Mishkan ha-Echad

Friday, 18 September 2009

Officers & Grade Sashes

[Edit 2012: I should point out that further research, contemplation, and discussion has led me to believe my prior views on sashes held by officers was wrong. The documents themselves make it clear that they were worn by officers in the original ritual, and many of my other points can be easily argued against. I leave the post intact for the sake of the debate, but I recommend any group wishing to follow the traditional Golden Dawn system keep the sashes for officers.]

In a recent discussion with Nick Farrell on his blog the topic of officers wearing grade sashes in ritual came up. Both he and I are of the opinion that these should not be worn when holding an office, for a number of reasons:

  1. They can be impractical. An officer has enough to wear with a robe, tabard/cloak, collar and lamen, and so forth. Adding a sash to the mix only makes things more cumbersome.
  2. The Initiate may be, for practical reasons, of a lower grade than the office requires. For example, there may not be a 4=7 to take the role of Hiereus, and thus a 2=9 may have to hold this office. In this circumstance wearing the 2=9 sash would clash with the role and teachings behind the role.
  3. When the Initiate enters the Temple they are "Frater Bob", a 2=9, for example, but when they take on an office they are no longer "Frater Bob", but "Frater Hiereus" (and the godform behind the office). Therefore they should be wearing the badge of Hiereus and not the badge of Theoricus (or other grades).
  4. When a Candidate in 0=0 is being led around the Temple and gets his or her brief sights of the regalia, etc. of each officer, he or she should see the regalia of that officer, not their sash. It not only serves to distract from the real symbolism present within the regalia, but may confuse grades and energies, for a 0=0 should not be constantly seeing the sashes of higher grades in the officers initiating him/her.
  5. Ultimately it could be seen as feeding the ego, especially in light of the above magical reasons not to use it. Sashes and grades are notorious for inflating the ego, and to wear them while holding an office could prove disastrous as the energies of the individual and the role (and godform) they are playing are confused and muddled.
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