Mishkan ha-Echad

Friday 26 February 2010

Magical Order of Aurora Aurea

Nick Farrell has just announced the formation of the Magical Order of Aurora Aurea:

"After laying low on the subject for a few months, I just thought I would tell everyone about the Golden Dawn Order that has been formed after I left the HOGD.

The Website for the Order can be found here www.auroraaurea.com. The Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea will be a world-wide Golden Dawn group whose main focus is taking a magical approach to the system. There are a few minor changes, but the frame work and initiations are traditional (Whare Ra) GD. The Order structure is slightly different and there is a ritual public face, called an Anticum. There is also a separate correspondence course for those who are not close to a full temple (although we are hoping that the course will draw people together to form Aurora Aurea temples).

The training material includes the traditional Golden Dawn material along with new teachings that work within the same system. The Order is much more hands on and practical than the pile of papers, traditional knowledge paper plus examination system of the Golden Dawn. It requires daily work and will have a full grade system at least until 7=4.

We are based in Europe with temples in Italy, Slovinia, Dublin and Wales.

The Correspondence course is a rewrite of the HCOMA course which was closed down by the former Director of Studies last year. If anyone was on that course and would like to continue then they are welcome to join at their previous level. It is a supervised course but offers no recognised grade other than the spiritual work that the student manages to achieve on their own.

It has been fun starting an Order from scratch, although my head hurts now that I have been writing the course material. I have nearly finished the 3=8 material! Currently members are flat out translating the material into different languages too.

Anyway have a look at the website and if you have any questions get in touch.

Nick Farrel"

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?

Thursday 4 February 2010

A Living Tradition

The Golden Dawn is a living, breathing, growing tradition. Some people like to suggest it is dead or dying, but they are delusional, for they have either not experienced it or have experienced a corrupted or soulless form of it.

When the original Order schismed the tradition went in seperate directions, the Current diverging into many different streams. This brought the tradition to more people, just as tributaries bring water to more land. It allowed the system to grow in multiple ways because it unshackled it from its original constraints. The mystical brought it in one direction, the masonic in another, the magical in yet another. The SM and AO developed two different, yet equally valid, streams from which the GD current could grow exponentially more than would have been possible had they all remained together.

And it is still here, growing, taking new directions. Things are being added and changed, new insights found, new ways of looking at the material of our forefathers, and new material for our children to look upon and discover things we do not know. Tradition is a trade, a give and take, a flux, the intake and outake of breath, for it must be alive or it is a fossil for the eyes of academics. Thus must we not cling to tradition for the sake of it, but help it grow so that it may help us grow in turn.

For more of my thoughts on tradition (from a Gnostic perspective), check here.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Tests & Grade Examinations

A recent post by Morgan Drake-Eckstein on the test and grade examinations used by various Golden Dawn orders (itself a response to Fr. AIT's blog on the same topic, now removed) got me thinking about this aspect of Golden Dawn work.

There are two extremes possible with examinations. They can be upheld very strictly, in an almost academic way, or they can be ignored altogether, as Annie Horniman discovered when she rejoined the Order after Westcott (the man who did much of the administrative work) had left. I don't think either approach is a good one, though I am more likely to lean towards the former than the latter.

You see, the problem with examinations is that they tend to be entirely intellectual, and, while this is an important aspect of our work, it is not the most important, nor the only part. Some element of practical work and testing on such is vital, as is a general inquiry as to how the grade energies have affected the initiate, if at all; afterall, if we end up the same as we did when we began then what is the point of doing it in the first place? So then we have multiple levels of examination, just as we have multiple levels to the system itself.

It is very important that our "magical ABCs" be learned. One of the best ways to ensure this is to test them. By committing the material to memory it can then be easily accessed during meditation; even if a Hebrew letter or planetary assignment momentarily slips our short-term memory it can be accessed via the sub-conscious mind. We are effectively building a vault within which we store the symbols of our tradition, a vault which we can access throughout the rest of the grades within the Order.

But I would encourage the student to do more than simply "learn by rote". Knowing that Aleph is the number 1, the Ox, spelled as Aleph Lamed Peh, etc. is too dry, too intellectual. Regurgitating material onto a page is not the work of a magician - anyone can do it. To know why the letter has these correspondences, and to discover new ones, is what differentiates the average student of occultism from a true magician. But in order to get to that stage the initial correspondences must be learned. In order for the Adept to develop a true and personal understanding of each of these symbols they must be learned in the first place in the Outer Order.

As for the practical element, this can be as simple as standing in front of people and performing a ritual. It is mind-boggling how many people get to progress through the grades without anyone every seeing them perform a ritual. While we can say "they are only fooling themselves", this is not really true - they are fooling the people who are letting them advance to the next grade. So why be fooled? Why make a mockery of the temple or Order by allowing someone advance beyond 0=0 if they cannot perform even a basic rendition of the LRP? Knowing the Knowledge Lecture is simply not good enough. The Golden Dawn is not an academic institute, even if it provides a very good academic knowledge of occultism along with its practical work.

There is then the issue of strictness in examinations. I admit that I would be reasonably strict with this, particularly in terms of the practical work. However, it is more important that one be able to carry out the practical work than get 100% in the intellectual examination. Mixing up two Hebrew letters is not as big an error as mixing up the names in the LRP or assigning the officers to the wrong stations. Thus I would be more likely to be lenient on someone who got a few percent (stressing few) under the requirement to pass their written exam, but would have no issue with failing someone who was unable to perform their basic ritual work.

As with all things in the Golden Dawn, balance is key. A good ritualist who does not know the Knowledge Lectures will be unable to explain their experiences, while a good academic will not be able to experience anything at all.

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