A magician without a religion is … just an evil paedophile who wears a dress to cover their crimes.
As anyone who has spent too much time in a pub on a Friday night will know, there is nothing more divisive a topic of conversation as Religion – except perhaps Politics. This must be the main reason why discussions on topics of Religion and Politics are banned in all Masonic lodges – because the lodge is meant to be a place of tolerance for people of all faiths and leanings.
Nevertheless, the topic of Religion has raised its ugly head in the Golden Dawn blogosphere this week – just in time for Ishtar, I might add – so I thought I would shove in my two pennyworth.
I am not going to criticise directly what other bloggers have written about the subject. Instead I shall just point out something that no-one has yet considered. The writers of the original GD rituals were Rosicrucians – more specifically, they were members of the SRIA. In one of the rituals of the SRIA, there is the following quote:
[Alchemists] used the language of their physical work to communicate spiritual teaching which at that time had to be kept secret to avoid persecution by the official Church. And many medieval Alchemists whose writings are still extant appear to have been mainly, if not entirely, concerned with this spiritual aspect of the work.
This higher Alchemy can thus be regarded as almost identical with Religion as distinct from Theology. The function of Religion, like the great work of the Alchemist, is the “separation of the subtle from the gross,” the redemption of the spirit, while still dwelling in matter, from the taint inevitable on the lowest planes of manifestation.
Hence: when the Golden Dawn talks about “religion,” it is reasonable to suppose that what is meant is what Westcott, Mathers and Woodman – and their contemporaries -would have understood by the term, i.e. the pure concept of Religion liberated from dogmatic theology, or the true Internal Alchemy.