Neo-Platonic tradition of Ritual Drama, so the powerful effects of psycho-drama are part of the system. It's a "play" performed for an "audience" of one. 
Therefore the question comes down to: can a Golden Dawn Initiation, that will effectively awaken the Body of Light AND point the Aspirant down the unique Path the Golden Dawn School follows, be accomplished *without* the live dramatic component, and the personal involvement of the Aspirant in that performance? 
Personally speaking, I think it would be difficult. It's certainly possible to accomplish psycho-dramatic impact with solo visualization (in fact it's one of the things a Golden Dawn school teaches,) but for a rank beginner without any background to do it? That would be a rare talent." 
On the question of the ritual theater aspect of Golden Dawn initiation, Alpha Omega Adept, Sincerus Renatus writes here:
"The ritual is a drama, a play, which also has as a function to impart a though form or cognitive structure into the candidate, a theme so to speak, which gives a tone or atmosphere for the Grade. This has to be experienced live and in person, not read through or imagined in the inner eye. Compare this to reading a novel and watching a stage play; two legitimate artistic expressions but quite different in nature and quality. Full and physical initiation is a stage play of old Greek dramatic proportions."
On this same subject, Golden Dawn member, "Polimetis," writes here:
"[Proponents of Astral-only initiation] always argue that 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 comes directly from the Dyonisian and Eleusinian Mysteries, and Tragic Festivals continued to be 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'll 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!" 
I am pleased to see that not only Donald Michael Kraig's independent research, based on so many years of magical experience, but also the independent research of Joseph Max, Sincerus Renatus, and Polimetis support my own conclusion that Astral-only Initiation does not accomplish everything that traditional Golden Dawn initiation does.

Let us move on to examine the claim made by proponents of Astral-only initiation that the original (pre 1903) Golden Dawn practiced Astral Initiation.

Noted magical author, Nick Farrell (Chief Adept of the Magical Order of Aurora Aurorae), writes here:
"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..."
"Occam’s razor tells us that if all the evidence suggests that we have to assume that it is logical that the Golden Dawn did not perform astral initiations." 
Golden Dawn scholar, Samuel Scarborough, chief of the Ordo Stella Matutina Golden Dawn writes here:
"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."
I am pleased to see that again the independent research of Nick Farrell and Sam Scarborough support my conclusion that the original (pre 1903) Golden Dawn did not practice Astral-only Initiation. There appears to be a wide consensus in the Golden Dawn community regarding claims made by proponents of Astral-only initiation.

Let us move on to examine their claim that critics of Astral-only Initiation do not understand that all magick takes place on the Astral Plane.

In this regard, Nick Farrell says here:

"Physical initiations 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. I would say that it would take a supremely good magician (angelic being, or secret chief) to be able to do that. I do not think that simply performing the ritual with a stand-in is enough."
On Nick Farrell's blog, Golden Dawn member, "Magician," also addresses this claim here:

"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."
I have addressed this issue numerous times over the years as well. For example, I write here:
"No one is disputing that there is an astral component to both initiation and magick. However, what proponents of Astral Initiation do not understand is that this astral element is rooted in the physical body. They reach a completely erroneous conclusion that, merely because an astral component is there in initiation, they can make you a full Golden Dawn initiate from the comfort of your armchair on the other end of the world..."
Proponents of Astral Initiation allege that it accomplishes everything traditional, physical Golden Dawn initiation does. Golden Dawn leader, Peregrin Wildoak comments in this regard here:
"I do think since the GD initiations were designed for phsyicality, and some of the important parts are done physicially, the control a phsyical initiation has to produce an inner experience for the initiate is beyond anything an astral initiation can do."

Donald Michael Kraig writes here:
"The true astral initiation occurs when both you and the higher initiation forces/energies/spirits of the group are ready for it to happen. No sooner. No later. The physical initiation may help it occur sooner, perhaps simultaneous to the physical initiation. But because so many people these days want to be initiated, some groups have specialized in offering astral initiations. But are they valid within the Western Mystery Tradition? 
If you take someone with little or no training and tell them to visualize walking around a triangle (as I was for an Order a long time ago), the answer is decidedly NO!" 
... and ...
"This means that although so-called “astral initiations” sold to you may make you a member of a group (and allowed to pay them nice big yearly or monthly dues), on a spiritual basis it usually is meaningless."
Nick Farrell adds here:
"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 has this to say here:
"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."
Alpha Omega's, V.H. Frater P. commented here:
"What i miss in this debate is the simple fact that, apart from the energetic transmission from the Hierophant unto the candidate, it is impossible to impregnate the MIND of the candidate with the physical symbols that are displayed in these ceremonies. For doing this, the candidate has to be physically present, and able to use his eyes! Moreover, by blindfolding him/her and exposing him to a dramatic procedure, his mind is made extra sensitive and absorptive. This is an ancient technique."
I am pleased to see that yet again, the independent research of a wide cross-section of the Golden Dawn community, including Donald Michael Kraig, Peregrin Wildoak, Nick Farrell, Sam Scarborough, and other Golden Dawn members, based on many years of initiatic experience, support my own conclusion that the astral aspect of initiation does not at all negate the necessity and importance of the physical aspect of initiation. I have spoken out on this many times in the past, for example here:
"It has been argued that there is always an "astral" element in any genuine Golden Dawn initiation. This is true in the limited sense that the energetic or "astral" body of the candidate is always ultimately impacted by the initiation. In other words, the initiation ritual works on many levels and affects not merely the physical body of the candidate. This does not mean, however, that the actual physical presence of the candidate is not required."
... and here:
"There is an actual transmission of energies from the physical body of the initiating Hierophant to the physical body of the initiate. To fully transmit these energies and fully awaken the LVX current in the energetic body of the candidate is extremely difficult to fully accomplish even under the best of circumstances - with the candidate physically present in the temple."
To be continued ...

Don't miss Part 2 coming soon on the Golden Dawn Blog!
Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ritual Magick 101: The Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

Nick Farrell recently republished in interesting article, entitled "In Defense of the Lesser Invoking Pentagram." You can read this article here.

Nick raises several interesting points in the article and, as usual, his style is highly entertaining. Farrell's basic premise is that the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is overused in contemporary Golden Dawn orders and the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram is underused.

In the Alpha Omega, because first and foremost, we make Magicians, our approach to Golden Dawn magick is admittedly somewhat different than in other Golden Dawn orders. It is therefore not surprising that my position regarding the pentagram rituals is somewhat different than that of Nick Farrell, as well as of leaders of other Golden Dawn orders.

First and foremost, the Alpha Omega is the only Golden Dawn order whose students study and practice Ritual Magic already in our outer order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. All other Golden Dawn orders, including Mr. Farrell's M.O.A.A., require students to wait four or five years until they reach the Second Order, before they are assisted with the magical practice of anything other than the Middle Pillar of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram.

Therefore, since there is no other Magick in the Outer Orders of other Golden Dawn groups in our community, is is only natural that they give greater importance  than we do in the Alpha Omega to the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram. Our Outer Order magicians have a larger tool kit to work with and have a broader Magical skill set than in other outer Golden Dawn orders.

This does not mean, however, that we do not at all use the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram in the Alpha Omega. We do use it, however, for very specific purposes. In the A.O., for example, we use the L.I.R.P. to raise energy in the temple in the early part of the Neophyte and Equinox Rituals.

Here is a video of one Alpha Omega temple performing the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram in the early phase of the Neophyte (0=0) Ritual.

The primary purpose of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega is the help aspiring Magicians "to become more than human." In the A.O., our goal in making Magicians is for our students to eventually complete the Opus Magnum, or Great Work. This we understand according to its classic meaning in the Hermetic tradition - the cultivation of a Solar Body of Light, with its attendant higher consciousness through energetic evolution. In short, the Alpha Omega teaches how to "grow Soul" using Ritual Magic and Alchemy.

In the Hermetic tradition, "Soul" is not some abstract concept. It is our energetic essence that survives death, which lies dormant and undeveloped in the vast majority of human beings.

The Golden Dawn method to accomplish this energetic awakening and Soul development involves primarily two things: to charge the energetic body with energy and to purify that energy. The Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and the Rite of the Middle Pillar are techniques used to charge the energetic body. The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram serves to purify the energy. Here is a video of an Alpha Omega temple performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

In the early Golden Dawn, prior to Crowley and Regardie having published much of the Golden Dawn's second order Magick, the L.I.R.P., the L.B.R.P., and the Middle Pillar were the only Magical techniques given to aspiring Magicians during their entire time in the Outer Order. This remains the case today in all Golden Dawn orders except the Alpha Omega. Since the goal of the Alpha Omega is to make magicians, our outer order Magicians use the entire published Golden Dawn system of Magick already in our undergraduate level outer order, the H.O.G.D.

The reason for this lies hidden in the method to accomplish Soul growth and energetic awakening lies in the initiation rituals of the Elemental Grades of the Golden Dawn's outer order, which are still consistently used all across the Golden Dawn community.

Using these initiations, the Magical Forces of elemental Earth, Air, Water, and Fire are awakened in the Initiate's "Sphere of Sensation" (energetic body, or "Soul") one at a time, then balanced and equilibrated with the element of Spirit in the Golden Dawn's Portal Grade.

The Golden Dawn's system of Ritual Magic does not stop there, however, and neither does beginner's training in the Alpha Omega.

Golden Dawn Ritual Magic systematically awakens in the energetic "Soul" body, not only the Magical Forces of the Elements, but also of the Planets, the Zodiacal signs, and of the Sephiroth.

In the Alpha Omega, we use this system of Astrological Magic as the primary tool for energetic "Soul" growth for beginning Magicians in our First Order (undergradute level).

In this system, the Rite of the Middle Pillar serves to strengthen the energetic "Soul" by charging it with LVX energy (called chi, kundalini, etc. in the East).

The purpose of systematic and repeated invocation of Magical Forces (Elements, Planets, etc.) in Ritual Magic, is to awaken and balance all the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Golden Dawn Magician. The systematic awakening of the celestial Forces in the energetic "Soul" of the Magician is symbolized by the Rose of Spirit (the energetic "Soul") blossoming upon the Cross of Matter (the physical body).

Thus, since Alpha Omega Magicians have a larger magical tool kit in the outer order than do members of other Golden Dawn orders, beginning A.O. Magicians do not need to rely so heavily on the Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram as they are in other Golden Dawn orders, such as Mr. Farrell's M.O.A.A. The L.I.R.P. merely charges the energetic body of the Magician or Temple with a lower voltage of L.V.X. than the Middle Pillar. A.O. Magicians instead invoke the actual magical Forces of the Elements, Planets, and signs of the Zodiac, then charge their energetic bodies with the invoked Force using the Middle Pillar ritual.

Thus, in the A.O., our students use the L.I.R.P. primarily as a rapid substitute on occasions when there is not time for a full Middle Pillar, such as in the morning when getting ready for work and A.O. temples use the L.I.R.P. as a general invocation when opening the Temple in the Neophyte grade as was shown above (Note that in the A.O. the LIRP is always preceded and followed by the LBRP for purification reasons).

In conclusion, let me remind you that I am not saying there are no other ways of working with Golden Dawn Magic. There is a big difference in the methods used, however, from one Golden Dawn order to the other, as well as in their respective training goals.

In the Alpha Omega, our training methods are geared for our goal to make Magicians faster and easier and for our students to rapidly and fully cultivate their immortal Solar bodies. This why, unlike other Golden Dawn orders, the A.O. teaches students Ritual Magic from day one. It is also why our entire Magical and Alchemical Curriculum is finely honed for the fastest and easiest energetic "Soul growth" possible.

I am not saying the Alpha Omega is superior to other Golden Dawn or Rosicrucian orders. We merely have different goals - and as a consequence - we use different training methods.

Click HERE to explore our Ritual Magic training program for beginners, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Think different.

Alpha Omega
Because we make Magicians!

Monday, January 21, 2013

EXPOSED: Vatican Conspiracy and Pagan Roots (Answer to Ronald Hutton)

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

"Our lives begin to end ...
... the day we become silent about things that matter!" 
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Triumph of the Moon (1) is a monumental study for which Professor Ronald Hutton deserves accolades regarding the origins of Wicca in Southern England. 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 Frazier and Charles G. Leland, and the Golden Dawn, with membership drawn in part from the Naturist (Nudist) movement in England.

Dr. Ronald Hutton
Prof. Hutton clearly states in Triumph that the scope of his study is limited to Wicca in Southern England. My primary objection to Dr. Hutton's methods is the manner in which he, in later chapters of Triumph, makes sweeping and unsubstantiated generalizations about the lack of survival of elements of ancient Paganism in Continental Europe - without providing a single shred of historical data to to back up such pronouncements that completely violate the stated scope of Hutton's otherwise fine study.

That Hutton apparently disproved the origin claims of the antiquity of WICCA in BRITAIN is one thing. That he makes unsubstantiated, sweeping judgements about the rest of the European continent outside his study area is quite another matter.

Another significant problem with Hutton's conclusions, in my opinion, is Hutton's overly anglo-centered world view. Put most simply, Prof. Hutton's writing all too often conflates Wicca in Britain with Witchcraft and Paganism in the rest of the world.

Thirdly, if Hutton truly discounts "oral tradition" as he has repeatedly stated, why does he rely so heavily on it in Chapter 20 of Triumph?

Finally, my most important objection to Triumph is the way that Hutton cites personal anecdote as though it were anthropological data. Hutton may be a respected historian, but he is not an anthropologist and lacks training in the rigors of the ethnographic method. Hutton's attempt at the anthropological method is clearly outside his field of expertise.

Had Hutton not violated the stated scope of "Triumph of the Moon" and had he not tried to play anthropologist by presenting personal anecdote and conjecture as though it were data, Triumph might have completely deserved the fauning praise it has gotten over the years. Sadly, however, as a fatal flaw, Hutton violated several fundamental rules of academia in an otherwise fine study.

I have repeatedly raised these and other objections to Professor Hutton's methods and conclusions on numerous previous occasions (for example, hereherehere, here, here, here, and here). It is noteworthy that Professor Hutton even today fails to properly address objections to his methods and conclusions according to established academic protocols, instead derisively disparaging his critics with remarks like:

"[It is remarkable that] counter-revisionism is represented most prominently by men, who often employ a very testosterone- rich language of swagger and taunt." (2)

Max Dashu
Such remarks are by no means unusual from Dr. Hutton in relating to his critics. Hutton's disparaging behavior toward independent Pagan researchers like, for example, Max Dashu and Don Frew is well known throughout the Pagan community.

Don Frew
Instead of actually addressing objections to his methods and conclusions, Hutton instead has merely made the same sweeping and unsubstantiated pronouncements over and over like a broken record. While such methods are stock and staple of the rough and tumble world of political propaganda, they have no place in legitimate academic discourse.

"If the service is free, you are not the customer.
You are the product!" - Internet meme

For example, Dr. Hutton just published a "free" article in the latest issue of the Pomegranate Pagan journal, entitled "Revisionism and Counter-Revisionism in Pagan History." In this article, Hutton writes:
"No evidence was found in Europe of a self-conscious Pagan religion surviving the formal conversion of a state to Christianity. A large number of meticulously researched  local studies of the early modern witch trials found no solid evidence that its members had been practitioners of such a religion." (3) 
Regarding actual evidence in the early witch trials of survival of elements of Paganism since antiquity, Professor Paolo Portone, president of the CIRE institute of ethno-historical research, has made some relevant points in his article, "Aradia, Myth and Reality of Witchcraft" (4), which I translated into English and you can read here.

This article presents evidence, contrary to Hutton's above statement, regarding how the myth of the "evil witch" was made up by the Inquisition out of whole cloth from the remnants in Italy of the Pagan cult of Diana, the Lady of the Game, or Domina Ludi. Portone's argument is compelling, taken directly from the trials of Sibilla and Pierina before the Inquisitor of Milan, first in 1384 and then again in 1390.

Additional evidence is presented in Prof. Portone's article entitled Magical Ointment and the Night Flight of Witches (Hypothesis on the Presence of Shamanic Rituals in Medieval and Modern Europe), (5) which I translated into English and you can read here. Professor Portone has presented important additional evidence regarding Pagan survival from antiquity from the witch trials in his new book which I am presently translating for him entitled La Strega e il Crocifisso. (6)

Merely because Dr. Hutton and the revisionist historical camp have failed to find "evidence" of Pagan survival in continental Europe, this certainly does not mean that such evidence never existed nor that it does not continue to exist even today. There are several major problems with such narrowly defined "evidence."
  1. The evidence Hutton claims does not exist was supressed and actively destroyed by the Catholic church for many centuries and continues to be so destroyed even today.
  2. The descendants of any surviving Pagan traditions in Europe outside of Britain certainly must have gone deeply underground in order not to be killed. 
  3. Any written evidence of the type admissible to historians could have meant certain death to any surviving Pagans.
  4. This means that the tradition could only have survived orally and hidden in numerous places. 
  5. Such oral evidence comprises anthropological rather than historical data. 
  6. Thus the historical method is not the correct modality with which to interpret the data to begin with.
  7. Historians like Dr. Hutton have been looking for the wrong kind of data in the wrong places. Were I to look for fish in the sand rather than in the sea, I could, using Dr. Hutton's methods, likewise claim that no evidence of fish had been found, and suggest even that fish appear to have become extinct, when in reality I have been looking in the wrong place and using incorrect methods all along.
Thus, Hutton and other historical revisionists may be technically correct, but only if we accept their extraordinarily limited definition of what constitutes "evidence." In fact, I have no doubt that Professor Hutton's claim that "No evidence was found in Europe of a self-conscious Pagan religion surviving the formal conversion of a state to Christianity", certainly DOES represent the wishful thinking of the Vatican, which has done everything possible for centuries to ensure that such "evidence" does not continue to exist. Nonetheless, Hutton's statement above proves nothing more than that the relevant data falls outside the purview of the historical method.

Hutton continues:
"The present fuss over revisionism in Pagan history is not a debate in the normal sense, because the counter-revisionists have not invited supporters of revisionism to a discussion: rather, they have sought instead to persuade other Pagans to stop believing those supporters. It is not clear what they are supposed to believe instead, because no counter-revisionist history has been developed: the implication of the attacks is that the traditional story is somehow correct after all, but it is never explained exactly how." (7)
The above statement is not entirely accurate, unless Hutton is deliberately excluding anthropological data from his "discussion." A new body of anthropological evidence in support of Pagan survival has recently emerged through Italian anthropological informants, Diana and Dianus del Bosco Sacro, presently being vetted by independent anthropological researcher, Leslie McQuade, to be presented for peer review before the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness.

A glimpse into this fresh data was recently published by Dianus del Bosco Sacro in the article entitled "The Great Rite, Hermeticism, and the Shamanic-Pagan Tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi." (6)

As I translated this article for publication in the latest journal of the Institute of Comparative Magico-Anthropology, I am reproducing the translator's introduction below due to its high relevance to the in refiuting Dr. Hutton's revisionist historical position.

The Great Rite, Hermeticism, and the
Shamanic-Pagan Tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi
as revealed by
Dianus del Bosco Sacro
Grand Conservator of the Sacred Forest Tradition
as authorized by
Diana del Bosco Sacro di Nemi e Benevento
38th Arch Priestess of the Sacred Forest Tradition
translated and Introduced by
David Griffin
Guardian of the Mysteries of the Sacred Forest

Translator’s Introduction
Dr. Ronald Hutton's historical tome, "Triumph of the Moon," examined the modern origins of Wicca in the British Isles, demolishing the belief of most Neo-Pagans in any substantial Pagan survival from antiquity. The unexpected reemergence from Italy last year of the previously occulted Shamanic-Pagan tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi, therefore understandably generated a certain amount controversy in the Neo-Pagan community.

The present article, written by Dianus del Bosco Sacro, details for the first time how Hermetic alchemists, from a hidden Partenopean initiatic center, secretly preserved essential elements of ancient Paganism from the Inquisition during the dark age of Christianity. During the course of Dianus’ exposition, we shall witness how the sexual mysteries of The Geat Rite comprise an unexpected and omnipresent Ariadne’s thread, demonstrating the  continuity of Pagan elements from the most ancient times until today.

Throughout history, we encounter the same, sublime sexual mysteries again and again, albeit clothed in ever changing symbols: from the rites of Dionysos, Diana, and Janus to sexual mysteries depicted in the frescoes the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii and their impact on Gerald Gardner and the Great Rite of Wicca – from the rich symbolism of Hermetic alchemy to the sexual mysteries encoded in Charles Godfrey Leland’s “Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches.”

According to the lore of the Shamanic-Pagan tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi, The Great Rite first arose with the ancient shamanism and sacerdotal lineages of the Great Mother Goddess in Continental Europe. While these primordial sexual mysteries were preserved along Matriarchal lines in Europe, they also spread to Sumeria, Babylon, and Egypt, where over time they evolved into the Royal Art of Alchemy.

Following the conquest of Egypt, the sexual mysteries of alchemy were carried to Rome by Priests of Isis. Arriving along the Partenopean coast in Naples, Cuma, and Pompei, this masculine Priesthood encountered the great Pagan Matriarchs. These Patriarchal- alchemical and Matriarchal-sacerdotal-shamanic lineages immediately recognized their sexual mysteries to be so similar, they could only have arisen from a common source.

Thus began the intimate collaboration between Pagan Matriarchs and Hermetic Masters, which would endure occulted for many Centuries. So it came to pass that, when the Pagan Matriarchs faced eradication at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church, they found sanctuary in the Parthenopean initiatic school of Hermetic Masters.

Most historians and anthropologists, it turns out, have been looking in the wrong places for evidence of Pagan survival since antiquity. For the real evidence lies not amongst folk magic and cunning folk, but masked in the symbols of Hermetic alchemy.
With the article introduced above, an important new track supporting the notion of ancient Pagan survival has emerged, presented by vetted anthropological informants. This is, however, a line of research that will require objective and dispassionate follow up in pursuit of truth, as this new information requires, to properly evaluate the data, a mastery of the secret alchemical "language of the birds," the symbolical language which reveals the deepest secrets of Hermetic alchemy only to the eyes of the initiate.

In conclusion, I must ask:
  1. Are Professor Hutton and the historical raevisionist camp actually interested in historical truth regarding Pagan survival since antiquity - or do some of them have a hidden agenda?
  2. Is it mere coincidence that the positions of Professor Hutton's revisionist camp so perfectly support the long term interests of the Vatican - that no evidence of Pagan survival from antiquity should have survived?
  3. What IS then the actual bias of Dr. Hutton and the other revisionist historians?
I personally think that Pagans lose an extremely precious aspect of their religious faith when they are deprived of the historical roots of their religion in the ancient past, especially since vetted anthropological informants now state that this includes a still surviving INITIATIC Pagan heritage.

If historical roots are unimportant, then why does Catholic Christian doctrine cling so tenaciously to a myth of the historicity of the life of Jesus Christ, despite the absence of any substantial concrete historical evidence?

Indeed, if historical roots are unimportant, then why has the Vatican over the centuries gone to such lengths to destroy all evidence of survival of any remnants of ancient Paganism?

Finally, who stands to benefit most from a popular belief among contemporary Pagans that they have but a newly invented religion without any surviving, substantial historical roots in antiquity?

After all, does a tree deprived of its roots not quickly die?

Are we to allow our Pagan roots in antiquity to become mere dead objects of historical curiosity, hidden away to collect dust in some Vatican museum?

It is important to understand that research is NEVER written without bias. It is not an intentional bias; it is just a fact that our perception of the world damages our ability to examine it from any other perspective. References to this fact are given below.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods applications. London: Sage.

Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2008). The craft of research (3rd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Van de Ven, A. H. (2007). Engaged Scholarship: A Guide for Organizational and Social Research: Oxford University Press.

Bedeian, A. G. (2004). Peer review and the social construction of knowledge in the management discipline. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 3(2), 198-216.

  1. Hutton, Ronald, The Triumph of the Moon (Oxford, Oxford University Press 1999).
  2. Hutton, Ronald. “Revisionism and Counter-Revisionism in Pagan History” Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies [Online], 13. 13 Dec 2012, p.251.
  3. ibid., p.227.
  4. Portone, Paolo, (2002). Aradia, mito e realtà della stregoneria in una ballata toscana dell’Ottocento , STORIA, ANTROPOLOGIA E SCIENZE DEL LINGUAGGIO, vol. 3; p. 115-120, ISSN: 0394-7963.
  5. Portone, Paolo, (1993). L’unguento magico e il volo notturno delle streghe. ARS REGIA, vol. 14; p. 15-26.
  6. Portone, Paolo, (2008). La strega e il crocifisso. Radici cristiane o cristianizzate. AICURZIO (MB): Gruppo Editoriale Castel Negrino.
  7. Hutton, ibid, p. 250.
  8. Del Bosco Sacro, Dianus “The Great Rite, Hermeticism, and the Shamanic-Pagan Tradition of the Sacred Forest of Nemi” The Fenris Wolf: The Institute of Comparitive Magico-Anthropology, 5 (Edda Publishing: 2012, pp. 53-76.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Golden Dawn Dojo Smashes all Records!

"Well worth the flight from Baltimore!" 
- Frater T.E.R.E.

Astrology reveals how celestial forces affect your life. But why not take charge of your destiny rather than merely observe it?

The ancient Sumerian triple science of Astrology, Magick, and Alchemy comes down to you through Egypt, the Hermetic tradition, and the Golden Dawn. This spiritual science empowers you to:
  • Awaken and Balance the Cosmic forces in your energetic body (aura, "Soul") to master your horoscope and your destiny! 
  • Grow your energetic Soul for higher consciousness.
  • Transmute your physical body (lead=Saturn) into a Solar Body of Light into (gold=Sun) -  to become the purely energetic life form all human beings are evolving towards.
  • Survive death, consciously immortal with your Solar body inside the stars!

Golden Dawn Dojo in Las Vegas, Nevada is a shining beacon of light, attracting a diverse crowd of spiritual seekers from all walks of life - some driving hundreds of miles from California and Arizona - and others flying in from Baltimore and Mexico City - all to learn Golden Dawn methods for energetic Soul growth - "face-to-face" at the world's only Golden Dawn Dojo!

Golden Dawn Imperator, David Griffin, author of the much sought after Ritual Magic Manual, presides over Golden Dawn Dojo ongoing instruction and personal training in the Golden Dawn system of Astrology, Magick, and Alchemy.

At Golden Dawn dojo, David coaches and guides anyone interested in Golden Dawn methods for energetic Soul cultivation and awakening in a revolutionary, dojo-style training format. Golden Dawn spiritual exercises involve a series of gentle movements, visualisations and vibrations and do not require any previous training or experience.

Golden Dawn Dojo next meets on Saturday February 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM at Well of the Moon, 2650 S. Decatur Blvd. Suite A02, in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.

Golden Dawn Dojo also meets every day during the upcoming 

The International Conclave of Golden Dawn Magicians  at Isis-Hathor Sanctuary outside Las Vegas will also host Golden Dawn Dojo daily from April 7-13, 2013. You can find complete details about this full week of intensive Golden Dawn training here.

Enrollment for all of the above is open now. Space in Golden Dawn Dojo is limited, but drop-ins are welcome on a space available basis. Please wear loose, comfortable clothes.

Free-will donations gratefully accepted.

Unleash YOUR Soul ...

... with your hosts -
David and Leslie Griffin

Alpha Ωmega Mystery School Livestream