Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 28 July 2008

Golden Dawn Enochian, Part 1

I will be exploring certain small elements of the Enochian system within the context of the Golden Dawn in this collection of posts (updated sporadically, and on whim), particularly since the Golden Dawn version of Enochian is criticised so much by many modern magicians, particularly the "Dee purist" camp. So, I'm hoping to elucidate exactly why some of those "mistakes" (i.e. changes) have been made, and just how they fit into the Golden Dawn system as a whole.

First there are the Elemental Kings, as the Golden Dawn called them, or the Solar Kings as we in the O.'.S.'.D.'.L.'. called them (to avoid confusion with the Great or Supreme Elemental Kings, which continuously occurred, as well as to more oviously point out their solar nature). The name of the Elemental/Solar King is obtained from a central "whorl" of each Tablet, reading clockwise, as follows:

As you can see, this encompasses eight squares. Thus, for the Air/ORO Tablet, we have BATAIVAH. However, these aren't the instructions Dee was given. He was never told to use all eight letters, but to choose from one of the two central letters, A or H, each representing Mercy and Severity respectively:

"Put the A or the h that stand in the Center, to it: Thou hast Bataiva or Bataivh. You must take but one of them, either the A or the h. A, comiter, and h in extremis Judiciis."

A True & Faithful Relation, P. 178

Comiter is Latin for "kind", "courteus", "merciful", and so forth, while in extemis Judiciis is Latin for "in extreme judgement" (i.e. Severity). Now, apart from the obvious correlation to the Qabalah (Judgement [Din] is another name for Geburah, for example), which supports my emphatic suggestion that all students wishing to learn and use Enochian should acquire a knowledge of the Qabalah first, I have to ask: why did the Golden Dawn seemingly ignore these instructions on using only one letter? We could potentially ask if they were aware of it, but it seems hard to think that they were not, seeing as they got many other elements of name derivation correct. So why did they use both letters?

My answer to this question is that, like all other areas of Golden Dawn work, balance is key. They would never have employed just Mercy or just Severity, and so they deliberately combined both, forming a single eight-letter name, where the Elemental/Solar King would have access to both his merciful and severe aspects, allowing a multi-purpose entity, suitable for a wider range of workings, and more in line with the basic tenets of the Golden Dawn system.
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