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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mathers' Last Secret is Out!

THIS WEEK my book Mathers' Last Secret hit the pre-order in Amazon and is likely to stir some controversy.  For the first time, I reveal the real rituals of the Alpha et Omega along with the notes that a Hierophant followed.  The rituals have not been seen before.  They are from an extremely early AO period.  They belong to the  Berridge Temple and were written soon after the revolt.

of the AO material, that has come to us,  is much later. It is often written by Mathers' successors, and so this book gives the chance for those to see what the Great Man himself thought about the Golden Dawn system.    The rituals were found in a cache which was preserved in a Witch Museum and belonged to  VH Fr Nisi.  Included in the cache were several diagrams, which had been drawn by Edward Berridge and included lettering, which had been missing from published works and other groups.

This is the second book in a trilogy of material I am writing on Mathers' AO.  The first " King over the Water" looked at the history of the Early AO and the Nisi material.  It was co-written with Melissa Seims and has been given to Thoth Publications.  "Mathers Last Secret" looks at the rituals from a magical perspective and the third “Mathers' Torch” will examine the work of Mathers' successors.  By a quirk of the publishing world, it looks like the sequel is out before the first one.

I have said that this book will upset people.  This is partly because the rituals, like the rarely seen versions of the early Golden Dawn rites reveal something about Mathers and Westcott that many will not like.  The founders of the Golden Dawn were not particularly good Golden Dawn magicans by later standards and that the system that we know and love comes to us from a system evolving into something better.

has been a tendency to make Mathers, in particular, into a god of magic and the only sole source of a magical trend within the GD.  In these rituals, we see that he allows short cuts, which disobey the Z documents and, in terms of magic, would make an initiation null and void.   To any later user of the system, the only conclusion is that Mathers did not understand the technique that he had bought through.

Other people who will be offended by this book are those Chiefs who claim they are the reincarnation of Mathers and are performing the "only true and correct" AO rituals.  These people will have some explaining to do to their members when Mathers' Last Secrets reveal that they are actually using the cut down Regardie rituals and techniques.

Finally there will be a small number of people who claim to be the Guardians of the AO material.  These are people who have collected photocopied documents and sat upon them distributing them piecemeal in return for status among fledgling GD groups.  They will be disturbed that most of the material they are sitting on is post Mathers and does not reveal his will about the way that the GD should have proceeded.

The publication will probably revive the old argument against oath breaking and secrecy.   Firstly, I should make it clear that I have never made an oath to any AO group.  If I had, it would not have been the same oath that is contained in this book.  Secondly, this material is publically available if you know where to look.  Although NISI has never been seen, other AO materials are being distributed among the GD community.  No doubt this distribution is carried out in return for favours, is being done by those who will claim I am breaking some oath in publishing this book.   I have no doubt that it will be these that will have their followers write scathing reviews about the accuracy of the text (NISI had a large number of typos)

I would say that all this is a smokescreen for the real Elephantin the room. That is that the Golden Dawn under Mathers and Westcott was not the Magical Order that the Golden Dawn tradition has become and was not the Golden Age of magic.  Those who have built their Orders on this premise will have problems explaining this to their memberships and will turn to attack the messenger.

It does not have to be this way.  The AO rituals are just as valid as those of the Stella Matutina. While Mather's guidelines would need to be junked, if you merge the rituals with the Z documents, perhaps add the realisations made by Whare Ra, or Pat Zalewski, you would have a very interesting magical system.

Mathers Last Secret allows AO groups to be formed along more accurate lines and flower into a better system.  This protects students from the guesses of their teachers and frees them from the Secret Masters of photocopies.

Even if readers do not accept my magical interpretations of Mathers' antics, they will at least have accurate copies of the rituals and notes to make their own conclusions.  They will also have material and approaches that have not been published before.

The book has been printed and Amazon should be taking orders in a few days.  You can apply to be notified when they have it.


  1. The short cuts are a little more than the opening by scepter... as you would know if you had read the book :-)

    "I hope this isn't a reference to the HOGD/A+O, and if it is this is clearly slanderous behaviour from you."

    Um no... why would you think it was? No, the Order in question knows who it is and it is beneath the radar of many of the known golden dawn groups. If I did name it then it would be libel not slander. The reason I have not named and shamed anyone is because I am not into attacking other groups. I suspect though there will be a number of groups which are lead by people claiming to be Mathers' reincarnation using the Regardie book as the True Text who will be a little shocked that their secret chief is not who he or she says he or she is. I expect them to go on the attack straight away. As are the Photocopy adepts I mentioned who will be upset that I have taken away their mana.

  2. Congratulations Nick!

    I am really looking forward to this, and I have to admit to looking upon the ructions it will cause in some quarters. :)

    So, will we get books 2-1-3 or 2-3-1?

    Love the shock-awe 70s style cover :)

    Congrats again and well done for this service to the broader GD community.

  3. Congratulations in forward, and I am really looking forward to your book Nick!
    In LVX
    Ina Cüsters-van Bergen

  4. I see it as a big recipe with different ingredients and different symbols adding up to equal the system. Most modern hierophants would never dream of cutting out any important sequence to an initiation. Opening by sceptre is not really part of the main initation, although I would not sacrifice that either. The bits that Mathers cut were part of the main initition. I think that if you did all mathers cuts, opening and closing by scepter you could probably get the rite down to about 20 minutes!
    Short cuts are done for a reason, and in the post Mathers periods different parts of the ritual were accorded more importance. I believe that the depth in the AO came from Brodie Inness and his generation rather than Mathers. Just like the depth from the rebels came from Felkin. Even Waite did not dare move from the Cipher manuscripts structure in case he missed a crucial symbol. Yet Mathers felt he was safe to chop out at least a third of the initiation rite.
    Getting back to the biased side, I have said the same thing about the Bristol Temple rituals which were also carved up and missed vital ingredients.
    My conclusion would be the same.. doing that strips the magic from the rite.

  5. Great news, looking forward to reading the book. It is important that material like this not be hogged by individuals or groups, since the Golden Dawn tradition has evolved considerably since its original foundation. If things can be published and shared, they should be, and then people can see for themselves what Mathers was up to in the AO.


  6. SR
    You would be looking at the later AO, where they had a little more sense of magic. Mathers advocated much worse cuts than that in the early AO.... as you can see in the book.

  7. @ Perigrin
    uffa I was trying to get the colours of the staff of the Kerux!

  8. This is really great. Congrats Nick, I have been looking forward to this for a while!


  9. Congrats to you Nick! Looking forward to checking it out.

  10. Congratulations Nick... hope Sean can see your books some day....

  11. The book is very interesting but was it not proofread? There are some truly embarrassing mistakes in there.

    Take for example page 67:

    "It would appear that this ritual is restructured to allow for the maximum number of candidate's to be processed at once"

    (should be "candidates" not "candidate's")

    Then further down the same page we have:

    "...neither of which was used by either the other Golden Dawn temples".

    (should be "either of the", not "either the")

    There are unfortunately many more; It is a rare page that has no errors on it.

  12. Of course it had proof readers and those we do not spot get fixed in the second wave. There is not a single book on the market which does not have typos in them. When people point them out they always have a degree of smugness about it as if they are somehow superior to the writer. They always make their comments public rather than a quiet word. When you write a book, then you will get exactly the same thing. You will also get miffed at they always use exaggeration like "this book is full of errors"

  13. I'm sorry that you feel defensive, Mr. Farrell, but it is really true that the book is full of errors. It's true that all books have errors, but esoteric books from small publishers tend to be riddled with them, and this one more than even most of those.

    It's true I'm guilty a bit of smugness but that's because I pride myself on my proofreading ability. Whoever proofread this volume was not very good at their job. I would have provided you with a complete list of errata from the book but there are so many it would constitute actual work that I would want to get paid for.

    You don't need to be so defensive though. I approve of you releasing the material. It's not like I'm that awful David Griffin chap. I absolutely despise him. It's just that I'm very disappointed to pay quite a lot of money really for a so-called professionally-produced book which has so many errors in it, and such weird fonts with all that 'o' looking like '0' nonsense and so on, that it's like I'm reading a self-published kindle book.

    I'm also confused as to why you state in the beginning of the book that the A et O material you present in the book could be the basis of a new magickal order and then spend the whole book dismissing each ritual as either pretty much unchanged from the G.D. rituals we already have from Stella Matutina and Isis Urania or magickally flawed and useless as a result of Mathers' meddling, which you point out is often in order to be able to process multiple members at the same time and therefore make more money.

    But I'm not attacking you. I have no hostile feelings towards you, I do not want to be lumped in with the David Griffin crowd.

  14. And yet you attack publicly and become a willing tool for those who you profess to hate? I am sure that your posts and my response will be cut and pasted as proof that Nick Farrell's book should not be read. It is a neat trick used by PRs on the news sites I work for to silence a bad story by going for the spelling, which is a handy black and white argument which has nothing to do with the author. If the writer objects it is "their problem" for being so defensive. Write a book, take a lot of stick for daring to do so and then have someone moan about the spelling and see how defensive you are. BTW people did the same thing to my Llewellyn books and the proof reading there took months.
    Yes, you can use the book to set up an AO order, however the theme of the book is magical development over the masonic approach. Mathers opted for a masonic approach while the SM and modern orders did not. Therefore anyone who attempts to set up an AO order would have to do some substantial work making these rituals more magical and cover some of the holes that Mather's changes to the rituals bought in (particularly those which break the Z documents) Remember that the early GD rituals have never been published so even when Mathers is saying the same thing, it is still telling the reader something that they do not know (see my later post on What Regardie did not know)

  15. Yes I hate David Griffin and his cronies. In fact one of the main reasons I bought your book was because he attacked it.

    I'm not attacking YOU for the errors in the book, I'm not attacking anyone really, but if you want to see it as an attack, see it as an attack against the proofreader.

    You keep saying I will understand more if I write a book, yet you don't know who I am or whether I have written a book. (I've written several).

    I still can't understand though why anyone would set up an A et O order anyway. You said yourself that the rituals are flawed in the book. Mathers either didn't touch them, or ruined them. Why would someone want to use these rituals to set up an order? I can see that the changes Mathers made are interesting to me and other G.D. researchers/scholars and thank you for publishing them, but why would someone try to change these rituals to work better rather than using the rituals from either one of the two Regardie books or indeed Zalewski's ?

    It's almost as though you see the name Alpha et Omega as a special thing. It's not. It's just a name used for a new order because of the demise of the original Golden Dawn. All sorts of offshoots popped up back then and indeed over the years with all sorts of names. I don't think people then put much stock in the actual name. People nowadays of course do, because they have too much reverence for every letter of the old texts, so they call their orders variations of "Golden Dawn" mostly. If Mathers were around today he'd probably just say "Oh well, I'll make a new order and I'll call it hmmmm. 'The Sanctified Mysteries of the Rosy Cross' or 'Order of the Flaming Sword' or 'Expeled from Eden' or ... " ... you get the picture.

  16. And by the way, if that smug little fucker David Griffin or one of his sycophantic shits tries to use anything I write here to attack you with I will tear those snivelling, arrogant little shits a new arsehole with what I will write about them, you have my word.

  17. It is all about packaging. With different Golden Dawn groups out there you have to pretend that yours is different. If you say that you are AO you can bang on that you have the *real* GD which Mathers intended. The rituals had been sitting around in libraries (if you knew where to look) but most people thought they would be buying into a new product. The downside of this is that while the SM and Whare Ra group underwent development over a long period of time, the AO only really started after Mina Mathers died. The order really did not survive the second world war and so that development was stopped dead in its tracks.
    Packaging though is important to marketing and not important to real magical work. In fact the need for it indicates that there is nothing substantial in the group that tries it. Peter Gabriel once said "I would rather trust a man who does not shout what he has found, there is no need to sell when you are homeward bound."
    My hope was that if people wanted to play with the AO approach they would continue the development that was started after Mathers' death. That would be a rewarding experience. The rituals also help those who use the SM and Whare Ra because it explains what Mathers was getting at on some fairly important issues. This is particularly true of the pentagrams and hexagrams. There are some things which the NISI documents clarified to a point where they replaced the SM teaching in my own group.

  18. I can see what you mean about the pentagram and hexagram rituals. Those for me were the most interesting part of the book.

    I reiterate yet again that I am glad you wrote the book and you have my gratitude, and fuck those people that didn't want you to release it. They are morons, thinking they own A et O material, hell, thinking they are Alpha et Omega. They have hardly the least connection to the A et O apart from that they are being run by at idiot who likes to take photos of himself dressing up and who thinks he can get away with pretending to contact mysterious "Secret Chiefs" who give him SUPER SECRET KNOWLEDGE that no-one else has. (So actually, haha they are very similar, but in terms of their actual connection to the real, historic Alpha et Omega, it just doesn't exist; It is a travesty that they hold all the copyrights. They have no right to them at all. It annoys me the same way that Stuart Kaplan getting the copyright on the Rider-Waite deck does).

    Anyway, enough of those fuck-heads, and back to your point you just made, which I totally agree with. It really *is* all about packaging, and pretending that your order is different and more credible or has more lineage that you just invented somehow (in the grand tradition, I suppose of even Isis Urania). "Alpha et Omega" should not in my view be seen as distinct in any way from the Golden Dawn except that it refers to a certain period of time because Mathers felt he had to change the name. They didn't suddenly use totally different grades, rituals and equipment on becoming A et O- it was all still the same.

    Having said that, and that I agree with you in that "branding" and marketing are important only to attract members and have little to no importance on magick, I don't see why you would encourage people to take the name Alpha et Omega and to use as a starting point the version of the rituals in the book. I suppose people using the name Alpha et Omega will annoy David Griffin, which is always a good thing, but so should anyone using the name Golden Dawn or R.R. et A.C. Honestly David Griffin annoys the crap out of me, as I'm sure you've gathered. How he can have the cheek to claim his orders have lineage handed to them by mysterious Secret Chiefs is beyond a joke. "Oh, we don't really have any more solid links to real GD temples than any of our competitors so in order to claim that we have sole unbroken lineage I'll just MAKE UP that we were given it by Secret Chiefs, yeah that'll work" Idiot. And people accept it!

    Anyway, isn't it enough just to publish the book and get the information out there, as you say, to stop people hoarding it exclusively? I don't see why you have to say that people could use it as the basis of an A et O order. They would be better advised to use the non-magickally-flawed versions of the rituals and take it from there.

    Anyway, best wishes, I don't want to annoy you any more because you need your energy to fight that slobbering idiot, David Griffin.