Mishkan ha-Echad

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 K√ľntz

- 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.)

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