Mishkan ha-Echad

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.)