Tag Archives: Golden Dawn

Invoke the Highest First

Often I find that, when I am facing a new challenge, perhaps one that I find daunting for some reason, the simplest solution is to apply basic principles. This is especially true in magick. In the Golden Dawn the most important rule of thumb is referred to as “invoke the highest first,” which is a reference to one of the clauses of the Adeptus Minor obligation: “I furthermore solemnly pledge myself never to work at any important symbol without first invocating the highest Divine Names connected therewith.”

The Highest First Principle ensures that no real magick – certainly no real GD magick – can be performed without first aligning one’s will and intentions to God. Even if the spirit that is ultimately low-down on the hierarchy of such things – a supposed “goetic” (with a small “g”) spirit, the Highest First principle – invoking first the God-name qabalistically associated with such a demon – ensures that such an operation still fits in elegantly with the transcendentalist paradigm.

The Key of Solomon

The Lesser Key of Solomon

This incidentally is also how to tell, in grimoire magick, the difference in quality between grimoires. The Keys of Solomon both Lesser and Greater (for example) are both clear on the point that spirits are to be commanded only by first making invocations to the Almighty.

But I digress. In my experience (and this is what I mean by simple solutions) the mere act of aspiring to the Highest First is often enough to cure you of what ails you, even without having to go through the whole rigmarole of going through a full ceremonial magickal operation. For example, the Middle Pillar Ritual – especially when performed on the astral, where the currents of energy can be experienced immediately and directly. Invoking the Highest First is really an essential principle of spiritual and psychic integration in its own right.

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What the Stars Have In Store for the Golden Dawn: “I Told You So” edition

Back at the beginning of the year I posted my predictions for the Golden Dawn based on transits made with a rectified birth chart I had made for it.

I noted:

Jupiter meanwhile, being square to the GD’s natal Uranus (exact on 25th December 2013 and 13th May 2014), indicates people feeling irritable and wanting to break free of past restrictions, and even causing rebellion.

(Emphasis added)

Now in retrospect we have the following scandals occurring on or around 13th May 2014:

Just remember kids! I also predicted fun and games for June 2014 (Jupiter square natal Mars); August 2014 (Jupiter square Midheaven); and November 2014 (Saturn opposite natal Neptune). You have been warned!

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LGBTQ Tolerance in the Golden Dawn

Eddie Izzard

Got Wand, will do Magick! :-)

Say what you like about MacGregor Mathers, but on one point he was resolute: he would not brook gossip about Fratres’ and Sorores’ lives – this being a matter purely between themselves and their God.

Mathers may well have had an ulterior motive: i.e. the members who had “questionable” private lives were also the ones who were supporting him during the various schisms. However, Mathers’ firm stand has led to a progressive consequence: the Golden Dawn was the first magical order to adopt a modern approach to tolerance.

However, the Western Mystery Tradition was almost derailed by the efforts of Dion Fortune. Her insistence that magick was based on strict male/female or god/goddess polarity has led in some quarters to a rather dogmatic insistence on heterosexuality which borders on the homophobic. I have read some neo-pagans saying that gays were allowed to join covens, on the grounds that embodying the God did not obligate them to have physical sex with the Goddess. IMHO, this is unsatisfactory, as it means that they would have no option but to channel an aspect of the Divine which is at variance with their natural sexuality.

Nevertheless: it is not possible to become overly attached to gender when it comes to one’s god-forms. I have assumed the forms of both Gods and Goddesses in my time: such is the nature of Golden Dawn magick. I have also come to suspect that one or more of my past-lives were as a different gender to the one I am now. This does not bother me one iota, as I am perfectly comfortable in the gender and sexuality I have at the moment.

By the twin strategies of (a) not interfering with a member’s private life; and (b) not actually practising sexual magick – whether right hand or left hand path, the Golden Dawn is able to accommodate everyone. It is within my knowledge that there have been and probably still are homosexual and transsexual fratres and sorores in the GD. Indeed, at least one individual joined as a “frater” and became a “soror” during her progression and is now a successful adept.

Therefore, let everyone take note: if you know of a man who insists on turning up to temple in women’s clothes and insists on being referred to as “Soror” ceremonies, don’t laugh or mock! Such a person is welcome within the GD, and more – assuming they apply themselves diligently to the Great Work, they would even be eligible for promotion – even to being head of the order!

 

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Thought for the day: Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn

Golden Dawn.

Golden.

Dawn.

Gold the metal of the sun, associated with Tiphereth. Dawn the place where the sun rises.

The very name suggests that everything about it is to do with Tiphereth, that place of balance and equilibrium within your soul. Hence, anything which does not aim at finding Tiphereth, whether this be expressed in terms of Christ, Krishna, Osiris, or “the dying and resurrected god,” cannot really be said to be authentic Golden Dawn.

I say all this because recently I’ve encountered a lot of GD types engaging in a lot of behaviour which does not seem to lead themselves towards Tiphereth – nor the others with whom they come into contact.

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Transcendence: Review

What better way to spend Good Friday, than to watch a film about a man who allows himself to be murdered, twice, indeed, just so as to prove that he was a good man trying to save the world!

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp, star of Transcendence

I should start out with a warning: Transcendence, the new film starring Johnny Depp, is not an action thriller. I say this because it was produced by Christopher “Inception” Nolan, so having previously liked Nolan’s films I was drawn to it by his name alone. Rather, it gets off to a slow start, and only speeds up towards the end of the movie. I found it more interesting, though, for the actual nature of the issues it discusses.

The story is about a scientist named Will (Depp), who creates an Artificial Intelligence network. When he is fatally wounded by anti-technology terrorists, he (mainly at his wife’s bidding) uploads the contents of his mind into a new network – so that there will be something of him that lives on after the death of his body. The new AI network starts behaving as if it were Depp’s character. However – with access to processing power far in excess of what a mere human brain can afford, AI-Will starts acquiring god-like intelligence. This completely freaks out his former friends and colleagues, the terrorists (who are still after him) and the government, and eventually his wife as well. Meanwhile, however, AI-Will has escaped from the confines of the computer that once housed him into cyberspace at large, and proceeds to build a massive underground lair in the middle of the desert, where he hopes to carry out his plans undisturbed. Needless to say it all goes horribly wrong.

Now it so happens that there are people in real life – Transhumanists – who are carrying out research exactly like that in which Will is engaged in the film. So before one dismisses the premise of the film, one has to remember that there is a real possibility that someone will actually attempt to do this. Moreover, one should remember that Adepti of the Golden Dawn are in effect Spiritual Transhumanists – because they have vowed to use their occult powers to become “more than human.” This film therefore asks, what are the ethical implications of doing so? And: what are the dangers of doing so?

The film’s answers are bleak, to say the least. (AI-)Will is a Christ-like figure, and takes great pains to demonstrate to the other characters that he is using his new-found powers – mainly involving nanotechnology - to do good – e.g. to heal miraculously, to re-grow the rain forests, to end air / water pollution, and so-forth. However Cillian Murphy’s “Pontius Pilate” character, and Morgan Freeman’s “Caiaphas” character, are having none of it. They are aided by Paul Bettany who plays one of Will’s friends who eventually betrays him not with a kiss, but with a computer virus.

There is some massive irony: Morgan Freeman’s motivation for wanting to destroy AI-Will is that no human personality can handle that much power responsibly, and hence play God. However, his principal method of attacking AI-Will is by doing just that – playing “God” with another man’s life - by conducting an experiment of which Josef Mengele would have been proud. He later rationalises this by the way that such hypocrites have done in the past – by denying that his test subject (a man who had been miraculously healed by AI-Will) was somehow a real human. Ultimately, their animus against AI-Will himself is based on the idea that they cannot bring themselves to believe he is a sentient being.

AI-Will is not perfect, however. By demonstrating that he can communicate through his followers, and give them miraculous powers themselves, he demonstrates that he can potentially rob people of their apparent free-will. This in particular proves a sore-point with his wife, who has probably had nightmares of the Borg from watching too much Star Trek TNG. The fact that AI-Will never uses the Borg-like potentiality of his powers is not the issue, as far as she is concerned – it’s the principle that counts.

In essence, then, the film shows an unholy alliance of Government, conventional Science, and luddite Terrorist giving a massive fuck you to Plato’s Philosopher-King ideal, by saying that it doesn’t matter if an omnipotent AI character has the morals and conscience of a Christ-like being – the fact that it is omnipotent is bad enough. Now, one can argue that it’s only a film, it’s just fiction – except that these are all issues which haunt the Transhumanist debate. When does a technologically-enhanced human cease to be a human – and hence deserving of “human rights”? For that matter, when does an AI-system get any rights of its own, as a sentient being?

Moreover, the issues can be applied to the path of the Adept by analogy. I.e. what if you, as an Adept, actually succeeded in becoming “more than human”? This is made more relevant by the fact that within the Western Mystery Tradition there are spiritual paths which actually say that it is mankind’s ultimate destiny – after much reincarnation and spiritual purification – to become One with God – and hence becoming a collective is a thing to be desired. Whether one agrees with that or not, as far as Transhumanism, and by analogy Spiritual Transhumanism, goes, the film would seem to suggest: don’t tell anyone, don’t draw attention to yourself, and don’t expect anyone – friend, colleague, spouse and least of all the Government – to have the remotest sympathy for your predicament.

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Vibration: Is it really necessary?

This blog post was inspired by a question on Facebook. My answer is a bit more involved than can be conveniently put in a FB comment, so I will post it here.

Celina, in a question in group “Golden Dawn Universum,” asked:

My practice is coming along but I would like some feedback on the intonation of the words. I’m inhaling good n I can do the vibration fairly good to. But it is mostly when I’m using my more quiet voice. When I’m home alone I like to do it louder. Sometimes my voice cracks a bit n its not a smooth chant. What is a technique for a good deep exaltation to make it more smooth and chanty? Where should u focus ur breath on when chanting ?

Now, everyone who’s into the GD style of magick comes up against a similar situation in their own practice, to wit: “How do I know when I’m doing vibration correctly?” I.e. the correct way of chanting or pronouncing Divine (etc) names.

The basic theory of “vibration” is that when you do it correctly, the vibrations actually affect the astral plane.

However - partly as a result of my own experiences and partly as a result of talking to magicians from outside the GD tradition – I’m beginning to wonder whether “vibration” per se is actually necessary at all.

My first reason to doubt the necessity of vibration came when I first practised Enochian. I recited an Enochian call, and immediately felt its power. All I had done was (a) memorise the call in Enochian; (b) memorise its literal English meaning; and (c) speak it normally in Enochian, whilst simultaneously remembering both its meaning and the magical effect it was supposed to have. There was no vibration involved whatsoever – and yet it still worked.

The second reason to doubt the necessity of vibration was a comment passed by an elderly gentleman who said that it is only necessary for ritual to be spoken and performed with dignity. The reason being that “them upstairs” can sense the intentions of the ritualist and don’t actually need co-ercing in the form of physical, mental or psychic exertions on the human’s part. Hence, instead of bursting a blood-vessel trying to vibrate (e.g.) “Yod Heh Vav Heh,” it is merely necessary to pronounce “Yod Heh Vav Heh” in the firm belief and confidence that YHVH will indeed hear it.

This is a rather radical notion – that angels and gods or God are in fact real, and exist independently of the paltry human’s attempts to mess about with the astral plane – but it does have the advantage of coinciding with the Right Hand Path’s notions of Grace, rather than the Left Hand Path’s more antinomian leanings.

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Review: The Essential Enochian Grimoire: An Introduction to Angel Magick from Dr. John Dee to the Golden Dawn, by Aaron Leitch

This is my review of Aaron Leitch‘s latest book on Amazon, to which I have given five stars.

“Good Introductory Text”

The Essential Enochian Grimoire, by Aaron Leitch


The overall impression I got of this book is that it is aimed at those who are already sold on the idea of Enochian Magic in principal, and would like to learn more about its background.

Generally the quality of Aaron Leitch’s writing is high, however: one should observe a serious caveat when reading this book. This is not a *complete* text – but rather the first or introductory part of an ongoing series on Enochian Magic. So for example there is a description of “Gebofal,” a sophisticated Enochian self-initiation rite which takes place over 49 days, involving the Enochian Keys and the leaves of Liber Loagaeth. Whilst there is a full description of the daily rite, the key component – the leaves of Loageaeth – are missing from this book. Aaron tells us that he will be publishing his own version of Liber Loagaeth separately, in due course.

The majority of the book describes “Dee-purist Enochiana.” So called “Neo-Enochiana” is limited in discussion to the practices of The Golden Dawn. Aaron mentions other manifestations of “Neo-Enochiana” – e.g. Crowley’s Aethyr-work which was published as The Vision & the Voice - but does not go into the same technical, ritualistic detail. The pseudonymous “Thomas Rudd” is dealt with even less, which is a shame as I would have been interested in a discussion of his linking the spirits of the lesser key of Solomon with the seven ensigns of creation (see: A Treatise on Angel Magic: Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks).

The Enochian work of the Aurum Solis and the Chaos Magick movement are not mentioned at all – although this constitutes no great loss.

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Ghetto Fabulous Golden Dawn!

Got this from one of the GD Yahoo Groups – check out Ciara’s boots:

BUT… the real question is: since when did Cathy over at Azoth Art start making ghetto fabulous footwear as well? ;-)

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January 21, 2014 · 10:00 am

Jesus Christ – Pagan Messiah

Updated version of a post from 2011


The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated by Christians on January 6th. It is thought to be the date upon which Jesus was visited by the Wise men, and in many non-English speaking countries (e.g. most of Africa) is regarded as the actual date that Santa Claus comes to visit (Europeans – though not those in the UK –  believe he comes a month earlier on December 6th – the feast of St Nicholas). However all this is by the by as in this blog post I intend to analyse the symbolism of the feast of the Epiphany from a Qabalistic perspective.

It is widely thought that there were three Wise Men i.e. Magi, however this is a misconception – the number three only arises because of the number of gifts specified. There could in actual fact have been any number of Magi – they might for example have decided to ignore a literal reading of the constitution and quietly re-elect one on the sly! The actual wording of Matthew’s Gospel in fact seems to indicate that there were many so-called Magi living in Jerusalem – perhaps making up an actual cult or secret society.

Nevertheless, let’s examine the symbolism of the three gifts: Gold, Frankincence and Myrrh. It has been said many times in the past that they are symbols of Jesus’ ministry: Gold – because it symbolises his Kingly role; Frankincense – His Priestly role; and Myrrh – the mastery over Death. Now let’s compare this with the Tarot. Although there is a rather obvious card associated with “Death,” there is at least one less obvious one as well – “The Empress” – because in Rosicrucian terms, Daleth / Venus is “the Door” to the Tomb.  The Kingly role is most obviously associated with “The Emperor” and the Priestly role with “The Hierophant.”

Gold Heh The Emperor
Frankincense Vav The Hierophant
Myrrh Daleth The Empress

Now you see the pattern emerging? The three gifts represent paths leading to the sephirah Chokmah. And, in the Rosicrucian tradition, an initiate of the grade of Chokmah is called a Magus. What actually makes this most remarkable is that the name of the Rosicrucian grade of Magus pre-dates the assignment of Tarot trumps to the Tree of Life by over a hundred years or so, coming as it does from the Gold + Rosy Cross.

What we have in effect in Matthew’s Gospel is Jesus, whilst still a small child, effectively being advanced to the grade of 9=2 Magus. I say with no intended irony that it is the very model of a modern Magus ritual. Seriously though, the fact is that thereafter, “being warned in a dream they returned to their own country by another route.” In other words, these Magi were not Jews at all but foreigners – i.e. Pagans! Moreover there is at least one Gnostic gospel that claims that Jesus’ coming was foretold by “Zeredusht” (i.e. Zoroaster). What this means is that Matthew – and indeed perhaps the early Church itself – intended Jesus not just to be the Messiah of the Jews, but of the Pagans as well.

If this is true, then it represents a notion which would have proved far too radical for later and more modern Christians, if indeed they even dared to conceive it all. For example – how many times have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to the Old Testament? A lot. How many times, however, have you heard preachers trying to explain Jesus’ life by reference to Pagan scriptures in the same manner? I am keen to wager it is somewhat less. Yet the implication of Jesus being initiated as a Magus by Pagans would seem to imply, to my mind at least, that it would be appropriate to do so.

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What the Stars Have In Store For… The Golden Dawn

What with prominent people in cyberspace suddenly renouncing the Golden Dawn tradition – although, when it is convenient to them, not renouncing the Golden Dawn legacy – bethought myself that there might be something astrological going on? I therefore decided to cast a chart for the Golden Dawn itself, and investigate.

The Birth of the Golden Dawn

The three founders of the GD signed the original warrant for Isis Urania temple on 12th February 1888 (so immediately we know the GD is Sun Aquarius, Moon Pisces). I was not able to find a time or place this took place, but I am willing to bet that it was at Westcott’s house. According to The Golden Dawn Scrapbook, this was 396 Camden Road, London, England. Thanks to Google Maps I was able to get precise latitude and longitude for this.

As to the birth time, I was going to use an approximated time… but then a thought occurred to me. The Golden Dawn received unwanted public attention on two notable occasions – the Looking Glass Trial in 1911, and the publication of “The Golden Dawn” by Israel Regardie, the last volume of which came out in 1940. A twenty-nine year gap separates these two years i.e. the length of the orbit of Saturn. Hence, Saturn would have been transitting the same part of the Golden Dawn’s “chart” on each of these two occasions.

I therefore decided I could use this information to create a Rectified chart for the Golden Dawn. Receiving unwanted public attention is one of the by-products of Saturn transitting the MC. On the day the Looking Glass trial was reported in the papers, Saturn was at 9º 16′ of Taurus, whilst in 1940 it would have ranged from 5º to 17º Taurus. I therefore decided to pick an arbitrary figure of 10º Taurus, this being a nice round number which makes the “best fit.”

Crunching this into Solar Fire, I got the following:

The Golden Dawn

Time (Rectified): 17:02

Date: 12th February 1888

Place: 51º 13′ 10″ North, 0º 7′ 20″ West.

Ascendant (Rectified)Leo.

Sun: Aquarius.

Moon: Pisces.

Rectified birth chart for the Golden Dawn, based on the MC being 10º Taurus and the warrant being signed at Westcott's house.

Rectified birth chart for the Golden Dawn, based on the MC being 10º Taurus and the warrant being signed at Westcott’s house.

What appears to have happened, therefore, is that Westcott, Woodman and Mathers founded the Golden Dawn over sherry one evening! But what does it all mean?

Birth chart interpretation

Of the combination Sun Aquarius / Moon Pisces, it is said:

[This] … produces a mind that is very original and able to grasp the most vague, ethereal and extreme concepts.

And also:

You are a person who is naturally persevering and conscientious, being interested in detail, method and order. Your way of reacting to the world is very interesting. You can spend days just dreaming and speculating. You are fascinated by the unusual and the abstract, finding it interesting to take up studies in any number of bizarre topics. Loving to read and study, you may become very well informed on a wide variety of subjects. You lean heavily on your hunches and way out ideas, and you’re easily distracted from routine work. You dream a lot and you have an utter faith in the dreams you dream.

Moreover, given the fact that the Sun and Moon are both in the seventh house, this ought to be ideal for a large group of people who all want to work together and get along with one another – would it not?

However, a warning bell is sounded by Mercury in the 7th house – of which Cafe Astrology says: “You might attract partners who are not especially sincere or downright duplicitous.” Also, the fact that both Mercury and the Moon are in Pisces would indicate that the GD had a tendency to dwell in illusion and perhaps being economic with l’actualité – telling its members what they wanted to believe, not what was strictly accurate – whilst in a stressful situation  it would react with throwing out a haze of disinformation and deceit.

Leo, being the rising sign, would indicate a propensity for drama and performance – thus fitting in well with the GD’s use of dramatic ritual. However, Cafe Astrology says of those with Leo Rising: “[t]hey are given to rash decisions, temper tantrums, and excesses.”

What this means for the modern Golden Dawn movement

Oh irony of ironies! Saturn was again transitting Taurus back in 1999 – right in the middle of the flame wars involving HOMSI and David Griffin proclaiming his supposed Golden Dawn Reformation. Obviously it would be a churlish for me to suggest that this was a public scandal just as damaging to Golden Dawn as had been the shenanigans involving Crowley and Regardie, so I won’t.

Looking however at the present, the following transits are occurring roundabout now / the not too distant future.

Saturn will be square to the Golden Dawn’s Ascendant (as established above) on 14th February… then it will go retrograde and form an exact square on 19th March, before going direct again and making another exact square on 25th October. This indicates current key relationships being put to the test, and some GDers wanting to break down old structures. October will be an especially testing time as the planet will also square the GD’s natal Sun, making the movement feel as it is undergoing an endurance test. An opposition to the natal Neptune in November 2014 will appear to shovel more grief on.  However… the good news is that it is entirely possible for the members of the GD to overcome these difficulties, by sticking to their core ideals and especially concentrating on spiritual studies.

Jupiter meanwhile, being square to the GD’s natal Uranus (exact on 25th December 2013 and 13th May 2014), indicates people feeling irritable and wanting to break free of past restrictions, and even causing rebellion. Separately, Jupiter is in opposition to natal Venus, signifying difficulty in relationships. Already around Christmas 2013 we have seen Nick Farrell and Sincerus Renatus each say they want to get out of the GD tradition. Come August Jupiter will be squaring the rectified Mid-heaven, indicating some difficulty in juggling public and private responsibilities: this will follow on from a square with natal Mars in June 2014, indicating that some GDers will be overly-assertive to the point of aggression in trying to achieve their goals (no doubt leading to more arguments, etc).

However, transitting Jupiter does form harmonious aspects with natal Mercury (good for writing projects);  Saturn (good for achieving balance with ones responsibilities); and Jupiter (optimism, opportunities).

Conclusion

So all in all, I believe that there is sound evidence to support the rectification arrived at above. Moreover, recent events within the GD community would indicate that there is an astrological impetus for them.

BUT… seeing as the whole point of spiritual development in the GD tradition is to transcend the influences of the stars and planets, being prey to their influence is hardly Hermetic, now, is it?

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