Mishkan ha-Echad

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Golden Dawn for All?

The Golden Dawn was one of the first Orders to accept women as members. Indeed, it was so open to women that they often held the "top jobs". The Golden Dawn also accepted members from all religions. However, this element of equality did not extend to all areas. There is the infamous case of Crowley being rejected for his 5=6 on the basis of his sexual orientation (dealt with to some degree here), though that was clearly not the only reason for his rejection. I wonder how many others were or might have been rejected on similiar grounds in the overly prudish Victorian society in which the Golden Dawn originally grew. And what of other inequalities were there, such as rejection on the basis of age, race, nationality, political persuasion, or disability?

The reasons why a person should be rejected by a Golden Dawn Order should be more to do with their attitude, their willingness or unwillingness to do the Work, etc. than anything that has little or nothing to do with the occult. For example, despite what some authors on the Qabalah might say about the "corruptions of Netzach" (which has no basis in tradition), a gay man or woman is not hindered by their sexual orientation in either attaining the grades of a GD order, of holding an office, or of climbing the Tree of Life. And while a man or woman in a wheelchair may find it difficult to circumambulate around a small temple, that does not hinder their ability to comprehend the material or be an effective magician.

Thus it is simply unacceptable for a modern group to reject anyone on the basis of prejudice, and, let's face it, it is prejudice. Trying to find some mystical excuse for one's prejudice does not make it any better. In fact, it makes it worse in many ways, as it then becomes a teaching that is passed onto others, just as all prejudice is. If we are all sparks of the Divine then we cannot afford to reject people on these grounds.

This is not to say that the Golden Dawn is for all people or that it should open its doors to all and sundry. It is, and always has been, an elitist group. This is not a bad thing, even though the term "elitist" has many negative connotations nowadays. The Golden Dawn is there for those who will benefit from it and for those will benefit the Order. It is a two-way street, as an unpublished SM document entitled "On Recruiting for the Order" (1915) states:

"It must be constantly remembered that as every Member should receive benefits from the Order, so he should also contribute to its well-being."

One of the requirements for a member that this document includes is an "average mental capacity" and that they have no "difficulty in assimilating new ideas, or any want of teachableness."

This is not really asking a lot, but one would be surprised at what kinds of people attempt to join an esoteric Order. Having average or above intelligence is simply a must in terms of being able to learn and undertstand the material, especially considering that ceremonial magic is a little bit more "head-heavy" than some aspects of the occult. More important than this, however, is a certain amount of emotional stability. Accepting unstable people will ultimately lead to disaster as the energies of the grades lead to even further instability and possible breakdown. Not only may this adversely affect the person, but it is the kind of thing that closes Temples and Orders. It is not good for any egregore. It may be difficult to notice such instability at first, of course, or it may develop over time as the person fails to balance the elements within them. Criminal activity is also another reason for rejecting an applicant, depending on the nature and severity of the crime.

Issues such as the above are the things people should be accepted or rejected on, not on things that do not hinder their ability to grow within the Order nor hinder the growth of other members and the Order itself. The Golden Dawn is not for all, but the reasons for rejecting members often need to be looked at more clearly to see if a prejudice is behind it all.

If it were up to you, what reasons would you accept or reject an applicant on?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, and I think this is a very important question, what about those who suffer from chronic depression, if they are properly medicated? I have seen a great deal of prejudice against those with treatable (and treated) mental illnesses in the occult field, to the degree that I am sure these people are unwilling to communicate about their experiences. Do you have an opinion on this?

Dean Wilson said...

If they are dealing with it and it is not interfering with other people in the temple in a negative manner I see no problem. We all have our issues to deal with as part of the process. None of us are perfect.

LVX,
Dean.

Anonymous said...

Dean, thanks for your comment on my blog post as well. It must be in the stars that we're discussing such a similar theme! I found your post very interesting and engaging. Thank you!

I actually would ask you in return, knowing the history of Ireland (and being 1/2 Irish myself), if you personally would reject a potential member on the grounds of their involvement in any paramilitary organizations (Real IRA, UDA, etc.)? Not to open up any discussions about the political situation in Ireland/Northern Ireland, but just in regards to the GD?

In LVX,
Fr. AENE

Dean Wilson said...

Care Frater AENE,

That is a tough question and a sensitive issue. If they have comitted murder or aided in the comitting of murder while being involved in such groups that is probably grounds enough to reject them. They would have to be ex-members at the very least for consideration, and, of course, the politics must never enter temple life.

LVX,
Dean.

Anonymous said...

Ave Dean,

Amen Frater! I would feel the same about rejecting any member here in the US that was involved actively and committed crimes, say as members of the Branch Davidians or the Silver Legion. (I chose two groups that are defunct, but I think you get the idea.)
Glad to see there's some rational members of the GD still out there!

In LVX,
Fr. AENE

jj said...

Well like the Scientologists use an E-Meter. And I was thinking if the Golden Dawn could create its own type of Meter thing. You know like to check mental ability, IQ. Or even something cooler like a Predictometer that would tell you like the future and u could say, 'hey this person is gonna be a spiritual dud'. I thought part of the reason for spiritual groups was to attract the crazies no one else wanted & lead them to higher levels. Like I thought that was part of the fun of the whole thing.

Solitary Dawn said...

Specifically within teh Occult (as such) one would expect a higher level of tolerance and acceptance of religion and belief, race, politics etc. When it comes to politics it is rather a "do not say, do not ask" kind of a position I would say. For good reasons, the masons do not allow any political or religious talk within their lodges (these days). If, of course, it becomes obvious, that someone's personal background (or personality?) does not correspond with the Order's tradition, well then there is a need for action - also for the protecting of the order and its members... - well said sir...

In L.V.X.
Arcad

Lauren said...

Ave Dean,

I'm glad you posted this, and thanks for you comment Anonymous.

What we call depression today was called something different in Victorian times. Psychoanalysis was in its infancy. So it's difficult to look at the original GD and how it treated these cases; they weren't even the same then as they are now. Depression and anxiety weren't medicalized yet; the only "mentally ill" were psychotics in inpatient institutions.

Today we see mental illness very differently. Everyone's internal workings are specific to themselves, but I think too often medication can be used to shut out the inner voice; the voice that is screaming at us and trying to tell us when we're not living the best we can. Our emotions and our mood can be powerful indicators, powerful barometers as to how we're living our lives. For some people, the sensors don't work right, and for these people it really is a serious disability and they can benefit from an intervention. So medications can be a double-edged sword. But whether treated or not, anyone who has suffered any kind of emotional illness is liable to have a hard time in Practicus and/or Philosophus.

This path involves a lot of suffering. You're not going to get very far in terms of real development if you are afraid of suffering. I'm not trying be a sadist here; the Great Work is difficult. I think anyone who's done it for any length of time will agree with me on that. We all struggle and we all have dark times on the path.

That said I think everyone beginning to undertake magical work should take Regardie's advice and get psychotherapy, especially if they are not working within an Order. You need a support network of some kind. There will always be problems, but some are part of the growth process of a magician and some aren't. Unfortunately most therapists won't be able to tell the difference. Occultists need to see through their own prejudice too; we don't know until we really talk with someone what their situation really is.

In LVX,
Lauren

Solitary Dawn said...

Care Lauren,

well said. However, as for the advise to get psychotherapy when starting the working, me thinks it is difficult to find someone who has the right amount (and will) of understanding what it means to follow the path of teh Great Work. My feeling is that wuite some of these fellows may believe that your working with the divine, calling upon Isis, Archangels etc already is a symptom of some sort of a psychological disorder. "You want to talk to teh lizzard in the flame (see Fra AITs' recent post)? Well maybe you lie down here for a sec..."...

In L.V.X (and Os ;) )
Arcad

Dean Wilson said...

Yes, that's a major difficulty, Arcad. Finding a counsellor who is open to the esoteric is not easy, but thankfully Jung's interests in the occult and Gnosticism will have helped influence a few of his admirers. Of course, you don't necessarily need to mention your magical work, and you could simply refer to it as your "religion", without going into details about visions, etc. At the end of the day magic is another form of therapy.

LVX,
Dean.

Lauren said...

Therapy can also be an exercise in remaining silent too... After all you may get the most benefit from the therapy even if you don't disclose your magical work, or disclose it only in a limited way. Find a Jungian or some transpersonal-oriented practitioner and you should have no problems.

Magic itself is absolutely therapy, just like Dean said. But I don't think it's complete by itself; the GD has its blind spots too. In theory, yes, but in practice I don't think GD work gets at every potential issue a person could have. If it did, there wouldn't be the rampant ego issues and crap we see all the time in magical groups.

"But this is the fault of the First Matter of the Work, which is so muddled that many operations are required to unify it." (Uncle Al Book 4 on the Neophyte Formula) Basically we need all the help we can get.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

In my opinion you cannot combine antidepressives (and other psychopharmaceuticals)with initiation. Why?

Initiation is about "knowing yourself" and I know for a fact that even our modern antidepressives make you more insensitive (that's the point in taking medication). They effectively put the lid on you subconscious and emotional life, at least in part.

I have no problems with depressives or melancholics in my Temple, but if they are not prepared to deal with their emotional issues the G.D. is not for them. And if a candidate has a biological (materialistic) view upon mental illness, instead of the psycho-dynamic or spiritual, he or she has no place in a G.D. Temple.

And if one cannot be without antidepressives, I would say that categorizes someone as "emotionally unstable", to use Dean's own words. Again persons with severe mental illness have no place in the G.D. And in my experience lots of mentally ill people seek out the mysteries, for a help of a remedy.

You cannot substitute psychotherapy with initiation. And if you prefer your medication instead of psychotherapy (i.e. dealing with your problems and getting to know yourself) you have no place in a G.D. Temple.

You may find my words severe and harsh. Perhaps they are. But they are based upon over a decade of experience of initiation and initiatory processes. Today I have a quite severe selecting process for my Temple that takes one year, at least. I use my professional knowledge of psychotherapy to spot the unprepared.

Regarding finding good therapist and prejudice against the occult. I don't know how the situation is in your countries, but in Sweden a psychotherapist isn't allowed to intervene in their patient's religious or political convictions, or sexual orientation for that matter. It is unethical, according to the code of professional psychotherapists in my country, to try to "cure" their patients from religious, political and sexual preferences. I guess it's the same in your countries.

Psychotherapy isn't about curing disease. It's about broadening the perspective and deepening the understanding of yourself, to emancipate you. The patient defines what the problem is and what should be worked upon. The therapist uses himself and his experience to assist the patient in this process of emancipation. It can be likened to a initiatory process.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Lauren said...

The biological view of mental illness has its place. Our bodies are constantly making psychopharmaceuticals all the time: in the form of hormones. Any health problem (or biological process) which causes a change in hormone balance causes a change in our mental and emotional state. Any woman who has been through menopause or PMS can attest to this. So should post-menopausal women stop taking estrogen replacement therapy? What about those who have lost endocrine glands due to cancer? Would you make initiates stop taking birth control pills because they are hormone altering and thus to some extent mind-altering?

My point here is to show that it's a slippery slope and there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

As much as I am an adherent of psychodynamic and transpersonal approaches, applying the psychodynamic attitude when psychological difficulties are due to underlying medical issues is like trying to use a hammer to put a screw in the wall. They are just different, and that's why it's important to have regular physical exams in case something comes up that is biological. If someone's fatigued due to undiagnosed diabetes, it's unethical to tell them they're just not paying enough attention their dreams.

The mind-body split is not so clear cut as we might wish it was. My own experience has shown me that I have to look at a person's magical potential based on individual merit and overall presence, rather than some construct of "mental illness." It's quite anxiety-provoking to remember that our minds are subject to certain biological factors which we (as individuals) may not be in control of. So I wonder if this same anxiety isn't influencing the views of those who want to categorically bar all individuals with "mental illness" from magical work.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Cara Lauren,

You make good points. I agree that there is no real differentiation between body and spirit. And it is of course correct that the body produces hormones which are related to emotional states. "As above so below".

What I am strongly against however is the general view that the origin of mental "illness" resides in the brain, in matter.

I adhere to the psychodynamic view that the true origin of mental illness resides in the social context of the individual and how each particular individual chooses to deal with the facts of life and that unique context experienced by the individual. This especially is relevant for all kinds of depressive or melancholic states, but also hold true to very severe "disorders" such as schizophrenia.

Depression is not a malfunction of the brain; it is a reaction or a way of coping with existential issues (as are all "mental disorders"). The same may be said about schizophrenia.

What we observe in the brain (the seratonine level, etc.) and the body is a reaction to these experiences and reactions to trauma. This fully confirms the hermetic axiom of "spirit over matter".

However I agree that some physical (somatic) disorders may change consciousness and the emotional state. But we are not talking about chronical depression (as a psychiatric diagnosis) in these instances, so it’s not relevant to our discussion.

As I said I don't believe in the concept of mental illness. Our behaviour and mental attitude is our individual way of coping with life and our life's experiences; a survival strategy. Sometimes this strategy can be very hindering indeed. That's why people seek out therapy.

If someone resorts to taking medication as a solution, that's fine by me. I'm not in a position to judge his character. But when it comes to initiation I have to look at certain criteria, and this particular strategy is not what is to be expected from someone seeking initiation (at least not in my Temple).

I don't particularly like the analogy of diabetes and insulin. I have heard that argument before, especially by people taking antidepressive medicine (it more sounds like their doctor speaking). It's a very easy and comforting way of not dealing with one's existential issues. And that is not becoming of a aspiring initiate.

Of course women applicants should be allowed to take estrogen pills. It cannot be compared to taking SSRI medication (antidepressives). So it's no issue. Again, estrogen cannot be compared to psychopharmaceuticals proper even if it affects your emotional life (but it doesn’t put the lid on it). Meno-pause is a natural state of a woman, and cannot be regarded as a disease as pregnacy cannot.

I am addressing psychiatric diagnosis here, not somatic. And my experience tells me that you cannot fully take the advantage of initiation and magic if you are on psychopharmaceuticals or sedation.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Dean Wilson said...

I think I would agree that using anti-depression medication numbs the individual from feeling their emotions, which would most likely result in an ineffective initiation and pointless gradework. Or it could lead to a breakdown if the magical work combats the "burying" effect of the medication by exposing the issues the person needs to address.

The problem with such medication is that it only "delays" the problem, treating the symptoms in order that the person may get on with life. It does not actually address the root of the issue, however. Short-term doses of anti-depressants may be useful in helping to cope with particularly bad periods, but in the long-term the bigger issues need to be looked at. If that is not possible then magical work is probably the wrong path to take.

I do agree with Lauren, however, that there is a physical aspect to these things aswell. Not getting enough sleep or light (for example, winter time) can deplete us and cause short-term depression. This is not something we would require therapy for, but can be combatted in a physical manner (sleep, foods, etc.). Generally speaking I would see the medication as a very last resort, however, and only for a short period.

LVX,
Dean.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

I would also like to add, inspired by a posting on Pat's forum, that depression also gives a opportunity for spiritual progress. There is the term "dark night of the soul" which basically is a depression induced by spiritual practices.

Depression forces you to look into yourself and revalue your life. In this instance taking antidepressives would seriously harm this opportunity of self-knowledge and spiritual progress. I have seen this at close hand in one of my students so I'm talking out of experience here.

Someone on that forum (with an extreme materialistic viewpoint on the mechanics of soul) said that SSRI medication doesn't numb you emotionally. While it is true that it doesn't take away your emotional life it does in fact level out your depression. And for all practical purposes this is a "numbning" in my opinion.

From a psychoanalytical or psychodynamic perspective depression gives you the opportunity too descend into your unconsious. I have seen this in my clinical experience and in others, as this is typical of these kinds of therapuetic methods.

There is a phase in psychotherapy when the patient experiences depression, the equivalent of a "dark night of the soul". But the patient must persevere to be able to reclaim his or her life. The same may be said of intiation.

Massive clinical experience (of the psychodynamic variety) says that SSRI medication actively hinders this necessary therapeutic process of the descent into darkness. Much resarch points out to the fact that psychodynamic psychotherapy (i.e. which takes the unconsious into account) is more successful if not combined with antidepressives. But this means that one have to accept a period of worsened symphtoms.

So I have no prejudice at all against melancholics. On the contrary I prefer them as they often are of the reflective and aware kind, not to say sensitive, compassionate and emphatic. But if diagnosed with clinical depression and considering initiation they have to choose between their medication (if any) or being initiated. Sometimes taking psychotherapy before initiation is recommended to better prepare them for initiation.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Niall MacSiúrtáin said...

Hmm I'm sorry but I have to seek clarification on something here. Are we discussing clinical-depression or bi-polar disorder specifically? While I am far from a trained medical professional I have always understood medication for bi-polar disorder to affect mood, as many bi-polar sufferers have referred to the medication's "numbing" effect and this is a primary rationale for them stopping their medication 'because they want to feel again".

For those with clinical depression the same medication could affect them differently.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Niall,

We are talking about the diagnosis of clinical depression, not bi-polar. They use different medication for these two diagnosis. You wrote somewhere that you have epilepsy. I don't know how they do it in Ireland, but here in Sweden they give bi-polars epilepsy medication, as recent "research" has "discovered" that this kind of medication also has a levelling effect on mood swings.

Strange. You know who are behind all these new "therapies" and diagnosis, who gives funds for this kind of "research"? The pharma companies who produces the medicine.

This is perhaps little off topic, but may be interesting to read for some. Now hear. Normally one identifies a symptom and try to find a remedy for it through research. When it comes to SSRI medicine, the situation was the reverse. Researchers suddenly discovered this new serotonin inhibiting effect through an experiment and then the company started to ponder on what kind of ailments it could be used agains; what new markets could be profited upon.

Discussing with their sponsored doctors a new disorder were invented, called "panic anxiety". Voalá! The company created a new marked with the help of their doctors. The stockholders laughted all their way to the bank.

What else? The patent for SSRI medication just went out a year ago. Suddenly SSRI medicine can be produced very cheap by other companies in third world countries, etc. But you know what? The patent for this particular kind of epilepsy medicine has not gone out yet. So what new "diagnosis" have been created? Bi-polar light!

History repeats itself. If you would look into the dirty business of pharma industry you would come to fear the dark. This is not a "conspiracy theory". It is all well documented.

Regarding the numbing effect of SSRI medication. I had a talk to a quite well known psychotherapist in Sweden. He confirmed my thesis with his own clinical experience, without me mentioning my recent discussion with you guys. He litterary said that his patient who are on SSRI medication cannot sink down to the level of emotions necessary in trauma therapy. She can only work on middle levels and higher cognitive levels. This effectively inhibits the therapeutic effect.

With SSRI medication you effectively make it harder to feel deep feelings (deep as dark, frustrating and depressive, etc.) but are induced to feel high feelings (high as in feelings of happiness, well being, etc.). If you want to work with your self (with your demons so to speak) you have to be able to sink down into your deeper emotional layers. This applies both to psychotherapy and initiation.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Niall MacSiúrtáin said...

Yes I understand we're talking two different conditions but I wasn't sure if everyone was making the distinction here because I do think and this is just my assumptions based on the limited knowledge I have, that when comes to people reporting a sense of "numbness" in their emotions its usually those dealing with bi-polar disorder. I believe someone made the criticism that the medication could inhibit a person's experience of the grade work.

Yes SR, I do have a form of epilepsy and my own medication was originally marketed for those dealing with clinical depression. So I know that your comments about pharmaceutical companies do tend to draw the cornerstone of the retail market. In Ireland they even managed to get St John's Wort off the market and thats been proven for a variety of issues.

Kether said...

This is some of the most medically ignorant stuff I've ever read. Insincerus Renatus, get thee back to a current Neurology/Endocrine text. Altho what u say about the pharma industry is correct, your mechanistic comments about mind/body/spirit are so outmoded as to be laughable. Guess what? The same brain cells that pump out hormones in reaction to stress/depression (which is multi-factorial, genetic, familial, cultural, environmental) are affected by those very same hormones. Hence you have a 'damaged' feedback loop. Sad to say that stress/depression are minor, very minor, forms of brain damage. We are definitely in an over medicated/corporate driven culture, but a depressive on a spiritual path is better than a dead depressive. Your limited view says it all. That's why I would encourage everyone to not seek you out spiritually. The great teachers work with everyone and anyone.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Kether,

Thank you for your constructive critisism ;-)

I base my opinions on my own clinical experience and the clinical experience of other therapists (people who I admire as professionals). And I base my opinions on my own experience as a initiatior, and as a initiate. And I base my opinions on spiritual texts and on the texts of psychoanalysts.

The psychodynamic view upon melancholy and depression is definitely not outmoded. Far from it. It is constantly evolving. Modern research clearly shows that the effect of psychotherapy is severelly lessened when combined with SSRI medication.

We are talking about different paradigms here. Paradigms are always constructions of the mind. So called "natural science" is not less faith based than any other religion, or philosophy or psychology, etc. The problem is that "natural scinence", or positivism, isn't aware of this human factor or chooses to ignore it, contrary to hermeneutic science. The only exception being quantum phsysics. Biologists are probably the most stubborn and conservative scientists ever walking this earth.

I am aware that I put my chin out when I express these views. But I believe its time someone in the occult community says "enough". What appals me is when so called occultist experess and support these kind of materialistic reasoning.

Regarding the non-inclusive attitude I'm expressing. The G.D. has always been non-inclusive and it will always be. While I as a psychotherapist never would exclude anyone based on their psychiatric diagnosis I definitely would when it comes to initiation.

Your attitude of all inclusiveness only reveals you ignorance in these matters of initiation. Contrary to you I have a responsibilty towards the applicant and towards the people initiating him. It's easy to sit behind your desk and passing out judgements when you don't have to take this kind of responsibility.

But I must restate my main point here: I'm not against melancholics or people having depression taking initiation. What I'm against is combining SSRI medication with initiation. There's a big difference here.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Lauren said...

Care Sincerus Renatus,

As a grad student in psychology, I'd be interested in seeing this study you've made reference to several times about SSRIs and psychotherapy. I was also wondering, is it only psychodynamic therapy that is negatively impacted, or is it therapy from other orientations? Personally I throw my lot in more with the existentialist and humanistic than with the psychodynamic, but all these views have their applications.

LVX,
Lauren

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Cara Lauren,

I have to come back to you on that reference. I received it "orally" from my teacher and tutor of the institute which has trained me in psychotherapy. He is however very knowlegable in these matters and I have no reason to question him on this matter. He is quite well known in Sweden and often engages in the debate here against the reductionist and biological view upon man which is prevalent in our country.

I have to contact him to get that reference. It may take some time. He is still my tutor and I meet him regularily every two weeks. I will ask him during our next meeting. Hope it's o.k. that I wait until then?

I agree with you that there is much worth in the humanistic and existential schools of psychology. I'm especially fond of R.D. Laing's view upon the schizoid and schizophrenic disorder found in his book 'The Divided Self'.

Actually that book was part of the curriculum of the psychoanalytical course that I took. Existentialism integrates very well with psychoanalysis. Sartre even wrote a film script about the life of Freud.

Keep up the good work!

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Kether said...

Perhaps inclusiveness comes from a place of intelligence, not ignorance. Based on this discussion, I wouldn't go near Golden Dawn,& I'm sure others would have the same feeling. My medical & spiritual training are based on 40 years of work, & current practice. These postings are nothing more than Spiritual Eugenics. I am blessed to have teachers so great, that they do not make anyone fill out a medical form, for they are wise enough to know that the spiritual mind & nature is vast enough to contain all. Insincerus Renatus, you are more than welcome for the constructive criticism. It comes from years of 'work' of all kinds. I know when to advocate for people, & I know when to cut ignorance at the root. Am willing to help you out on either advocacy or metaphorical knife throwing. It comes from a paradigm of compassion.

soror phineas said...

Yes, the Golden Dawn was historically exclusive and elitist. The original group was so exclusive and elitist that their teachings were almost lost when the group broke apart. Who would have carried this spiritual knowledge to the next generation if Crowley and Regardie had not gone ahead and just published the Golden Dawn material for everyone to read? Had it not been for that, chances are that few people reading or posting on this website would ever have come into contact with this material.

Remember, even Dion Fortune was rejected from one of the post-G.D. groups for not having the right symbols in her aura. ("A perfectly unanswerable charge.") And Fortune had her own issues with mental illness. Would you have kept Dion Fortune out of your group too?

A lot has changed in the last century or so, and going crazy just ain't what it used to be. In fact, it's much more common, and it is foolish to pretend to understand all of the reasons for this societal shift. The very drugs demonized in these posts are the ones most frequently prescribed by doctors today.

Philip K. Dick said that sometimes going insane is the only sane response to an insane society. He was a visionary, too, but I doubt he would have been able to live up to these standards, either. Another potential G.D. reject!

Though Crowley was barely out of school when he joined the Golden Dawn, he immediately observed that "the members of the Order were as vulgar and commonplace as any other set of average people." Elitism be damned. We all start out as lead.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Kether,

I must admit that your first letter did provoke som irritation on my part. But your last one only evokes compassion for you. I sense from the words you so eloquently express, the name-calling and strong adjectives, that somehow you are dealing with strong emotions. Now I don't know their actual genesis. However, it would be more constructive for you if you withrew your projection from me and dealt with it yourself. I'm sure anyone of your spiritual stature are able to, and if not I'm conviced your teachers are great enough to help you out on this project.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
I:.R:.

Kether said...

Ahhhh, but Sincerely Reny, my teachers are so great, they have encouraged my strong emotions, for therein lies the path. My teachers are so brave, they would in fact encourage your arrogance to grow as large as a universe, & then, in one stroke, teach you to cut it at the root, that's how great they are. Fearless. Can you make the same claim? After all, you are petrified of a spiritual student on anti depressants. lol. poof!

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Cara Sor. Phineas,

You make some good points. Regarding the profanation of the G:.D:. by Crowley and Regardie, that's an entire different topic. But I must say that Regardie also effectively killed off all active Temple work in one of the branches of the G:.D:., namely the A.O. We can only speculate what would have become of the G:.D:. hadn't he published the material. Surely it wouldn't be as common as today, but we would perhaps still had had active and alive Temples which would have continued semi-public lives.

Regarding Dion Fortune I didn't know she was suffering from any mental disorder, other than the usual neurotic melancholy or schizoid character of most members. I know she was a layman analyst, so she must have been in analysis herself; i.e. she dealt progressively with her emotional issues. What post G:.D:. group rejected her? She was both a member of the A.O. and the S.M.

It is always an assessment to be made in each individual case. I have a selection process which takes ca. one year. After the first meeting I wouldn't reject anyone only on the basis of them having emotional difficulties, or even on SSRI medication. Who hasn't emotional issues or some sorts of depressions from time to time? I would of course immediately reject anyone exhibiting psychosis.

I once met a person seeking admission who believed he received messages from extraterrestrials through his TV set. He even suggested I was an alien! Would you have admitted him to your group had you been his initiator?

This is of course an extreme case. But after a year I am able to better assess the mental state of any candidate and above all his or her discipline and devotion to the Work. It is not the emotional issues per se that is the question here (we all have them more or less) but how we choose to deal with them. That's the actual issue.

As you state, we are all lead at the beginning. A spiritual journey is also a mending of the soul, including the emotional issues. But its is a very drastic formulae which has its dangers and pitfalls. For the sake of the applicant I have to make an assessment if he or she would benefit from it or suffer a worse condition. That's my responsibility and karma.

Anyone with experience of the G:.D:. initiatory process will confirm my words. You have to have a certain basic level of integration of self and minimum level of emotional balance before you venture on this initiatory journey.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

jj said...

Yeah, Phineass, like Shatner is like way cool and i'm not sure this Sect would've let him in, like he says in this song
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5m76m_william-shatner-sings-pulp-common-p_music

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Kether (whoever you are),

That sounds great. Good for you.

May I suggest that you come down to my place if you want to continue this pissing contest, instead of polluting Dean's beatiful blog.

http://gyllenegryningen.blogspot.com/2010/02/melancholy-and-initiation.html

Who are your great and brave teachers btw? Who are you? All I can see is bold claims hiding behind anonymity. How convenient.

Prove to us that you are not another one of these tiresome blog trolls. Show yourself, or shut up.

S:.R:.

Kether said...

Take me to your fearless leader! I am part Martian, part Caucasian, have trouble with those forms that ask me my ethnic background, so I just write 'other'.
Have totally enjoyed the pissing contest with you S.R., & sorry, indeed I do pissing contests rudely. Absolutely true. I study Buddhism. Am not 'hiding' anything, just took discussion in a certain direction without giving it context. Agree with you, my way of getting into pissing contests is quite rude, & totally full of passion, aggression, & ignorance (in Buddhism, known as the 3 poisons) on my side. We don't know each other, & I was totally poking at you too much to make a point that I obscured rather than clarified. One of my Tibetan Gurus said that a main problem in students is not that we are so emotional, but rather that we don't allow emotions to arise enough. How can we transform any of the 3 poisons, if we don't allow them to arise? The problem is that to do that takes a lot of spiritual skill. I don't at all have that skill, quite obvious from my posts. I partly poke at people to allow emotions to heighten in all 'dialoguists', myself especially. Because these emotions are the 'lead' that transforms into gold. I encourage 'lead' to be vivid in myself, & poke at others to see their 'lead', to try to get to the 'Prima Materia'. On this blog, my ignorance & arrogance has been quite obvious & unskilled.
I've never studied this tradition.
I don't want to talk this issue to death, S.R. I agree. I am not at all familiar with this subject.
In the pissing contest, some of you could stand, but I admit, I would have to squat. I am a nurse, who has worked primarily with under served populations. & the 'usual suspects' who are slammed in the medical system, are slammed in Spiritual communities. Buddhists teachers (in general), don't want you to check your ego and neurosis, psychosis, and meds at the door because if you did, there would be no ladder to enlightenment. Do I think this is better than the traditions presented here? Absolutely not, actually. But the idea of any exclusivity on a Spiritual path concerns me. And I have indeed seen many Buddhists be exclusive.
As a ground rule, I think it's important to do what's of most benefit for the most people, so yes, I'd be one of the first to stop someone trying to physically attack someone at any gathering. But the person who believes in ET & you as a Martian, needs & deserves some kind of Spiritual guidance. Maybe that guidance comes in the form of modified individual or group support, but instead what I see in medicine & spiritual groups, is that this kind of person is shunned. The 'lead' in them frightens the 'lead' in us. Indeed, S.R. I poked at you, because your struggles that you verbalize so well, of who you allow in, & who you push out, mirror my own ideas of who should be in or out of any aspect of our lives. Whenever I, or anyone, is thinking 'this one gets inside, this one stays outside', it is a mirror of a lack of attainment. (my own lack very included). I got pissy on this blog just to hold a mirror up to me and all of us of what we find offensive. Because I believe embracing what we find offensive is a very strong rung on the spiritual ladder. So yes, I allowed my offensiveness to show, to make vivid on this very blog, what all of us, myself included wants to shun.
Poking at you, S.R. was probably unfair. I didn't plan it. It was just a sense that you would engage in some way. And we did engage in some way, a way that is usually perceived as unpleasant, but which can end up in interesting places. I so appreciate your ability to take up the challenge & grapple. & I unskillfully and clumsily did show the very thing we want to shun. If we can't embrace even Martians, who are we spiritually?
Thank you Dean, for making this forum a golden dawn for all, pun quite intended.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Kether,

You are most welcome.

I agree with you and your teachers that emotions, especially "negative" so-called, are very important or imperative for our spiritual progression. That's why I'm so against medicine which hinders the emotional contents to arise.

The G:.D:. is a very emotional and bumpy ride. You basically disturb or awaken your repressed sides of yourself. It is like a bellows igniting the parks into a full fire in the athanor of the unconsious. So you have to evoke the emotions, the inner fire, and their contents to get to know them and to be able to transform or transmute them.

Sometimes things go wrong, very wrong, and people end up being very hurt by the initiatory process, and even end up in the lap of a psychiatrist, because they cannot cope with the disturbed emotional contents. Unfortunately I have seen this happen at close hand. It's not a pleasent experience for anyone. That's why I recommend taking psychotherapy in conjunction with initiation.

Likewise with initiation psychotherapy is also about stirring the emotions and the repressed sides of yourself into life, to be able to transform them and your own attitudes to them.

In some cases certain individuals would benefit more from taking another spiritual route than the G:.D:. because of the extremetly dynamic process involved with initiation. A spiritual teacher must be able to see if the path that he represents is beneficial for the student, or if perhaps another path would serve him or her better.

For example, if someone with an extreme disassociate personality, such as of a severe schizoid type, would take up initiation in a G:.D:. context, the risk is to great that he or she would suffer a severe trauma or even psychosis because of the necessary disintegrating process contained in the initiatory path (the solve phase of alchemy).

In this case a recommendation to take up Zen Buddhism, or something similar meditative path, would be more beneficial as that kind of deep meditation has more of a integrating effect upon the soul, which would help and benefit the schizoid character more.

Likewise in psychotherapy, a therapist may choose to not take on a patient on different grounds, but he would always reccomend another therapist for the patient. So just because a applicant is barred from initiation into a Temple doesn't mean that he isn't going to get any help or guidance from it.

The G:.D:. is not a religion, even if it is a spiritual path. One may debate wether Buddhism is religion or not, but one trait is shares in common with religion is that it is inclusive.

The G:.D:. is better compared with "spiritual therapy". As with all kinds of therapeutic systems, such as exemplified by rehab houses, they often meet the applicant or client first and then decide if their form of therapy or thretment would benefit from it. This is similar with how it is done in the G:.D:., at least in my Temple.

Hence, the G:.D:. (nor any spiritual path for that matter) suits everyone or may help all. But a experienced teacher may at least guide the seeker to the right path.

If I come to the decision that someone would not benefit of initiation into my Temple I always guide them somewhere else and also offer my cousel through corresponcence. That's the least I can do.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Kether said...

S.R. Thank you for guiding those who don't enter your temple in a direction that might benefit them. I don't agree that deep meditation could have an integrating effect on a schizoid, necessarily. For example, silent breathing meditation, with a focus on mindfulness is also a ground ripe for hallucinations. Meditations with visualizations could enhance psychosis. It is a bit hard to discuss because there are so many different approaches in Buddhism. (in fact there are 84,000 root Buddhist texts, & there is a joke that Buddhists believe in rebirth just so that they can come back to continue to read these texts.)
Indeed Buddhism is claimed to be both a philosophy & a religion. I personally don't think it's inclusive because it doesn't present the same challenges as the G.D. (I say this based on my experience of Buddhism, as I made clear I do not have experience of G.D.) When you say a G.D. initiation is dynamic, well Buddhists initiations are also very very dynamic. When you refer to the 'disintegrating process in the initiatory path (the solve phase of alchemy)', I cannot think of anything more 'disintegrating' than the Buddhist path of ego annihilation, and the insistence on continual meditation on your own impermanence & death.
I have personally only studied with Asian teachers trained in Tibet pre diaspora. Years of monastic meditation & study, usually starting in young childhood, do have the end result of producing incredibly skilled teachers.
I would not at all comment on the skill of G.D. teachers, since I never studied with any. But I feel Buddhist inclusiveness is an indicator of teachers' training & skill. Teachers will meet with students individually, & suggest certain initiations, meditations, & readings that match up with student needs.
It is not uncommon for Western Buddhist students to also see a therapist, altho it is neither encouraged or discouraged.
One of the posts here, I forget who said it, was about not accepting someone who had committed murder. In fact, there is a famous Tibetan saint named Milarepa who killed most of his family. He later met his guru, studied & practiced Buddhism, I became an enlightened Saint.
Last summer I studied with a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who had murdered Chinese during the invasion & spent 20 years in prison. During that time, he became a devout Buddhist, & is considered a Saint equal to Milarepa. What a loss it would have been if the door to this spiritual path had been closed to them.
Perhaps the main way we differ is that I do not feel psychotropic medications are a hindrance to traversing the dark night of the soul, of being able to do the deep transformative work required for attainment. That is just not my experience as a nurse & a Buddhist. This is a very complex issue, but the instability of mental illness without medication can be a hindrance to spiritual progression. It has become a bit of an urban myth that these medications 'cover' or 'block' the real nature of a person, when in fact they can 'uncover' the scrim of confusion that hides a person's true nature.
I do however feel it would be fruitless to beat this dead horse, & it is perhaps inevitable & healthier to agree to disagree on this issue. (as I've said, I agree psychotropic meds are overused & pushed by pharma corporations).
The little I know of alchemy comes by way of Jung, but had I not become a Buddhist, I could very well have followed a path of alchemy, as the little I've studied has been very enriching.
Never heard the term athanor before, very cool. Grateful.

Frater YShY said...

Here is a cross post I made from SR's blog:

GD temples can be elitist to varying degrees, but no more than a soccer team is. Just because you can't make the team, doesn't mean you can't kick the ball around a field with your friends and grab a few beers after. It is nothing personal.

There are also different levels of pro-sports. This is similar to GD, but without taking a hierarchical stance, some GD groups may be better suited to each of us than others.

However, if someone is psychotic, like you said, SR, some extreme people could benefit better from another path. This is not about excluding those who need help, this is recognizing that the kind of help they need is not found in a temple of our tradition. While we all like to think our system is the be-all and end-all of life, it is not. It is not a religion, it is more like getting a Bachelor's and subsequent Master's degree. That is why the drop-out rates are just a little better than first-year university. Were such an unsuitable person to be Received and subsequently Initiated, I think that all concerned would ultimately be disappointed with the results. Especially if the GD facilitated a breakdown!

Such a person should seek help or spirituality in a tradition that doesn't steam and simmer your sense of self into its composite 'elements' which would only cause a mental breakdown. Only relatively healthy people can benefit from the eventual rebuilding of a healthier self-awareness that occurs next.

Such an example of an unstable person might actually excel in another arena that is a little more tame, that perhaps incorporates relaxation techniques.


To add to the above:

GD could also be compared to a theater troupe. While the certain unsuitable people in question could benefit from joining a secular social event like that, GD is not a good choice to 'get out and integrate with society'.

The very minor level of psychological projection and transference that is intentionally cultivated in an initiatory body and it's rituals makes such unfit people entirely unsuitable for the Officer positions, which is of course one of the preliminary acts of contribution a GD member is often asked or required to make as part of his or her training. To go back to the sports metaphor, they would literally 'drop the ball'.

So, with this little tidbit of information, the 'why' of our reasoning is a little more solid.

In the gentlest of manners, I encourage anyone not understanding the mechanics of this tradition to feel free to ask around at any time. That is what I do when I am stumped on something, we are all students in this tradition, and asking the right questions when something seems weird works wonders in life!

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Kether,

Chances are that you have had experience of alchemy. There is also eastern traditon of alchemy, for example Tibethan Buddistic Tantra. Perhaps you have heard about the rainbow body? That's definitely alchemy! Here there is a great similarity between western internal alchemy and Tibethan Tantra.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.

Kether said...

S.R. That is EXACTLY what I have been talking about! And Buddhism is inclusive to bring anyone into the path who wants in. I acknowledge the above explanation of GD by Frater YShY. S.R. or Dean, if you are willing, would you explain the difference between G.D. & alchemy? (I know that is a book in itself, but just basically). I would be grateful. Thank you.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Kehter,

To cut it very short, the G.D. manily deals with Ceremonial Magic and Theurgy (that is High Magic or invocation of the Divine), of which ceremonial initiation is part, and also meditation.

It uses a lot of alchemical symbolism but is sadly lacking when it comes to actual traditional application of it. In this regard I must confess that the eastern traditions of Tantra (Hindu and Tibethan) has retained its alchemical practices to a higher degree. But there still exists other Rosicrucian currents or lineages in Europe which still practice operative alchemy of both the internal and external paths.

But the effect or aim is basically the same both in both Magic and Alchemy, that of rasing the vibrationary pitch of the physical and energetic (etheric) bodies of the initiate. Thus both deal with energetic manipulation of the aura.

I recently made a blog about Golden Dawn and (its lack of) Alchemy here:

http://gyllenegryningen.blogspot.com/2010/02/alchemy-and-golden-dawn.html

If you have more questions to me, please comment on it there.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
S:.R:.