Mishkan ha-Echad

Wednesday 21 September 2022

The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 4)

Volume 4 of the Golden Dawn journal series The Light Extended is out now, published by Kerubim Press. 


- Artists of the Golden Dawn
by Sandra Tabatha Cicero

- A Morgenrothe Manuscript
with an Introduction by Tony Fuller

- The Z.2 Formula of the Magic of the Light—A Ritual of Spiritual Development
by Jayne Gibson

- Apologia—On the Middle Pillar Exercise: Both Original and New
by Samuel Scarborough

- Planets, Stars & Tarot Cards: Astro-Tarotic Transposition in the Golden Dawn Tradition
by Jaime Paul Lamb

- The Seven Degrees of Adam
by J.P.F.

- Ritual for the Formation, Building and Consecration of a Body Wherein to Travel, Manifest and Act in Freedom from the Bounds and Limitations of Matter
Edited, transcribed, & introduced by Alex Sumner

- Zelator Astrology: The Aspects
by Frater Manu Forti

- The Symbolism of the Lamen of the Rose Cross
by Frater Goya

- Thaumaturgy: The Use of Low Magic in the Golden Dawn Initiation Process
by Frater Yehohanan

- An Unpublished Resolution On Silence and Signs in the Temple
by Frater Yechidah

- The Sylph
Retold by Frater YShY


“This book is essential reading for everyone who is serious about their Golden Dawn studies and practice. You'll find background on original members, symbol explanations, secrets of the tarot and astrology, and especially lost or overlooked rituals as well as instruction by seasoned practitioners on how to perform them. It serves to keep the true sense of the Golden Dawn vital and alive.”

— Mary K. Greer,
author of Women of the Golden Dawn

“This volume of The Light Extended contains many excellent papers on the history, tradition, and ritual of the Order of the Golden Dawn. These papers cover a wide range of topics, including Historical, Ritual, Astrology, Humanities, and Psychology. Also, there are two original Golden Dawn MSS. that are published for the first time. These research papers are written by leading authorities in the Golden Dawn community and it shows that this tradition is alive and well. The Light Extended should be required reading for any member or scholar working within the Golden Dawn tradition.”

— Darcy Küntz,
editor of The Golden Dawn Source Book
and founder of the Golden Dawn Research Trust

“More than a century and a quarter after the founding of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the tradition it set in motion remains vibrantly alive and creative. If that were in question, this fourth volume of The Light Extended would settle the matter once and for all, with another selection of valuable contributions from established and new authors in the Golden Dawn tradition.”

— John Michael Greer,
editor of The Golden Dawn (Seventh Edition)
and author of Circles of Power

“Once again, the best and brightest authors, archivists, and practitioners of the Western Hermetic Tradition have gathered to offer rare and unique glimpses into the history and tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. From Sandra Tabatha Cicero’s exploration of the artistic foundation of the G.D. magical system; to Tony Fuller offering a peek at the short-lived (and littleknown) Order of the Morgenrothe; to Alex Sumner’s overview of an apparently eschatological secret teaching of the early Golden Dawn; even an overview of the origin and evolution of the Middle Pillar Exercise presented by Samuel Scarborough—you are sure to learn much about G.D. history you never suspected. Besides these, you’ll find essays on practical applications of magical formulae, lessons in astrology, something for you grimoire buffs, and even an enchanting fairytale involving a Sylph! Many gems to mine here.”

— Aaron Leitch,
author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires

Monday 21 March 2022

Golden Dawn Forum is Back

Golden Dawn Forum is back! I teased its return on Autumnal Equinox 2021, with the Pass Word OSIRIS, and now on Vernal Equinox 2022, it's here.

Golden Dawn Forum has operated for over a decade in a variety of forms, including as an old phpBB board. It's now returning to its roots, intended as a resource and community for those interested in the Golden Dawn magical tradition.

Sign up now and start participating in the discussions.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

The Equinox Pass Words Employed by the Original Order of the Golden Dawn

Each Equinox a new Pass Word is chosen, acting as a means to distinguish members from those who have demitted, resigned, or been expelled. It also acts as a link with the Solar Light, as per Mathers' explanation in Ritual Z3. 

More than this, however, I would argue it is, as it were, a form of motto for the Order for the half-year period in question, and since the motto is intended to represent one's "higher occult aim or aspirations," the Pass Word can thus be seen to represent the highest occult aim or aspirations of the Order for that Equinoctial period. Its use, then, in addition to bringing into action the link with the Solar Light, is a form of invocation of the forces cognizant with the word chosen. A simple, yet powerful, formula.

Groups bearing the GD moniker today likely use all manner of Pass Words, depending on what is important to them and their leaders, either chosen directly (with intent) or through some mystical means (such as the Ring and Disk of ThAM).

Yet, perhaps surprisingly to some, we know the actual Pass Words used by the original Order, for quite a number of years, thanks to the first Minute Book of Ahathoor Temple No. 7 (Mathers' Temple in Paris), although some copies of the rituals also had the Pass Word of the time written in (matching the Minute Book)perhaps an esoteric society faux pas, but a matter of great historical significance.

Interestingly, pretty much all of the Pass Words were Egyptian-themed, and most were Egyptian deities. Of course, Egyptian symbolism is a major part of the tradition, but some may be surprised that there was not more variety in the chosen Pass Words.

The historical Pass Words I know of are:

September 1893 - "Horus"

March 1894 - "Rameses" (The first figure seen, the great and powerful pharoah, the invocation of whom might have inspired loyalty in Mathers' new Temple, and, of course, the Order as a whole.)

September 1894 - "Ra" or "Phrah" (It's interesting that they allowed two forms of the Pass Word on this occasion. I would have generally thought this a bad idea, both esoterically and practically, given the potential for confusion, etc.)

March 1895 - "Thoth"

September 1895 - "Maut" (This could be "Mout" also, as the handwriting can be read either way.)

March 1896 - "Shu"

September 1896 - "Apis"

March 1897 - "Osiris"

September 1897 - "Horus" (This is the first repeated Pass Word seen, suggesting these were not chosen randomly, for there were an almost limitless number of Egyptian deities, etc. to choose from.)

March 1898 - "Zoan" (A place in Egypt, rather than a deity, the first major break of form seen here. "Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan." Psalm 78:12, KJV)

September 1898 - "Thoth" (Another repetition, though not a surprising one.)

March 1899 - "Nephthys"

September 1899 - "Isis-Athor"

March 1900 - "Harmakhis" (Horus in the Horizon)

After this, of course, the Order schismed and collapsed, so the Pass Words for the subsequent offshoots are not here recorded. There were also Pass Words prior to 1893, which I am not currently aware of (though they may be somewhere in the many papers I haven't yet had a chance to look through). We can likely safely assume they were Egyptian in form also, perhaps with a few repetitions of what we see above.

Since members were able to travel from Temple to Temple, these Pass Words should have applied to the Order as a whole.

A potentially interesting exercise would be to compare the qualities of the deities, etc. in question with the events that occured for those six months to see if there are any parallels. Of course, sometimes we can force links that aren't there, but if we are to understand the Pass Word as more than just a way to determine current members, then the effects should be indeed apparent.

If nothing else, these historical Pass Words give us a small, but significant, insight into the operation of the original Order of the Golden Dawn and its leaders.

Saturday 4 September 2021

The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 3)

Volume 3 of the Golden Dawn journal series The Light Extended is out now, published by Kerubim Press. 


- Preface
by Tony Fuller

- On Tracing Signs in the Golden Dawn Tradition
by Samuel Scarborough

- Self Isolation in the Golden Dawn Tradition
by Alex Sumner

- Nephthys: A Suggested Patron Goddess for the 6=5 Grade
by Jayne Gibson

- Commentaries on the Stella Matutina Grade Meditations
by Jaime Paul Lamb

- Practicus Astrology: The Meaning of the Hylech and Anareta
by Frater Manu Forti

- The 76 Names of Metatron
by J.P.F.

- Protheus: On the Assumption of the Forms of the Eternal Gods
by Adam P. Forrest

- How the Golden Dawn Hath Travelled and the Gods Within
by Soror DPF

- S.L. Mathers and the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega
by Darcy Küntz

- Tarot Workings in the Golden Dawn: Some Practical Notes on the Opening of the Key
by Frater Yechidah

- The Gnome: A Retelling of the Popular German Story by the Brothers Grimm
Retold by Frater YShY


“Western ceremonial magic has been shaped to a great extent by the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888. This is not opinion—it is a fact. And yet, some may assume that an esoteric fraternity established in Victorian England can’t possibly be relevant to today’s practitioners. For those who haven’t delved into the system with any depth ‘it’s all been written before, it’s all been done before.’ To the naysayers, our response is: Seriously? Are you kidding me?
Publications such as The Light Extended prove that the Golden Dawn is a never-ending source of new knowledge and inspiration for contemporary magicians. Above all else, the anthology displays just how energetic the system continues to be, providing readers with informative articles by some of the best magician/authors today’s Golden Dawn has to offer. Topics in Volume 3 include: instructions for tracing the invoking and banishing forms of signs and sigils; how a Golden Dawn temple has coped with pandemic lockdowns; rituals for evoking and assuming the godform of Nephthys; an in-depth look into the meditations of the elemental grades; an examination into the lesser-known areas of astrological study; a fascinating examination of numerous names, titles, and functions ascribed to the Archangel Metatron through Literal Qabalah; an unparalleled treatise on the history and practice of godform assumption; a valuable compilation of deities found within the Golden Dawn teachings; the Neophyte Ceremony of the Alpha et Omega; and a deep-dive into the tarot workings of the tradition.
As the Hiereus states in the Ceremony of the Neophyte: ‘Breath is the evidence of Life.’ The various articles in this issue of The Light Extended are proof of life—they are the rhythmic breathings of a vibrant, living tradition that has much to teach! With every issue, significant areas of our system’s knowledge, research, and practice are opened for students. This is essential reading for all Golden Dawn practitioners.”
— Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero,
Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn,
authors of Golden Dawn Magic

Saturday 7 August 2021

Traditionalism in the Golden Dawn

As a traditionalist myself, I have sometimes been accused of "fundamentalism" or similar hyperbolic slurs, but this stems from a massive misunderstanding of what it means to be a traditionalist in the GD sense. It does not mean living in the past or merely re-enacting history, but actually working first and foremost with the historical material, as is (unaltered and corrected from the mountain of errors, including errors of omission, that have accrued over the years), and then using that material as the foundation to expand upon and develop, while being mindful that "innovations" should not contradict the essence (or even, at times, the rule) of the material that has come before, knowing that all aspects are deeply interwoven, and alterations to one will have consequences for the whole. In this sense, then, traditionalism is about being open enough, diligent enough, and humble enough, to learn what is actually there, before assuming one's personal ideas or revelations are better, and letting that be a guide to walking the path further into unknown territories.

While we should indeed adapt and employ the Order's teachings to suit our own individual circumstances (and this is, in fact, a traditional view, as this was done even in the original Order), we should first make sure that we actually know the material we are adapting from (and that such material is accurate in the first place). Changes for the sake of changes accomplish little, and while there is an argument to be made that the GD itself drew from other traditions to make something wholly new, it doesn't pretend to be those traditionsso we thus have an obligation to be honest about what we are doing, what we are calling it, and how we are handing that information on to new students.

While I am not without bias, it is one of my aims to clarify, where possible, the distinctions between materials and sources, and give a little bit of insight into how things were originally done (or to at least ask questions about things we sometimes take for granted based on modern understanding of published, and often erroneous, material). That way, then, the student can at least make their own decisions, better armed, and perhaps more aware of the still many unknowns regarding the Order and its offshoots.

At the end of the day, we are all here enamoured by this tradition, and it is my fervent view (noting that I have worked the system from a myriad of perspectives) that a traditional approach is not only the most accurate, but the most rewarding.


(This was originally posted as a comment on the Golden Dawn Forum.)

Friday 18 December 2020

The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn (Volume 2)

Volume 2 of the new Golden Dawn journal series The Light Extended is out now, published by Kerubim Press. 



- The Evil Triangle: The Role of the Inverted Triangle in the Golden Dawn
by Frater Yechidah 

- The Equilibration of the Four Winds
by Samuel Scarborough

- The Vibration of the Divine Name
by John Michael Greer

- On the Lunar Occultation of Venus And Planetary Integration Through the Hermetic Arts
by Jaime Paul Lamb

- Greek Gods in the Golden Dawn
by Soror DPF

- The Four Elements and Their Implements
by Jayne Gibson

- Ma‘aśeh Bere’shith: A Jewish Treatise on the Heavens, Earths, and Hells
Translated and Introduced by J. P. Feliciano

- As Within, So Without: A Golden Dawn Perspective on the Relationship Between Divinity and Humanity
by Chic Cicero and S. Tabatha Cicero

- The MacGyver Golden Dawn Temple
by Frater D

- Astrological Dignities From the Neophyte Knowledge Lecture
by Frater Manu Forti

- On the Rose and Cross on the Membership Roll
by Frater A.R.O.


“When we talk about the Golden Dawn and its magick, we are quite often referring to the various Knowledge Lectures and Flying Rolls that form the backbone of the Tradition's philosophy. We speak of Pentagram and Hexagram Rituals, various Outer Hall arrangements and their officers, the Grade Rituals and their visible and invisible godforms, etc, etc. And while I in no way mean to diminish the importance of this material, I feel it is safe to say we've seen it all before. It's been published, republished, analyzed, re-written, discussed, debated, and then published again for the last one hundred and thirty years (give or take). However, in The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn, Vol. 2, we are given the opportunity to explore some more obscure pathways through the Western Hermetic Mysteries; to dive down some rabbit holes we (perhaps) haven't recognized before. That, after all, is what a journal such as this should do!

Yes, there are some common Golden Dawn sites to visit herein: discussions of the four elements and their implements, psychology and magick, the making of simple tools and furnishings for your own home, and even astrology as introduced in the Neophyte Knowledge Lecture. But you will also find in this volume many side-roads to attractions that only the locals know about, because they aren't listed in the tourist brochures. Here are little-known rituals, explorations of obscure symbols, uncommon astrological tidbits, Greek Gods, and even the ancient Jewish Work of the Chariot (Merkavah). So, if you are looking for something a bit different, a bit deeper, a bit more unusual than the standard Golden Dawn fare, this is certainly one safari worth the price of your ticket.”

— Aaron Leitch,
author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires

“The Light Extended is a scholarly research journal of the Occult Sciences and, in particular, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Frater Yechidah, the editor of this journal, has a high standard and nonpartisan approach to the occult research and ceremonial ritualistic dramæ of the Western Mystery Tradition and the Golden Dawn. Within the hallowed chamber of this esoteric journal, we find well known authors and researchers from the various Golden Dawn communities working for a common good. A place to come and learn in a peaceful space. I enjoyed reading this issue and the narrative that is reflected upon these pages. Read, Think, and Expand.”

— Darcy Küntz,
editor of The Golden Dawn Source Book
and founder of the Golden Dawn Research Trust

Monday 10 June 2019

The Light Extended: A Journal of the Golden Dawn

Kerubim Press is publishing a new journal on the teachings of the Order of the Golden Dawn, with contributions from many big names in the esoteric community.



How the Mighty Have Fallen: A Golden Dawn Perspective on the Fallen Angels, Goetic Spirits, and the Qlippoth
by Chic Cicero and S. Tabatha Cicero

The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram: The Foundational Ritual of the Golden Dawn Tradition
by Samuel Scarborough

The Lord of the Universe
by Frater YShY

Private Ritual for Influencing a Person for Good: or to Correct Evil Habits (Stella Matutina)
with an Introduction by Tony Fuller

Theurgy and the Body of Light
by Jayne Gibson

On the 42 Assessors of the Hall of the Two Truths: A Supplemental Z Libellus on the Enterer of the Threshold for the Study and Practice of the Adepta Major
by Adam P. Forrest

Ἑκάς ἑκάς ἐστε βέβηλοι (Hekas Hekas Este Bebeloi)
by Soror DPF

Skrying in Theory & Practice
by Alex Sumner

Thelema and the Golden Dawn: Spatting Siblings or Kissing Cousins?
by Frater D

“I Have Put On the Cloak of the Great Lady; I Am the Great Lady”: The Assumption of Godforms and the Key to Egyptian Magic
by M. Isidora Forrest

The Fire Tablet Ritual
with an Introduction by Darcy Küntz

The Enochian Alphabet: Golden Dawn Versus Dee Purist Letter Forms
by Frater Yechidah


“An impressive launch to a brand new journal of Golden Dawn and Western Mysteries, 'The Light Extended' leaps right out of the gate with some of the biggest names in modern Hermeticism; with in-depth entries offered by the Ciceros (giving their view on goetia and fallen angels), the Forrests (exploring Egyptian symbolism in both modern and ancient occultism), Darcy Kuntz (a ritual involving the Enochian Watchtower of Fire), as well as Jayne Gibson, Tony Fuller, Alex Sumner, and more. You can hardly go wrong with this 300+ page compendium of modern esotericism.”

— Aaron Leitch,
author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires

“At a time when so much writing on occultism lumbers along wellworn trails in the foothills of magic, it's refreshing to encounter a journal that leaps for the heights. The Light Extended is such a journal. Its contents include material from across the spectrum of Golden Dawn work, from unpublished Order documents to the cutting edge of the modern tradition. No one interested in serious Golden Dawn magic can afford to be without it.”

— John Michael Greer,
editor of The Golden Dawn (Seventh Edition)
and author of Circles of Power

Thursday 28 July 2016

Why is Yesod Air and Hod Water?

A common query among those working the Golden Dawn system is why the Sephirah Yesod (and Theoricus) is attributed to Air instead of Water (after all, it is linked with the Moon, which affects the tides), and why the Sephirah Hod (and Practicus) is attributed to Water (when it is also assigned to the more intellectual, or airy, planet of Mercury). It almost seems like it's reversed, an apparent elemental inconsistency.

There are several reasons for why the Elements are assigned to their particular Sephiroth and Grades. A few of the factors are as follows:

1. There is a Qabalistic principle (see the Sepher Yetzirah) that Air is the reconciler between Fire and Water, and so neither Water nor Fire can be attributed to any Sephirah on the central pillar. They alternate sides, while Air takes the central balancing point between them.

2. The Elements of the Grades are assigned based on the Tetragrammaton: Yod (Fire), Heh (Water), Vav (Air), Heh Final (Earth). Since we work our way backwards up the Tree of Life, this results in the order of Earth (Zelator), Air (Theoricus), Water (Practicus), Fire (Philosophus).

3. The Flashing Colours of the lowest Triad in the Sephiroth reveal the Elements of the Grades. Netzach is Green, and its Flashing Colour is Red (the colour of Fire). Hod is Orange, and its Flashing Colour is Blue (the colour of Water). Yesod if Violet/Purple, and its Flashing Colour is Yellow (the colour of Air).

4. There is a mystery to discover regarding the strong relationship between Air and Water. Consider, for example, the watery symbol of Aquarius (an Air sign) and the airy symbol of the Eagle used for the higher form of Scorpio (a Water sign). Consider also that Air and Water share the same line in the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram.

There is, of course, more to these attributions than the above, but this should be sufficient to show that the assignments are accurate as given.

Friday 11 March 2016

Testing Spirits

One of the biggest issues in magic is the threat of self-delusion, or delusion by exterior forces (spirits, etc.), making testing a vital requirement. This is emphasised time and time again in Golden Dawn material, with a variety of methods given.

I devoted a chapter to this in my recently published book Enochian Magic in Practice, including a slew of techniques, from challenges Dee himself used, to the "utility belt" of tests that Mathers and Westcott supplied.

For now, however, I want to look at how the 5=6 Ceremony guides us on this matter. If we look at the Obligation taken by an Adeptus Minor, the tenth clause, relating to Malkuth, states the following:

"Finally, if in my travels, I should meet a stranger who professes to be a member of the Rosicrucian Order, I will examine him with care before acknowledging him to be so."

This is sound advice on a mundane level, but it also (like all clauses of the Obligation) has a magical application: that, if in our occult travels, we should meet a strange spirit that professes to be anything or anyone, but most especially if it professes to be a major spirit like an archangel (who may be considered members of the Rosicrucian Order), that we will examine (test) it before acknowledging it to be so.

The Virtue of Malkuth is Discrimination or Discernment, and it is a vital skill to learn from the outset, especially when engaging in practical occult work. It is very easy to get lost in a sea of images, especially further up the Tree of Life, which is why this Virtue is placed at the threshold of our path, that we might make a true journey.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Aaron Leitch on Enochian Magic in Practice

“Picking up where Enochian Magic in Theory left off, this new volume explores the practical aspects of the Enochian tradition, such as prayer and devotion, skrying and astral vision, communicating with angels, interpretation of visions and symbols, the importance of the Enochian ritual tools, the making of Enochian talismans, angelic evocation, and more. Frater Yechidah also provides us with some example rituals—such as openings for both the Sigillum Dei Aemeth and the Great Table, the invocation of Heptarchic and Watchtower angels, skrying the Aethyrs/Parts of the Earth, and several sample records of astral visionary experiences. The author even explores the rarely-mentioned Gebofal operation—the opening of the 48 Gates of Heaven.

“As he did in the first volume, Frater Yechidah has overcome the decades of contention between Dee-purist and post-Golden Dawn Enochian tradition, choosing instead to draw from both sides of the fence. He covers material found only in Dee's original journals, but freely references the writings and techniques developed by the likes of Samuel Mathers, William Westcott, Aleister Crowley, and Benjamin Rowe. This book continues the revelation of a greater emerging Enochian tradition.”

— Aaron Leitch, 
author of The Essential Enochian Grimoire

Saturday 6 February 2016

Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero on Enochian Magic in Practice

"In recent years it has become fashionable for those who follow the 'Dee Purist' Tradition to dismiss the Golden Dawn's contribution to the Enochian System of Magic. However, as Frater Yechidah reminds us, 'the changes or innovations the Golden Dawn made were clearly made with intent, and were largely based on precedences within the Dee diaries themselves.' Enochian Magic in Practice clearly explodes the myth that Golden Dawn Enochian Magic begins and ends with the Elemental Watchtowers. In this sequel to Enochian Magic in Theory, the author examines portions of Dee's diaries with the eyes of an experienced practitioner and decodes their sometimes cryptic meanings. This book builds upon the previous work and provides readers with an effective system for practical Enochian ritual magic that yields results. Highly recommended for anyone who seeks an in-depth, working knowledge of the Angelic System."

— Charles "Chic" Cicero and Sandra "Tabatha" Cicero
Chief Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Authors of The Golden Dawn Enochian Skrying Tarot

Friday 29 January 2016

Darcy Küntz on Enochian Magic in Practice

"This book is one of the most concise and detailed books on the practical application of Dr. John Dee’s magical system. Frater Yechidah skillfully combines many of Dee’s original practices with the techniques from the original manuscripts of the Order of the Golden Dawn to produce a truly practical manual. Any Adept studying Enochian Magic should have this book as a guide through which this complex world of Enochian Magic is fully explained."

— Darcy Küntz, 
editor of The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Attribution of Golden Dawn Flying Rolls

It is perhaps well-known today that much of the published corpus of Golden Dawn material contains errors and altered text, some minor, some much more significant. It is likely less well-known that there are some issues with the attribution of documents. I outline two examples from the Flying Rolls below.

Flying Roll XI, on Clairvoyance, is rightly attributed to Mathers, but the actual wording of it comes from Westcott, as we can see in this full title and attribution:

Flying Roll XI
A MS in the words and language
of G.H. Fra. N.O.M.
written out from his Notes
of a lecture delivered extempore
the G.H. Frater D.D.C.F. 7=4
Chief Adept of England
[added in pencil: by NOM. March 1893]

We see from the above that Mathers gave his lecture "extempore," which means without preparation, and Westcott took notes of this, before assembling them into this Flying Roll. This is important, because the content is from Mathers, but the wording is from Westcott.

The previous example is from the title page, but the attribution is repeated, in alternate wording, at the beginning of the lecture itself, as follows:

"This MSS is written out by G.H. Frater NOM at length in his own words from his Notes of a Lecture by the Chief Adept G.H. Fra. D.D.C.F. upon Clairvoyance." [underline in original]

Flying Roll XIV, properly titled The Formation of Talismans and Flashing Tablets, is commonly attributed to Westcott (typically under the motto Sapere Aude), and yet this was actually a lecture delivered by Mathers (D.D.C.F.), and merely issued as a Flying Roll by Westcott. Let us look at the full title and attribution:

Flying Roll XIV 
The Formation of Talismans
Flashing Tablets

being Notes of a Lecture 
delivered by the 
G.H. Frater D.D.C.F. 
to the College of Adepti 

Issued June 1893 
for circulation as a 
Flying Roll No XIV
by G.H. Frater NOM

In this case, it is not clear if the notes were made by Mathers or Westcott, though we do know that the original lecture was given by Mathers. 

It is important to note that "Issued by" does not mean "Written by," as evidenced by the fact that several Flying Rolls written by Westcott also contain a separate "Issued by" attribution.

Some may consider these misattributions inconsequential, but they are very significant errors, which ought to be corrected where possible.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

The Provenance of John Dee's Obsidian Mirror

Image Copyright: British Museum

It is widely believed today that the Obsidian Mirror on display in the British Museum was used by Dee and Kelley, a matter that is largely taken for granted, thanks to it being in the same display cabinet as other items linked with Dee, and its attribution to the Elizabethan magician by museum staff.

This Mirror is of Aztec origin, leading some to suggest a possible Aztec link to the Enochian workings. Yet this is all based on the assumption that this device was, in fact, Dee's, whereas there is no real evidence that this is actually the case.

This assumption is primarily based on a claim by Horace Walpole, who received this item in 1771. The note pasted to the accompanying case, believed to be written in Walpole's handwriting and initialled by him, reads: “The Black Stone into which Dr Dee used to call his Spirits.” It was not acquired by the British Museum until 1966, where it continues to be labelled as Dee's “Magical Mirror” or “Magical Speculum,” based solely on Walpole's unverified claim.

Some even believe this was the object that mysteriously appeared by the window during one of Dee and Kelley's workings, but this has no basis. The stone that Dee found was described by Kelley as being “as big as an egg: most bright, clear and glorious,” while Dee said it was “roundish, and less than the palm of my hand.”[1] Given that the Mirror in the British Museum has a height of 22cm (including the small handle) and a diameter of 18.4cm, this clearly cannot be the same object that fit in Dee's hand. Indeed, it is almost as large as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth itself. While Dee later described the stone as being half an inch in thickness, which the Mirror roughly is, the other dimensions simply do not match. I would also argue that Dee's description of the object he found being “roundish,” and the numerous references to it being a “stone” (and not a “glass”) suggest it was spherical, not to mention Kelley's description of it being “bright” and “clear”—in other words, a classic crystal ball, not a black mirror.

Of course, Dee had several objects in his possession for skrying, so it could be argued that the Obsidian Mirror was one of these. However, I have yet to find a single reference to this object in any of Dee's diaries, whereas there are numerous mentions of his various shewstones. One would think that if this Mirror was “used to call his Spirits,” there would be mention of it somewhere, particularly given Dee's meticulous record-keeping, not to mention its origin in the New World.

The authenticity of this object has also been challenged by several scholars, including Christopher Whitby, who wrote about it at length, stating finally “the evidence connecting the mirror with Dee is very circumstantial.”[2]

Further, in an article on the provenance of the items associated with Dee in the British Museum, written by Silke Ackermann, a former curator of the British Museum, and Louise Devoy, curator of the Royal Observatory, they noted that “at the present time, and without further evidence, any suggestion of a direct link between the obsidian mirror and John Dee remains conjectural.”[3]

They also categorically denied a link between the Golden Talisman and Dee, stating, “we have established that the engraving of the Vision of the Four Castles is based upon Casaubon’s erroneous diagram of 1659, and can therefore state that the disc certainly did not belong to Dee, nor was it made during his lifetime.”[4] While they noted a lack of definitive evidence linking the wax seals with Dee, they recognised that the internal evidence (of how closely they match the instructions and diagram in Dee’s diaries) offers “the strongest potential link to Dee.”[5]

Indeed, even the provenance of the crystal ball on display in the British Museum is questionable, and it was not originally associated with Dee by museum staff. It is only one of several devices that have been attributed to Dee over the years. 

For example, there is another crystal ball in the Science Museum in South Kensington, which Nicholas Culpeper claimed was given to him by Dee's son Arthur. Culpeper apparently used this stone, which is of a purplish hue and is contained within a metal frame upon a small chain, until 1651, when he said he encountered within it a lewd and depraved entity. It is difficult to say if this object was genuinely possessed by Dee.

There is also a convex Claude glass in a circular case in the Science Museum that is attributed to Dee and his spirit workings, but this is more likely to be the one that Dee used to display optical illusions to people,[6] including Queen Elizabeth I, if indeed it is Dee's at all.

We see, therefore, that many people have claimed to have received one of Dee's magical devices over the years. Indeed, Francis Barrett noted in 1801 that there were as many as seven people purporting to have one of these illustrious heirlooms:

“Although Dee's manuscripts, and his Magic Chrystal, are to be seen at the Museum, there are six or seven individuals in London who assert they have the stone in their possession; thereby wishing to deceive the credulous, and to tempt them to a purchase at an enormous price.”[7]

Given Dee's popularity (or notoriety), it is not surprising why people would make such claims, but it does considerably muddy the water in terms of scholarship, not to mention leading to unsupported (though evidently very popular) beliefs like that of Dee's alleged Obsidian Mirror.

This is important in a practical sense, because there are many people attempting to recreate the process used by Dee and Kelley, employing a similar black mirror instead of the more traditional shewstone. While there is nothing stopping anyone from using any object they desire in their own personal spirit workings, it seems very unlikely that they would actually be emulating Dee in this regard.

Extracted from Enochian Magic in Practice by Frater Yechidah


1 Joseph H. Peterson, ed. John Dee's Five Books of Mystery, p. 253. 

2 Christopher Whitby, John Dee's Actions With Spirits, p. 141. 

3 Silke Ackermann, Louise Devoy, ‘The Lord of the smoking mirror’: Objects associated with John Dee in the British Museum; Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, Volume 43, Issue 3, September 2012, p. 543.

4 Ibid., p. 548.

5 Ibid., p. 547.

6 See Dee's The Mathematical Preface to Elements of Geometry of Euclid of Megara, where he describes this object. 

7 Francis Barrett, The Magus, Book II, p. 196 (footnote).

Tuesday 22 December 2015

The Horns of Metatron and Sandalphon

It may seem strange at first when some people encounter the diagram of the Kerubim and the Flaming Sword in the 1=10 Grade, which shows on either side of the Flaming Sword the heads (and only the heads) of the two Great Angels Metatron and Sandalphon, both of whom have horns.

These same angels are also drawn with horns on the Great Seal that is found on the Obligation and Membership Scroll of the Second Order.

Generally when we think of horned entities we think of devils and demons, not angels, so this can be quite a surprise to many, and may even lead some to question the nature of these depictions.

This view of horned beings was not always the case, however. For example, Moses was often depicted with horns, based on a translation of Exodus 34:29 in the Vulgate, where the Hebrew קרן (qaran) became the Latin cornuta (meaning "horned"). The Hebrew word can also be translated as "to display horns" (or, more simply, "horned"), based on its root word qeren (also spelled קרן, but with different pointing), which means "a horn."

This led to many popular renditions of a horned Moses, such as the well-known statue carved by Michelangelo around 1515, as shown below:

In fact, the concept of a horned Moses was very popular, and was replicated time and time again in paintings and statues.

However, there is an alternate (and more popular today) translation of the word qaran as "to send out rays" (or "rayed" or "shining," sometimes taken to mean "glorified"), and this tends to be supported by the Biblical verse itself, where Moses had just spoken with God and received the two tablets on Mount Sinai.

This conception is also depicted in artwork, such as this fresco by Andrea da Firenze:

Here we see the horns have become rays of light, which is a form that many may find easier to accept. Yet these could also be said to be horns of light.

This form of Moses was also tied to some stories about Metatron, where, for example, the angel appeared as a horned youth (see p. 424 of The Faces of the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision by David J. Halperin).

Another depiction of the horned Metatron can be found on the First Pentacle of the Sun in The Key of Solomon the King, translated by Mathers.

This design is essentially identical to how this Great Angel is shown in the diagram displayed in the 1=10 Grade, down to the shape of the horns. A similar, feminine form is given for Sandalphon on the other side.

Of course, the above is only scratching the surface when it comes to these "Bovine Horns," but it does show that horns have been used for many centuries to depict holy people or beings.

Sunday 8 November 2015

A Rosicrucian by Any Other Name, Part 2

As a follow-up to my previous blog post, questioning the supposed rule that a Rosicrucian cannot claim to be a Rosicrucian, I have discovered some additional references that really do make it clear that the Golden Dawn founders, at least, did not accept this view (and, indeed, violated it, if there ever was such a rule then to violate), and it was also not (and still is not) held by many others within the wider Rosicrucian community.

1. Mathers wrote an open letter that was published in the public occult journal Lucifer (run by the Theosophical Society) in 1889 (just one year after the founding of the GD), challenging a group called the Order of the Dew and the Light, which claimed to be the true and only descendants of the "Fraternitas Rosae Crucis."

He explicitly stated that he was writing "on behalf of the Metropolitan College of the Rosicrucian Society of England," openly named Woodman as head of that same order, and stated that Westcott was Secretary General. Mathers signed the letter with his full name, rank, and title.

At no point were mottos used here. All three founders were publicly declared as members of the SRIA, and thus were Rosicrucians. While Mathers does not explicitly state "I am a Rosicrucian" in this letter, it is clearly implied, and anyone reading it would have been certain that Mathers viewed himself as a Rosicrucian.

2. In a letter to the same journal, Westcott (signing with his real name) wrote the following (in response to an attack on the SRIA for its alleged focus on dinners and suppers, which Westcott obviously disputed):

"we Rosicrucians confess to taking dinners and even suppers also when we require them ..."

There is no room for ambiguity here. Westcott literally says that he, and other members of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, are Rosicrucians.

3. In 1916, Mathers wrote an article for The Azoth Magazine (published in 1917), with the following title and byline:

The Real and True Rosicrucian Order
by its Head, The Comte de MacGregor de Glenstrae

While Mathers did not use his full name, it was pretty clear who he was, and what he claimed: that he was the head of the real and true Rosicrucian Order, and that, therefore, he was a Rosicrucian.

4. In an obituary for Mathers written by A.E. Waite and published in the public esoteric journal The Occult Review in 1919, Waite describes how he met Mathers around 1883 in the British Museum, and some of the first words Mathers said to him:

"I am a Rosicrucian and a Freemason; therefore I can speak of some things, but of others I cannot speak."

Here we see Mathers literally speaking the very words that some today suggest are forbidden (or somehow proof that the person is not what is claimed). Again, there is no ambiguity here, and no way to interpret this other than to say that clearly Mathers, like Westcott, did not believe in this supposed prohibition.

5. What of other Rosicrucian streams, however? While my focus is obviously on the GD side of things, I have been unable at present to find any other sources of this alleged rule. Indeed, I have found the opposite.

An organisation called the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis was established by Paschal Beverly Randolph in 1858, and one John B. Pilkington wrote about meeting Randolph to a Boston newspaper in 1861, stating these as Randolph's words:

"I am a Rosicrucian, and cannot accept money; keep it."

6. The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) openly claims to be a "society of Rosicrucian Freemasons," and publicly lists the names and contact details of the secretaries of its various colleges on its website. Again, no mottos. Real names. In doing so, the implication is that they are claiming to be Rosicrucians, and therefore see no problem with it.

Now, it is open to debate whether or not such public presentation is good or wise, or if it is becoming of such a Fraternity long held to be secret, and I can see the merits of such arguments (and counter-arguments). Even Waite wondered this in relation to Mathers' announcement to him.

Yet that debate is beside the point. The focus here is on whether or not it is Rosicrucian tradition that one cannot claim to be a Rosicrucian. I believe the numerous examples given above, and in my previous post, raise some serious doubts about this supposed prohibition.

Friday 6 November 2015

A Rosicrucian by Any Other Name, Part 1

A common view espoused today is that a Rosicrucian may not claim to be a Rosicrucian, that doing so essentially shows that he or she is not actually a member of that Fraternity.

Peregrin Wildoak raised this topic in his recent blog post with a number of sources for this rule, and though the sources may appear initially compelling, there are a number of issues which make me question just how authentic this prohibition really is, and how valid it is in the context of the Golden Dawn.

1. The primary sources for Rosicrucianism are, of course, the Fama and Confessio, and it is the Fama that gives us six articles that the ancient brethren bound each other to keep. The first two of these concern us, given that they are cited as evidence for the aforementioned rule.

"1. First, That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.  
2. None of the Posterity should be constrained to wear one certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the Country."

Neither of these state that a Rosicrucian cannot claim to be a Rosicrucian. 

The first states that he or she should not profess to "any other thing" than to cure the sick. This, to me, is a clause about claiming abilities, not names.

The second is about the style of dress, that members of the Fraternity should not be required to wear a particular form of regalia, but rather blend in with the culture in which he or she is operating. This largely ties in with the concept of secrecy.

To my knowledge, neither the Fama nor Confessio say elsewhere that no one can claim to be a Rosicrucian, and, indeed, don't even use the word "Rosicrucian" at all. The concept, therefore, appears to have come much later.

2. The third pivotal text in the Rosicrucian corpus is the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (and, indeed, it is from here that we get the name of the founder of the Fraternity, it being rendered simply C.R.C. in the manifestos).

This text also does not use the term "Rosicrucian," but we do find the following:

"Now I having replied that I was a Brother of the Red-Rosy Cross, he both wondered and seemed to rejoice at it ..."

It is clear that the protagonist in this text claims to be a member of the Fraternity, and thus, by implication, he claims to be a Rosicrucian.

3. The prohibition appears to be much clearer in the following example, which is from the end of the Third Part of the 5=6 Ritual from the Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina in Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn:

“Finally, you must understand that you are never permitted to say to anyone not a member of this Order that you are a Rosicrucian.”

That seems fairly clear indeed, but the problem is that this line is not present in the original Golden Dawn 5=6 Ritual, nor in the AO ceremony. It seems it is a later addition by the Stella Matutina (which did not restrict its changes to the lower grades, but made several alterations to the Adeptus Minor ritual, including completely changing the Grip).

Interestingly, this line also does not feature in a Stella Matutina copy of the 5=6 Ritual from the Amoun Temple from c. 1914, suggesting the insertion of this rule was made after this date (and before the publication of Regardie's book).

Yet it is clear that this prohibition was never part of the original Golden Dawn teachings.

4. The Obligation of the 5=6 Grade does, however, make the following reference in relation to the Malkuth clause:

“Finally, if in my travels I should meet a stranger who professes to be a member of the Rosicrucian Order, I will examine him with care before acknowledging him to be so.”

This is more about the use of discernment and discrimination (the Virtue of Malkuth), encouraging Adepti Minores to test others claiming to be Rosicrucians. It does not prohibit them from claiming to be Rosicrucians, and it allows for someone who claims to be a Rosicrucian to be acknowledged as such if examined first.

5. Mathers and Westcott clearly did not have any problem with describing the GD as Rosicrucian, given that some papers are titled “Hermetic Students of the Rosicrucian Order of the G.D.” Likewise, the AO was sometimes referred to as “Rosicrucian Order of A.O.” More on these names, and the numerous other forms used by the historical Order, can be found here.

6. The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), to which all three GD founders belonged, and from which some of the structure of the GD was adopted, clearly claims to be Rosicrucian, and Westcott explicitly claims it to be Rosicrucian in numerous places, not least of all the Historic Lecture given to Neophytes in the GD.

It seems to me, therefore, that this "rule" does not have as much basis as previously assumed.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Lamens of the Golden Dawn, Part 1

For decades, the designs on the Lamens worn by the Officers in Golden Dawn ceremonies has largely been taken for granted, with the vast majority of people relying on or replicating the forms given in Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn, or other books.

The original source material shows some subtle, and not so subtle, differences, which I will highlight in this series of articles.

To begin, let us look at the Lamens as given in Regardie's book:

Next, let us look at the original designs drawn by Mathers, with his accompanying description beneath them (click the image for a larger version):

There are numerous points of interest here, but for now I will focus on one that I think has been consistently overlooked: the fact that the Lamens of the Inferior Officers (Kerux, Stolistes, and Dadouchos) do not have a white circle (or border) around them.

Of course, it is always possible that Mathers made a mistake, forgetting to add the circles, but the descriptions below them, where the borders for the Superior Officers are mentioned, and none are mentioned for the remainder, makes this an unlikely scenario.

Another possibility is that he altered the designs after drafting these, but evidence elsewhere suggests that this is not the case.

For example, Z1 describes the Lamens in some detail, giving quotations from the previous ceremonies, and the outer circle is explicitly referred to in the case of the Hiereus and Hegemon, and inferred in the case of the Hierophant, while also being drawn in accompanying full-colour diagrams.

Z1 makes zero mention, however, of there being surrounding circles in the Lamens of the Inferior Officers, supporting the form as outlined in the above diagram by Mathers.

Interestingly, those worn by the Hierophant, Hiereus and Hegemon are all referred to as a "Great Lamen," while the remainder are just called Lamens, which also highlights their distinction.

This is further exemplified in a diagram showing these three Lamens on the Tree of Life, with their accompanying circles, a version of which is published in Adept Magic in the Golden Dawn Tradition by Frater YShY.

Further still, there are surviving AO drawings of several of the Lamens, dating from around 1904, and these only show the circles for the Superior Officers.

While some may see this as being a minor point, if we accept that symbolism is important, as evidenced by the Great Lamens on the Tree of Life diagram, then we must in turn accept that errors in symbolism are also important.

Of course, it is always possible that the Stella Matutina changed the design of the Lamens, and Israel Regardie subsequently inherited this change, but I think the above shows that in the case of the original GD, and the AO, the Lamens of the Inferior Officers did not have a surrounding circle.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Common Errors in the Elemental Implements

A variety of popular books, and the advent of the internet, have created and perpetuated a number of errors in the Elemental Implements, which are being unwittingly copied and promulgated by a new generation of occult students.

Firstly, Robert Wang's The Secret Temple gave the wrong Divine Names for the Elemental Implements, adopting the Sephirothic names instead of the Elemental ones (that we see in the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram). His errors were duplicated and popularised by Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick.

Wang and Kraig give the following:

Fire Wand: YHVH Tzabaoth
Water Cup: Elohim Tzabaoth
Air Dagger: Shaddai El Chai
Earth Pantacle: Adonai ha-Aretz

The correct names are:

Fire Wand: Elohim
Water Cup: El
Air Dagger: YHVH
Earth Pantacle: Adonai

Further, most depictions of the Earth Pantacle are missing a name: Aphar (עפר). This is another name for earth, often translated as "dry earth" or "dust". It goes between Tzaphon and Aretz.

Another common error is the spelling of Madim, the Hebrew name for Mars, which is employed with the Magical Sword. The spelling is often given as מדים, but it should actually be spelled מאדים (with an Aleph). I was informed of this error by a native Hebrew speaker, and I initially thought it was a mistake made by the original Order (as some papers have the missing Aleph), until I found instances in original papers where it was, in fact, spelled correctly.

This error also changes the shape of the sigil drawn from the Rose, and thus is quite significant.

The above is confirmed by numerous extant copies of Ritual G, the expanded consecration instructions by Westcott, notes made by original Order members (George Pollexfen, Yeats' uncle, made lists of all the appropriate names in English and Hebrew, with their sigil from the Rose), and surviving implements (such as Yeats' and Ayton's Earth Pantacles).

Of course, it is important to consider that errors can and will happen. Making mistakes is not necessarily the issue (none of us are perfect). Ignoring or continuing to make those mistakes is a different matter entirely, and I hope the above helps some students avoid these common errors.

Monday 7 September 2015

Pre-order Enochian Magic in Practice

05 September 2015—Dublin, Ireland—KERUBIM PRESS has announced that readers can now pre-order the Limited Hardback Edition of its latest esoteric title, Enochian Magic in Practice by Frater Yechidah (ISBN 978-1-908705-13-6), due to launch in January 2016.

There will be only 100 signed and numbered copies of the Limited Hardback Edition. A paperback edition will follow several months later.

The sequel to the widely praised Enochian Magic in Theory, this book has been in the works for some time, and we are proud to finally bring you this much-awaited volume.

Check out the (preliminary) back cover description:

The second of Frater Yechidah’s eagerly awaited Enochian Magic series, detailing John Dee and Edward Kelley’s magical system in extraordinary detail, from the Heptarchic system to Enochian proper.

This expansive volume goes beyond the theory, giving a detailed, thorough and comprehensive guide on how to put Enochian magic into practice, from skyring and evocation to tools and talismans, and, for the first time ever, a complete method for the binding of Cacodaemons.

This tome gives easy to follow instructions on how to use the Enochian system, both from the original Dee perspective, and also from more modern techniques, such as those employed by the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, the O.’.S.’.D.’.L.’., and other magicians.

The Limited Hardback Edition is priced at €50 (+€15 shipping), and can be ordered through PayPal from the product page here.

Since this is a one time hardback print run, make sure to order early to avoid disappointment. Orders will be shipped in January 2016.

The paperback version (ISBN 978-1-908705-14-3) will release at a later date and will retail for $29.99, £19.99, €24.99, or AU$39.99. It will be available through all major online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository. Bookstores are welcome to contact Kerubim Press to inquire about wholesale options.

(The cover shown is that of the paperback edition. The hardback version will have a slightly different cover.)

Wednesday 15 July 2015

The Name/s of the Order of the Golden Dawn

For some years there has been some debate on what the "true" name of the Golden Dawn was, whether it was Hermetic, Esoteric, Rosicrucian, or something else entirely. Some suggest it was one or the other, and that all other descriptors are wrong, but history says otherwise.

Firstly, if we look at the rituals themselves, the terminology used is "Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer." This is, to the best of my knowledge, universal in all surviving copies of the original Order rituals.

The Ordinances give: "The First Order of the G.D. in the Outer." The Bye-laws of Isis-Urania give: "Order of the G.D. in the Outer." Circulars issued to members announcing meeting times also use this form. Likewise, the temple warrants use the same.

However, all labels on Order documents contained the title "Hermetic Order of the G.D."

To muddy the waters a little more, the title page of some documents gives: "Hermetic Students of the G.D."

Others say: "Hermetic Students of the Rosicrucian Order of the G.D."

In Westcott's "Historic Lecture to Neophytes," originally delivered in March 1888, he refers to it as simply the "Order of the G.D. in the Outer" (matching the rituals), but then calls it "an Hermetic Society."

Westcott further gives the name of the Order "in the several languages." These are:

"In Hebrew the title is 'Chabrath or Chevrah Zereh aour bokher' which means 'Society of the Shining Light of the Dawn.' [This is given as Chabrath Zerech Aur Boqer חברת זרח אור בקר in the Cipher MS.] 
"While yet Latin was the language in almost universal use amongst persons of culture the name was 'Aurora'. 
"In Greek Hē eōs Chrisē η εως χρυση. 
"In French, 'L'aube Dorée'. 
"In German the title is 'Die Goldene Dammerung.'"

In a response to a query about the group in the journal Notes and Queries, Westcott wrote: "Its true name is only told to initiates, and the few outsiders who have heard of its existence know of the society as 'The Hermetic Students of the G.D.'" He also referred to it by this name in a lecture to the SRIA.

A letter to Westcott in January 1888, purporting to be written by Anna Sprengel, calls the group simply "the Order of the G.D." In a letter to Yeats in 1900, Westcott refers to it as "the G.D. Hermetic Society."

A letter from Mathers to the Editor of the journal Lucifer referred to the Order as "The Hermetic Students of the Rosicrucian G.D. in the outer."

The initial Pledge Forms, meanwhile, gave the name as "the Esoteric Order of the G.D. in the Outer."

For those who rebelled against Mathers in 1900, the name was soon changed, largely in response to the very public Horos scandal of 1901. In the draft rules of reconstitution devised in 1902, it says:

"The name of the Hermetic Society of the G.D. shall be changed to some other title, to be approved by the Council."

The name chosen was Morgenrothe (Morning Red, or Dawn), and the letters "G.D." on most labels were replaced with "M.R." Bye-laws from this time also give: "Der Scheine des Lichtes" (The Shining of the Light) in brackets beneath "M.R. in the Outer."

In Mathers' post-rebellion group, the name was changed to "Alpha et Omega." The rituals describe it as the "Rosicrucian Order of A.O." or "Rosicrucian Order of the A.O." Surviving Bye-laws give "A.O. in the Outer."

However, the labels typically call it "Hermetic Order of the A.O."

Some papers, reproduced by photographic negatives, simply say "Order of A.'.O.'."

Stella Matutina labels appear to be much simpler, with the number of the temple. For example: "H.O. 21" (Amoun) or "H.O. 49" (Whare Ra/Smaragdum Thalasses).

As a matter of curiosity, one copy of a 0=0 ritual from the Amoun temple has "Stella Matutina" crossed out and replaced with "Monocris de Astris" (Unicorn of the Stars), suggesting this was a name being contemplated. It does not appear this was ever formally adopted.

So, clearly there was no single name that was universally used, and all of the above descriptors are correct in their own way. Perhaps the simplest name to use (in the case of the original Order) is "Order of the Golden Dawn," as this is largely consistent throughout the various forms, and the one adopted in both the official rules and rituals.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Age and the Occult

Every so often I encounter some "rules" regarding how old one should be before embracing the occult, or comments that dismiss the role and contribution younger people have made. While some of these have some logic behind them, many of them are based on the presumption that older equals wiser (which, unfortunately, is not always the case).

It is well known that some Rabbis, such as Shabbatai HaKohen, suggested that a man should not study the Qabalah until he is at least 40, and that this gives him time to live life, have and raise a family, and thoroughly learn Jewish tradition and law.

Yet, according to Professor Elliot Wolfson, the Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, this rule was not widely followed, with many Qabalists starting out before 40, and some not even living to 40 years of age.

“For the most part, I do not see that this was ever taken too seriously until recent times,” Wolfson said, according to MyJewishLearning. “As interest in Kabbalah has spread and the level of Jewish literacy has diminished, some religious authorities have felt the need to emphasize that one should not study Kabbalah until one is 40.”

Indeed, Isaac Luria, widely considered the "father" of modern Qabalah, was only around 22 when he began studying the Zohar, and yet where would the Qabalah be today without him? We owe many of the concepts we take for granted to him.

In recent times, I've seen these kinds of rules and restrictions creep into Golden Dawn circles, and, unsurprisingly, they are unsupported by history.

For example, Mathers was just 34 when he co-founded the Golden Dawn (and 33 when he was writing the rituals), and yet he contributed a vast amount of material to the Order, which has influenced many magicians over the past century. He was also just 23 when he joined Freemasonry, and 28 when he joined the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, both of which heavily influenced him.

Likewise, Westcott was 39 when he co-founded the Golden Dawn (turning 40 later that year), and he also had his esoteric start with Freemasonry in his early 20s. Freemasonry was to become a pivotal aspect of his life, and he was, in the words of Waite, "a man whom you may ask by chance concerning some almost nameless Rite and it proves very shortly that he is either its British custodian or the holder of some high if inoperative office therein."

Indeed, Mathers and Westcott not only started young, but became prominent members of almost everything they joined. Both gave numerous erudite lectures while they themselves were still quite young, and some of these papers are still mined for occult wisdom today.

So much for starting at 40.

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