Mishkan ha-Echad

Saturday 1 November 2008

Brief Histories of the Golden Dawn

The history of the Order of the Golden Dawn (in all its guises, both old and modern, orthodox and heterodox) is an intriguing affair for both the magician and the scholar. Like the history of many occult groups it is filled with scandal, secrecy, and sometimes a bit of sex to boot. It is also filled with magic, mystery, and the transmutation of gross matter into spiritual splendour, but that looks less appealing on the headlines and is often ignored in sensationalist accounts.

It has come to my attention that my blog lacks resources for those new to the Order in finding some of the basic elements of that history, a history which should be studied (regardless of depth) by every student of the system, given it provides some of the foundations upon which we work. Therefore, without further adieu, here are a few links that detail some of the Order's history. For more detailed information the books of R.A. Gilbert, Francis King, Ellic Howe, Ithell Colquhoun, Israel Regardie, and Mary K. Greer (and the pamphlets edited by Darcy K√ľntz) are worth acquiring (noting that many of the above are out of print, and therefore fetch a hefty price on the second-hand book market).

Firstly there is the History Lecture that was written by Westcott. It offers an interesting look at the Order, although it can hardly be classed as factual. Nevertheless, this is what many of the original members were presented with (and most likely believed):


Below is an essay that the Ciceros wrote on the history of the Order, much of it included in their book, The Essential Golden Dawn (which I personally recommend to those who know little or nothing of the Order, its history, practices, and so forth). While some information is now outdated, I have yet to find a freely available essay on the history of the Order that is as clear and comprehensive:


Finally, another website I came across that has a detailed breakdown of the timeline:


I would welcome that my readers suggest other websites and essays that deal with the history of the Order, and I may update this post to include them. In time it is hoped this will become a good resource for those interested in learning more, and therefore I ask that critical pieces (arguing for or against certain elements of the "accepted" history) be included, in the interest of truth and integrity.

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