It would be quicker to list the similarities! Both are initiatory societies, with degrees (or grades), secret modes of recognition, passwords, and based around a sort of lodge system. This was mainly due to the fact that at the time the Golden Dawn was founded, it was the fashion to model any secret society on a lodge-system, whether it had anything to do with Freemasonry or not. It also helped that the founders of the Golden Dawn were themselves Freemasons, so they would have gone with what they were familiar with.
That being said, the main differences between Freemasonry and the Golden Dawn can be stated thus:
Firstly, Freemasonry (obviously) deals with the established Degrees of Freemasonry, but the Golden Dawn does not. This is important to remember, because Masonic Grand Lodges are critical of bodies which purport to be imitative of Freemasonry, and penalise people who belong to such bodies. The Golden Dawn gets round this by not attempting to imitate Freemasonry at all. Hence a Freemason could join the Golden Dawn without breaking any obligations, because the latter has got nothing to do with the former.
Secondly, although both Masonry and the Golden Dawn have a theme about searching for Light, they go about it in a completely different manner: the underlying narrative of the Golden Dawn in no way coincides with the Masonic “story.”
Thirdly, the Golden Dawn claims its rituals are Magical, and are performed in a magical manner: no such claim is made by Freemasonry in general. There is such a thing as esoteric Freemasonry where its practitioners claim that the degrees of Freemasonry are or can be magical, although they appear to be in the minority in relation to mainstream Freemasonry.
Fourthly, the Golden Dawn has a curriculum it obliges its members to study: and requires a member to pass examinations (written and, in the higher grades, practical) before advancing to a new grade. The Golden Dawn specifically focusses on the Qabalah, Ceremonial Magick, clairvoyance, astrology, tarot, geomancy, alchemy and hermeticism.
In Freemasonry this is not the case: to progress through Craft Freemasonry requires only the memorisation of a short piece of ritual. In Continental Freemasonry it is different, as candidates are required to write papers for each degree, although this is still unlike the examination system of the Golden Dawn. Moreover, Freemasonry hardly mentions anything like the Qabalah, although, again, esoteric Freemasons claim that the symbolism is right there though not recognised by mainstream Masonry.
Fifthly, the Golden Dawn was founded as a society for both men and women right from the outset. Mainstream Masonry tends to be male-only, although there is nowadays such a thing as Co-Masonry, which is viewed as outside the pale by purportedly “regular” Masonry.
I have not even begun to talk about all the cosmetic differences, such as different regalia, different rituals, different grade system, different temple lay-out, different officers, etc etc etc. Suffice to say that if one were in a Golden Dawn temple, there is no chance that one would mistake it for just another masonic ritual.(4) Alex Sumner’s answer to What is the difference between Freemasonry and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Golden Dawn)? – Quora
Tag Archives: freemasonry
In April 2021, RW Bro Dr David Staples, the then-Grand Secretary and Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, appeared on Sky News to talk about UGLE’s first ever public report. At the tail-end of the interview, the host pitched this question at him:
“If you want to do it with the boys, you can. If you want to do it with the girls, you can. If you want to be in a mixed-lodge, you can.” – Dr David Staples.
What Bro Staples failed to mention was that at the exact time that he was saying this, members of his staff at UGLE were actively persecuting Brethren for attempting to do just that, i.e., attending co-Masonic or mixed lodges. I know: because I was one of the people so-persecuted.
When I pointed out the Grand Secretary’s statement to the bureaucrats at UGLE, I was told “Ah, no, what he meant was, you can be a co-Mason, but if so, you have to resign from UGLE.” I suppose what they mean is that co-Masonic organisations are ipso facto rival organisations to UGLE, which arrogates to itself the monopoly to administer Freemasonry within its own jurisdiction. Furthermore, UGLE believes that a Brother cannot remain both a member of UGLE and a member of an organisation which it does not recognise as a proper Masonic authority. I was informed specifically that it went further than this: not only could I not join a co-Masonic organisation, I could not even attend one of their meetings as a guest: the most I could do was attend a so-called “white table event” after the lodge meeting was finished.
The more philosophically-minded of my readers will start to notice a number of logical inconsistencies here, to wit:
Firstly, UGLE was effectively saying: “We recognise Co-Masons as Freemasons. We just don’t recognise Co-Masons as Freemasons whom we recognise.”
Secondly, it costs money to be a member of two or more organisations. If an individual is ready, willing and able to pay out their own money to do so, what business of UGLE is it to say otherwise? As a wise philosopher once said:
“It’s a bit like… you’ve got a favourite Indian restaurant that you go to every Monday night, and just as you’re leaving, the owner comes up to you and says: ‘Oh I saw you at the Chinese on Wednesday. You mustn’t eat in there. If you’re going to eat in here, you mustn’t eat in the Chinese.’ It’s utter nonsense!”
Thirdly, and most seriously: there is an implied disrespect against female co-Masons – who are not only the Brethren but in many cases also the partners of the male co-Masons – which ought not to have any place in a society of gentlemen.
As to my leaving of UGLE: I was caught in the position in which I enjoyed being a member of my mother-lodge and my mother-chapter. I regarded its members as my friends, and I particularly appreciated the peculiar ethos of both, which was both spiritual and esoteric, in marked contrast to most of the rest of UGLE.
Moreover, I had actually gone to a great deal of trouble in my dedication to my mother-lodge / chapter, particularly in my assiduity in becoming a Ritualist. I learnt to do practically all of the degree-work of both Craft and Royal Arch off-book, out of some notion that this was the kind of thing that the powers-that-be appreciated.
However, before I was ever a freemason, I had been a Golden Dawn practitioner, and hence believed without question in male-female equality, and that it was perfectly natural for both men and women to work together in an initiatory organisation. I therefore could not for the life of me see what was wrong with co-Masonry.
So there I was, minding my own business one fine spring morning in 2021, when I received a badly spelled, mis-worded, and wrongly dated letter from someone in Metropolitan Grand Lodge. I first thought they wanted to reward me for all my hard work by appointing me to a position of importance within Met GL, as by that point I had been a past master for some time and would otherwise have been up for “London Grand Rank.” Alas! When I deciphered its contents, I realised I was being accused of being a co-mason.
I later discovered that members of the Grand Secretary’s office had informed this poor functionary that they had found evidence of me attending a co-masonic meeting. Apparently, there are people in UGLE whose job it is to stalk Brethren over the internet and uncover evidence of them sneaking off to co-masonic meetings to enjoy themselves! Because I still wanted to remain a member of my mother lodge and chapter, I told them I was willing to never attend another co-masonic meeting, to which I was told that in that case the matter would be dropped.
But then they changed their mind, in effect saying “We don’t believe you.” I thus found myself subject to something called “disciplinary proceedings” which is the same punishment meted out to freemasons who have brought the Craft into disrepute by committing crimes like murder or armed robbery. This began in a farcical manner, as I was accused of being a member of every order to which I had admitted being a member whether or not it was technically incompatible with the Craft. It got to the extent where me being a member of an order was grounds enough to declare being a member of it incompatible with the Craft!
After some arguing back and forth, they apparently dropped some of the wilder of their accusations, and focussed on the charge that I was a co-mason. Given that they had thrown my previous offer back in my face, I could not see what else I could do to escape the inevitable. Hence, I found myself expelled from UGLE.
It did not happen immediately: it took some eighteen months from first being arraigned, as it had to be escalated to the top of UGLE for it to be finalised (this is the usual procedure for Brethren caught in this position). In the meantime, my prosecutors cheerfully told me that if I didn’t want to wait for my case to go to appeal, I could always resign from Freemasonry. This would have involved me having to sign a declaration that I no longer considered myself a Freemason, which I refused to do on principle.
I was even told that after my final hearing that there was still a chance to apply to something called a “Panel for Clemency.” I was told about the procedure for doing so, but they neglected to inform me on what grounds Clemency could actually be considered.
If I were to speculate as to why UGLE did its volte-face after my initial offer and institute disciplinary proceedings notwithstanding, I can only say that it was blindingly obvious that it occurred at the same time I publicly resigned from another Society over a different matter entirely. I have no evidence, however, that senior members thereof put their chums in the Grand Secretary’s office up to harassing me, so one must assume that it was all just a very unfortunate coincidence.
In conclusion, I must admit I regret no longer being able to attend the meetings of my mother lodge and my mother chapter. My Brethren therefrom are all very dear to me, and I had invested a lot of my time and effort in my sixteen years of being a member, so if I had had the opportunity I would have remained in UGLE just for them. However I can’t say I regret being forced to leave UGLE per se, as I had little love for its bureaucratic structure even before these events started, and I have even less now.
UGLE no longer regards me as a Freemason. Instead, I regard myself as a Mason Free to attend as many co-masonic meetings as I choose, and to explore my Masonic interests not just in Craft and Royal Arch, but also Rose Croix, KT, Rosicrucianism and other degrees, in an environment which is in accord with my conscience.
Worshipful Brother Alex Sumner,
a.k.a. Excellent Companion Alex Sumner, PZ.
For more information about Co-Masonry around the world, please visit The Grand Lodge of Modern Mixed Masons.
Q: “So were you involved in actual devil worship?”
A: “Not devil worship, no, it was pure straightforward, old-fashioned magic.”
Q: “The Aleister Crowley variety?”
A: “No, I always thought Crowley was a charlatan. But there was a guy called [Arthur] Edward Waite who was terribly important to me at the time. And another called Dion Fortune who wrote a book called ‘Psychic Self-Defense‘. You had to run around the room getting bits of string and old crayons and draw funny things on the wall, and I took it all most seriously, ha ha ha ! I drew gateways into different dimensions, and I’m quite sure that, for myself, I really walked into other worlds. I drew things on walls and just walked through them, and saw what was on the other side!”
David Bowie, interviewed in NME, 1997
It being 2021, this year will inevitably see many five year anniversaries marked, none more keenly felt than that of the great David Bowie, who together with the passing of Lemmy marked the start of the second worst year of recent memory, to wit – the dreaded 2016. The tragedy was so great that it had the effect of drawing the Occult community, which is normally riven by fractious arguments, together to an unprecedented degree. Ironically, this post which I wrote at the time became the most read article ever on my blog.
So the news this week has been dominated by the passing of David Bowie, and when I consider how much attention was paid to the untimely death of Freddie Mercury – the last pop star of comparable status to leave us – it is almost certain that this event will remain in public consciousness for years to come. Anywho: amongst the magical community, it has been widely noted that Bowie was interested in the occult, as witness his interview with NME quoted at the top of this page, and the back cover over the Station to Station LP, below left:
NB: given the amount of Charlie he was packing away at the time, his precise allegiance might well be pinned to the Holy Order of the Sun! Interestingly, Bowie resurrected the costume covered with, ahem, “white lines,” for his almost-certainly-not final music video “Lazarus” (above right). Might not this video be suggesting that David Bowie did not just keep this costume but this persona hanging up in the closet all this time?
But I digress.
There is an image in the Lazarus video on which a number of bloggers have already commented: where Bowie sits frantically writing at a desk, on which rests a skull. Now the obvious interpretation is that it was a reference to Bowie’s own impending mortality, but when I saw it, it stirred the Sumner Family Brain Cell to life, and got me thinking, where have I seen that before?
See: 3minutes 38seconds.
The answer is: it comes from the first degree (Apprentice) ritual of the Ancient & Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim – a particularly esoteric form of Freemasonry. Assuming the candidate for initiation passes the ballot, just before the ceremony of his initiation,
…[t]he Expert (i.e. Junior Deacon) then takes possession of the Candidate in the Parvis, carefully binds his eyes and leads him to the Chamber of Reflection. He has him sit before a table, sparingly furnished with a real human Skull; a lit wax Candle, half-consumed; a sheet of white paper, pen and ink. The seat is a stool without a back. He lights a little Myrrh, the traditional funereal perfume, in a corner of the room, in a Censer containing lit coals.
Expert: – Sir, alone, left to yourself, before an image of termination of terrestrial Life, I invite you to write your Philosophical Testament.
The “Philosophical Testament” consists of the candidate’s reflections on his duties to God, the World, and himself: but more especially, like its name suggests, how the candidate would answer these questions if his words were the final legacy which he leaves on Earth. However, the code-word “philosophical” indicates that one is meant to interpret it alchemically. In other words, Death is not the end for the candidate – i.e. for David Bowie – but is the first step on the path to spiritual transmutation.
So, there you have it – Bowie indulging in esoteric symbolism right up until the last!
The Theosophist, Charles Leadbeater, alleged that the Secret Chief or “the Head of all true Freemasons” is Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban. (Note the use of the present tense despite the fact that Bacon is popularly believed to have died in 1626).
Some Memphis-Misraim rites believe that the Secret Chief of Freemasonry is a character named “Elias Artista,” whom Paracelsus first described as a sort of mythical patron saint of Alchemy. There are probably people who believe that Francis Bacon and Elias Artista are the same person.
Of course, whether you chose to believe this is another matter. Most Worshipful Brother Bacon has requested his name not be disclosed, so all true Freemasons will deny the existence of a Secret Chief of Freemasonry – as witness the other answers to this question.
Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
Despite the terrible news from Paris, the conflagration that befell Notre Dame has now been extinguished and, while the roof and historic spire have collapsed, most of the stonework including the historic towers is still intact. This is highly important, from an esoteric point of view.
Although the world has been experiencing a collective panic about the art-work inside the Cathedral, there is still an enormous amount of art built into the fabric of the building itself. Take for example the North and South towers (see above). Note how they resemble two great pillars standing at the entrance? They represent Boaz and Jachin, the two great pillars which stood at the entrance to King Solomon’s Temple.
The ground plan of the interior follows a cruciform design, as is common in Christian churches. Moreover it is possible to overlay the Qabalistic Tree of Life over the design as well, such that the high altar represents the Supernal Triad; the Choir to Chesed and Geburah; the Transept to Tiphereth; the Nave to Netzach, Hod and Yesod; and the entrance to Malkuth.
Whilst the Tree of Life may be a latter interpolation, there can be little serious doubt that the masons who worked on the original structure did observe the principles of Sacred Architecture, in trying to incorporate the symbolism of both the Old and New Testament into the Cathedral – hence indicating the mysteries upon which Freemasonry is based.
The best exposition of sacred architecture in regards to Gothic Cathedrals in general, and Notre Dame in particular, remains that of Fulcanelli. He introduces his theme by stating:
Above all there is nothing more captivating than the symbolism of the ancient alchemists, so ably translated by these modest medieval statues. In this connection Notre Dame of Paris, the Philosophers’ church, is indisputably one of the most perfect specimens and, as Victor Hugo said, “the most satisfying summary of the Hermetic science, of which the church of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie was such a complete hieroglyph.”
Mediaeval Alchemists would use Notre-Dame as a meeting place. Moreover, the design in inherently alchemical: its cruciform manner points out that the “Sign of the Cross” represents the preparation of the Stone (cf: the Transept – which “crosses” the Cathedral – effectively refers to the Gold of Tiphereth). The Rose window above the western door represents the wheel of time – the time necessary to concoct the stone. Moreover the main west door – the “Porte Du Jugement” – is elaborately decorated – superficially to represent the last Judgement, but on closer examination contains a plethora of Hermetic symbolism.
Fulcanelli also points out Hermetic symbolism to be found elsewhere on the Cathedral’s exterior (e.g. the “Porte de Saint-Anne” to the right of the “Port de Jugement”). Curiously, the vast majority of the Alchemical symbolism is on the outside of the Cathedral, at the entrances: perhaps signifying that Alchemy is ultimately about purifying oneself, so that one is then worthy enough to enter into the Holy of Holies.
It is gratifying that within 24 hours of the incident millions of Euros have already been pledge to aid its restoration, as the sooner the building again becomes fit for worshippers – both exoteric and esoteric, the better.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.
In 1794, Sigismund Bacstrom was initiated into the “Societas Roseae Crucis” by Comte Louis De Chazal, on the island of Mauritius. Bacstrom signed a series of fourteen pledges, which has been reproduced in various places (e.g. A E Waite’s Real History of the Rosicrucians). Curiously, one of the clauses contains this paragraph:
And, as there is no distinction of sexes in the spiritual world, neither amongst the blessed Angels nor among the rational immortal spirits of the Human race; and as we have had a Semiramis, Queen of Egypt, a Myriam, the prophetess, a Peronella, the wife of Flamel, and lately a Leona Constantia, Abbess of Clermont, who was actually received as a practical Member and Master into our Society in the year 1796, which women are believed to have been all possessors of the Great Work, consequently Sorores Roseae Crucis and members of our Society by possession, as the possession of this our art is the key to the most hidden knowledge. And moreover as redemption was manifested to mankind by means of a woman (the Blessed Virgin), and as salvation, which is of infinitely more value than our whole Art, is granted to the female sex as well as to the male, our Society does not exclude a worthy woman from being initiated, God himself not having excluded women from partaking of every spiritual felicity in the next life. We will not hesitate to receive a worthy woman into our Society as a member apprentice, (and even as a practical member or master if she does possess our work practically and has herself accomplished it), provided she is found, like Peronella, Flamel’s wife, to be sober, pious, discreet, prudent, not loquacious, but reserved, of an upright mind and blameless conduct, and withall desirous of knowledge.
It is within my personal knowledge that a facsimile of Bacstrom’s 14 Rosicrucian pledges was amongst the documents that the Reverend A F A Woodford passed to Wynn Westcott. Coincidentally, the original Adeptus Minor of the Golden Dawn ceremony contains a series of clauses similar though not identical to the Bacstrom document, implying that MacGregor Mathers too used this as inspiration to create the later ritual. Mathers puts it more succinctly:
I further promise to support the admission of both sexes to our Order, on a perfect equality, and that I will always display brotherly love and forbearance towards the members of the whole Order, neither slandering nor evil-speaking, nor repeating nor tale-bearing, whereby strife and ill-feeling may be engendered.
Thus, pointing to the example of Bacstrom quoted above, Rosicrucianism appears to have been prophetic in recognising male-female equality, almost a century before it became established as the norm within new esoteric societies which arose as part of the Occult Revival of the late Victorian period. Hence, Westcott probably had this in mind when he wrote this, describing the Societas Rosicruciana In Anglia (SRIA), which was founded by Robert Wentworth Little in 1867:
Frater Little was a student of the school of Levi and also an eminent Freemason, and the Rosicrucian Society as revised by him was made by intention and permission essentially masonic, thus severing all connection with those Adepts who have not been Craftsmen, as Basil Valentine, Artephus, Nicolas Flamel, Jacob Behmen and Robert Fludd. The Rosicrucian Society in the same manner fails to recognize any worth for occult research in women. This is also an innovation or the scheme of the Ancient Mysteries in many of which, notably those of Isis priestesses and virgin prophetesses, were prominent ministers.
Historic Lecture of the Golden Dawn.
This is ironic in that the SRIA, although it is an organisation for Masons, is not actually Masonic per se! By this I mean that if one were to take any of the additional degrees in Freemasonry – such as the Mark, Royal Arch, Knights Templar, Rose Croix, Royal & Select Masters etc etc etc – as well as the three degrees of Craft Masonry itself, one would notice that they are all based upon a common theme, that of the importance of King Solomon’s Temple in general and the Holy of Holies therein in particular. For example, the original Freemasons built it; the companions of the Royal Arch re-discovered it; the Knights Templar re-discovered it again – and so forth (this could be worthy of a blog post or an article in its own right).
However: the SRIA moves completely away from that Solomonic-paradigm, as it concerns itself with the mythos of Christian Rosenkreutz and the Rosicrucian fraternity. In doing so it provides a number of rituals which come as a delight to those freemasons genuinely interested esoteric matters, but must bewilder those who see the Craft as nothing other than a chance to collect badges. And yet, according to Westcott, it is only half the way there! We should remember that despite the apparent criticism Westcott himself was one of the most ardent supporters of the SRIA, working hard for almost thirty years at least to turn it into a genuine forum for esoteric study and learning.
It has been claimed by minds wiser than myself that the SRIA could remove the Masonic requirement from its ordinances – although personally I think that mucking about with a constitution can often upset people unnecessarily. The only near equivalent would be something like AMORC, but that is different again – it’s a pity that there is not a male/female version.
Sure they can! It would just not be recognised as regular by male Freemasonry, and neither would the body that conferred it.
Incidentally, there are co-Masonic bodies which do work the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite: possibly women-only Masonic bodies as well, but I am not acquainted with them.
Freemasons on this planet do not currently recognise any Grand Lodges or Masonic obediences of a non-Earth origin. Hence we are not in Amity with any Extraterrestrial Masons, and if there is any Alien Masonic activity happening on this planet it would be considered “Clandestine”: i.e. if a regular Freemason tried to take part in it, he would be subject to Masonic Disciplinary Proceedings.
Furthermore, if an extraterrestrial applied for membership of a regular lodge here on Earth, it would run into problems. The qualifications for membership are to be a free *man* aged twenty-one years or more, who believes in a Supreme Being. Hence there might be arguments over whether the extraterrestrial can properly be said to be a “man” or not.
More prosaically: Freemasons probably do know the truth about Extraterrestrials, as many of them (Freemasons that is) are intelligent men who keep up to date with current thinking on astronomy. Freemasonry itself does not have an official opinion on the matter.
So there has been an article in the blogosphere on this subject by Nick Farrell already, but in my opinion, its description of what the GD owes to Freemasonry not go far enough. Here then is my own take on what concepts from Freemasonry have found their way into the Golden Dawn.
Each of the three degrees of Craft Masonry has its own “Lecture” which contains the traditional teaching of the degree. These are written as a Catechism i.e. question and answer format: the original intention being that they could be performed in Lodge as a ritual, if there was not any other degree work to be worked at any given meeting. Furthermore, before being advanced to a higher degree, each candidate was expected to learn the Degree Lecture, and undergo an examination in its contents before proceeding. Unlike the Golden Dawn, the examination was done in oral form in Lodge, in front of the other brethren.
The lectures of the degrees of Masonry can be found here.
Unfortunately, what has happened in modern Freemasonry is that the Degree Lectures are seldom printed with the ritual books, nor are they automatically given to each candidate after he has taken his degree. Furthermore, there is no volition on the part of the United Grand Lodge of England to oblige Lodges to do so. What is left of this traditional practice is that candidates are given a small set of questions to memorise, which in each case amounts to a mere fraction of the original Degree Lecture – without necessarily being made acquainted with the traditional teachings from which they are derived.
Thus, the inclusion of Knowledge Lectures in the Golden Dawn, far from being an Hermetic innovation, is actually an attempt by its founders to get back to the original essence of Freemasonry!
Spiritualisation of the Lodge Room Prior To The Ceremony
One Golden Dawn order used to require members to que[ue] up to enter the temple and give the handshake and whisper the password to the sentinel to get in – all forced, masonic and all un-necessary.
This is disingenuous on Farrell’s part to say the least, because he does not mention why the members were made to leave the Temple and wait outside in the first place.
I, myself, am aware of an order that did this – it was because the Hierophant was busy conducting an Inner Order Ritual to activate the god-forms of the Temple, in advance of the ceremony.
The details of this Inner Order Ritual are a confidential matter for that order, suffice to say that being an inner order ritual, it would have been inappropriate to perform it in front of members of the outer order. Now, think about this: you have a load of outer order members waiting to enter the sacred space of the temple. Do you make them enter in an appropriate manner, which forces them to think about this sacredness, and re-affirm their connection to the energies invoked at the most recent Equinox ceremony? Or do you just say “Right, in you come, you lot.” ?
But I digress.
The idea of spiritualising the ritual space in advance of the meeting is in fact an old Masonic tradition, and is still practiced in some Lodges in Scotland. The form this takes, however, does not consist of elaborate hermetic rituals, but more simply that the officer appointed to prepare the Lodge (the Tyler) offers prayer whilst doing so – specifically in the lighting of the lodge candles. The Tyler’s actions therefore are a form of Candle Magick to invoke Wisdom, Strength and Beauty into the Lodge room! One can therefore appreciate why the Golden Dawn might want to do this, but after a more Qabalistic fashion. I believe that some Lodges in England follow the Scottish practice or do something similar, or at least they did within living memory. Unfortunately, however, as with the Degree Lectures mentioned above, UGLE does not require individual lodges to do this, with the result that although it is traditional, it is not a common feature of modern Freemasonry.
In the context of discussing the grip, Nick says
Unlike the grade signs [the grip] has no inner use either because you don’t tend to shake hands with strange beings to test them…
I’m glad to learn that Grade Signs are a way to communicate with discarnate entities – as let’s face it, grade signs did not exist in the Grimoire Tradition. This means that the introduction of grade signs is a welcome innovation which the Golden Dawn made. Hmm, I wonder where the GD got that idea from…
People Who Only Turn Up For Their Degrees, Then Bugger off.
The sad fact is both Freemasonry and the Golden Dawn have had their portals darkened by people with entitlement issues. I’m talking about people who are willing to jump up the degree or grade ladder themselves, but lose interest when the focus of any given ceremony is not about them, but someone else. This is really contrary to the spirit of joining a magical order in the first place: the point of not being a Billy No-Mates self-initiate is that there is value in helping each other on the path of spiritual evolution, whether that be in the form of taking a formal office, or just by providing moral support to a fellow initiate.
The idea of clubbing together in a fraternal order to help one another is something the GD inherited from Freemasonry, but so too is the fact that there will be people who are unclubbable, who think “what’s in it for me?” Taken to the extreme, they depart as soon as they realise that the only real progression left open to them comes through service to others – again, a legacy from Freemasonry.
This by itself is unfortunate: but what becomes really irritating is that these same people then go on to think that they are now uniquely qualified to pass judgement on the order – whether it be Freemasonry or the Golden Dawn – when in fact they have the least experience of that which they profess to know.
“When I first joined Co-Masonry, I thought at first that it was going to be Freemasonry-Lite. How wrong I was.“
A (male) co-mason.