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 It is a two-way street, as an unpublished SM document entitled "On Recruiting for the Order" (1915) states: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?
Post a Comment