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.
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.
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).
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?