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Monday, 27 June 2011

Rosicrucian Tradition of the Golden Dawn: Revealing the Alchemy and the Theurgy of the RR et AC

For the last couple of weeks I have been going through Samuel Robinson's book Rosicrucian Tradition of the Golden Dawn: Revealing the Alchemy and the Theurgy of the RR et AC. It is a bit of a tome, but there is a lot in it.
After a long training by Pat Zalweski, Robinson moved to Europe where he made links with many different Rosicrucian Orders and formed his own Hermetic Order of the Nascent Dawn. This is a Golden Dawn Group but appears to have lineages with other German Rosicrucian groups. The book shows a lot of his thinking about the Second Order work of the Golden Dawn.
It is possible to see a lot of Robinson's roots coming out in the book and I have to say there are flashes of genius in it as it takes the reader into places that they never thought the Golden Dawn could go. That is not to say I agree with all of it, but it does give some very good ideas for anyone who is using the Second Order magical system of the Golden Dawn.
Robinson has a crack at dealing with the sphere of sensation, the practical use of the Z documents, the Holy Guardian Angel, the Angel of the Golden Dawn. There is so much in his approach you have to feel that he is on to something.
He has also published a cipher manuscript for a Third Order which is based on the Crowning of the Pharaoh Ritual from Ancient Egypt. This is an interesting idea which slots in to the system in the same way that the Judgement Hall of Maat is used in the outer order. I am a long way from thinking about Third Order stuff so it is not particularly useful to me, but I have to admit that it makes sense and slots in nicely to the SM flavour of the GD.
That is not to say it is an easy book, or a book for beginners. You have to be Second Order to actually understand what he is talking about. It does provide advanced students with some good ideas about who to take the system forward in a practical way. I would say that if you are experienced working with in the Golden Dawn system, there is a lot here which will fire your imagination and help you unlock some aspects of the Golden Dawn which have not been publicly talked about.
Where Robinson differs from many in the GD tradition is his insistence that things take a Theurgical approach. This is a much more religious approach to ritual that many in the Golden Dawn would not understand. There is a tendency within the tradition to pay lip service to divine names and shout them out in rituals without ever having any experience with them. It is possible to be an Atheist in some Golden Dawn groups, where as, if you if you used Robinson's approach to binding demons with that attitude you would either get nothing, or be reduced to a pair of smoking golden slippers.
Theurgy techniques make ritual a more spiritual practice. It is less about what you can get and more about your relationship with what you invoke. I don't agree that the GD system entirely Theurgical, but I do think that Robinson has a point in that it has gone too far in the other direction where religious experiences are not important. I put this down to the masonic approach to magic, but it could be equally due to a post-modern belief that you do not really need God.
Rosicrucian Tradition of the Golden Dawn has the considerable weakness that it needed an editor before publication, which it clearly did not have. It is often more than the fact that the spelling is off, but sometimes the wrong word has been used and it gets confusing. You are left reading a sentence for some minutes before working out what Robinson is getting at. This is not problem for me, but I know some people who make typos the defining statement about whether or not a book is worthy or not.
  It is available on Lulu here


  1. Nice review, Nick, thanks :)

    Having limited time and enough resources to plough through to keep me busy for many years, I tend to be picky about new GD material.

    I had no idea Sam'a approach was theurgical and religious, and would probably have not given this book a second thought without your review. Thanks. Showing my bias of course!

    Keep blogging and magicing :)

  2. Nick I really appreciate your review. Especially since it is my deepest convictions that the essence and goal of GD operation and practice should be very much Theurgical -- and that, culmulatively, our growth in consciousness into the Second Order is a direct reflection of the Elemental transformations we have performed upon ourselves. True in the early Neophyte+ stages there is much rote, but the true Theurgy of the GD System at 2nd Order is nothing less than Tipharetic Consciousness of the Christos -- so how can the absence of *religious* experience, such as a Samadhic perception of deathlessness, or the immortality of Life, not be considered as the veritable fruit of our Golden Dawn heritage?

    Yes, definitely, Frater Robinson would appear to be "on" to something -- like what we should be doing in the first place :-)

  3. thanks for the great review Nick ;)