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Friday, 2 August 2013

What went wrong with the Whare Ra vault?

The Whare  Ra vault
The Whare Ra Vault is the last surviving, and certainly the most used vault ever created by a Golden Dawn order.  It was built incredibly solidly with secret panels in the Mars Wall which lead to special smaller rooms for the 6=5 and 7=4.  It was so solidly built that when Whare Ra closed its doors it tried to scrape off the colours and found it too difficult.  Instead they ripped up the carpet and the light from the roof, sealed it up and pretended it was not there.  It was later discovered by the new muggle owners who thought they had bought a house designed by the famous Kiwi architect Chapman Taylor and discovered the secret panel with the vault in it by accident.
One would think that a vault which had been in use for more than 60 years would be buzzing with power and energy.  Most people visiting the room know would be completely underwhelmed.  That is because the last Chief, John Herman von Dadelszen cleared the room, but we will get to that issue later.
The truth of the matter was that the Whare Ra vault had a fairly sinister reputation.  Part of the problem was that it was always wrong and it is not clear why.  The colours were not based on anything that Whare Ra had written down.  Even allowing for paint to lose its colour over the years, the Whare Ra vault was too dark.  Some of the colours which had been selected where muddy and brown, and you would think that someone over 60 years would have done something about it.  But they didn’t.  Also several of the walls were in the wrong place.  I know why, but it appears that Whare Ra went with the idea because it fitted with the concept of vault being at Tiphareth with the hidden 6=5 door to the left and the Jupiter room on the right.  However Whare Ra’s scheme for the Vault do not fit that.
After Mrs Felkin died, standards at Whare Ra dropped and some people started carrying out experiments that she would not have approved of.  According to one elderly Whare Ra member, Barbara Naan told me that the 6=5 room was being used by a group of adepts to carrying out experiments using Mather’s Goetia.  The adepts involved in this circle were not named, but it is clear that they knew enough to get something but not enough to control it.
What happened was never talked about, but suddenly that room was only being used for the 7=4 initiation and nothing else.  To make sure that no one used it easily (7=4 initiations were rare) the chiefs ordered that it be used as a storage with full with old boxes.
Life at Whare Ra went on, but it appeared that there was something rotten in the vault.  Several of the later people who went through the 5=6 started to complain of odd feelings. It is difficult to say if some of those were from the initiation itself or something else.  For example, one person I spoke to who was one of the last few 5=6s told me this:
“After my initiation I stood in the door of the vault with my crook and staff.  There was such a strong feeling that “this is all an abomination” that I had the urge to destroy the enter vault.  I never went back to that vault ever again.”
After Whare Ra was closed the house was offered to members of the Order and then sympathetic associates.   The head of BOTA Will Chesterman told me that he had been offered it and gave buying it serious consideration.
He went up there and looked around, but said that there was something really horrible about the place and he realised that it would “take too much effort to clear.”   That might have been dig at the Whare Ra people.  There was very little love lost between Chesterman and the elders of Whare Ra anyway.  However that was one of the few times I ever heard Chesterman describe something psychically.
Pat and Chris Zalewski’s teacher Jack Taylor told them not to go to the vault because it had been contaminated.  When Chris Zalewski attempted an astral visit she found the astral form of Taylor barring her way.
The old Whare Ra adepts used to meet at the Chivalric Hall and it was there I heard some other interesting stories.  The first was that the first “muggle” owners of the house left because they found it haunted and it was scaring the children who were using the old temple and its vault as playroom.  I was not able to confirm this at all.  However one story was recurring.
Von Dadelszen was a stickler for ritual in the masonic way.  Everything had to be done perfectly right.  A laywer, and Mayor of Havelock North he carried himself with perfect authority and conviction.  The only problem was that he did not realise that the vault had more than one level.  He thought that was the physical vault and then any astral stuff which was contained within it.   To be fair he did do a good banishing, but he did not know how to dissolve the higher levels of the vault.  It was a moot point if he even knew they existed.   What he effectively did, according to Barbara and Percy Wilkinson was push the “inner vault” and all its astral goodness outside the physical structure.   Percy told one of his students that it had been attached to a tree in the garden. 
Several of Jack’s students visited Whare Ra at the invitation of the owners and were walking around the garden where they found a tree stump.  One of the students was incredibly psychic and told me that the energy which came off it was like nothing she had ever felt before.  She was not sure if it was good or bad, but it was certainly powerful and in the wrong place.
The Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea Vault
I know exactly what she means and what it was.  MOAA’s vault is portable and assembled in my living room.  We have to set it up and consecrate it every time.  Shut it down and disassemble it.  The first day after our first 5=6 initiation, I was sitting at the computer and had the feeling was being watch. I saw quite clearly a vortex  about three feet from the ground hovering above the floor exactly where centre of the vault had been.  What I did was shift that energy to the correct level, but I had not realised myself before that I needed to do that.  The Book of the Tomb did not contain instructions for a portable vault.
But it occurred to me that if that was the sort of power that had been generated by one initiation and one consecration, what would be the power of a vault which had operated for nearly 60 years.  Von Dadelszen had pushed that to that tree (which later died) and it remained anchored to the material level. As far as I am aware it is still there, although it would not surprise me if someone had tried to do something about it by now.

I don’t believe that the soul of the vault would have caused much in the way of problems (other than killing the tree) and the connection might even fade with time.  What is in the 6=5 room, may not go so easily… cue spooky music.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Testing a secret chief

One of the reasons I have insisted on my secret chiefs test is because it is very important that there is some form of scientific testing of the concept.  One of the reasons I have kept banging on about it is to knock a particular problem on the head.
If you are running a group you can tell the world that you have a Secret Chief which gave you extraordinary information.   You can say that out of all the other magical orders, this superman gave you the best occult information which is available which “he” refuses to let other magic groups have.  What you are telling the world is that you are better than others because there is a system of Secret Chiefs out there, and they are only talking to you.  You can tell them that this secret chief gave you grade material for the 8=3, 9=1 and 10=1 grades which means that you have a system which carries on well into the future.
If any outside group calls you out on this, you can imply that they are jealous that they do not have your secret chief and are still relying on a system which was more or less stalled at 5=6.
But the secret chiefs are strangely selective about who they picked and what information they gave them.  For example Paul Case was famously contacted by Master R and yet he insisted that his order only go as far as 5=6.  Felkin’s Whare Ra went to 9=2 although these were mostly administrative more than magical grades.
One of the good parts of about having information put into higher grades is that few people will ever see them.    If the outer order of a Golden Dawn temple is working, then less that 10 per cent of people will get to the 5=6 level.  There is a big exodus after people reach the 5=6 too and the number of 6=5s is absolutely tiny.   So it means that by the time people reach a level when they can get your secret chiefs teaching there are going to be very few in number, if any.   If they get to that level, there is no guarantee that the material is any good.  They might open the secret box and discover it is empty, which if your secret chief never existed might be the case.
So what you have is effectively Jam tomorrow scam which is protected by the fact that you claim these teachings are so special that they have to be kept secret from the great unwashed. 
That would be all very well but that means that the only way anyone has of testing your secret chief’s abilities, is to look at those people who they gave the teaching too.  
 Have they shown signs that those teachings have transformed them into intensely spiritual beings or even competent magicians.  Have these secret chiefs made the mistake of imparting their secrets to paranoid megalomaniacs. What magic do they do?  What is the quality of their particular teaching.  When I write something I am forced to acknowledge the influence of my teachers, so what is the standard of the work of these particular “secret chief influenced” orders?
The only other choice, as Pat Zalewski has said is to prove that your secret chiefs exist.  Pat believes it should be done with academic rigor looking at the documents that these Secret Chiefs wrote and judging them by those.
However the answer from those who believe in Secret Chiefs is that no documentation was given out due to the secret nature of the instruction.
But as Pat pointed out even Felkin brought back rituals and instructions he got from Steiner, such as the Etheric Link ritual and the Process documents, which makes the no documentation claims a nonsense.
“Even a cursory examination of charters and letters between various high level hermetic orders that existed from the 19th century would render that claim toothless,” wrote Pat. 
 He finds it odd that people are expected to believe is that an SC gave detailed instruction to Mathers for his Second Order (including rituals) and the SC nor Mathers wrote any of this down.
 If a Secret Chief told   Mathers the Convoluted Forces information and he had to remember and pass it on verbally it would have been a task that defies any common sense analysis.
Yet there are those who continue to insist that they have met secret chiefs.  Pat said that he had a conversation with one Chief who claimed that he had met a secret chief.
“I asked him how he knew he was and the answer I got was “I just knew”.  Well that sums it up! No proof, just talk,” Pat wrote.
 This is why I am being silly about the grade signs.  This is a perfectly legitimate way of testing if someone is a secret chief which can be useful to a working order.  If they do not know the password of the aion, then they will know less about MOAA than a neophyte which need to use it every day.  If they do not know the grade signs of the 7=4 then they do not know as much as the physical chief of the order who they are supposed to be guiding.
“Just knowing” that someone is a secret chief is not enough.  If physical chiefs exist then they have to provide physical proof of their existence.
It is worthwhile noting that Mathers only ever met one person he thought was a physical secret chief.  He failed to test this person with the grade signs which would have indicated that they were a fraud.  Had he done so the history of the end of the Golden Dawn might have been a little different.  That Secret Chief was the con-woman Madam Horos.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Signs that you might not be a real magician

Everyone who follows this path wants to believe that they are a real occultist or a magician.  It is a bit like those people who tell you at parties that they are “writers” and when you ask them what they have published it turns out that they have been sitting on their autobiography for 40 years.
Being a real magician is like being a real writer. It is not as easy as claiming you are.   So here is my list of indications that you might not be a real magician

1.    You always wear black, have a pentagram, or an esoteric tattoo which can be seen.
A real magician is someone you would think was an ordinary person.  The Rosicrucians actually swore to wear the standard clothes of people around them.  Dressing up is advertising “hey I am an occultist” for people who do not care.  This can be extended to the idea of appearing all dark and mysterious and writing long tombs on Black Magic usually with a Crowley angle.

2.    Each day you do not do at least half an hour’s PRACTICAL magical work.
Practical work means doing a ritual, shutting your eyes and going somewhere, with full concentration.  Sounds obvious but people call themselves magicians when they only have read a few books.

3.    Your life is the same.
Practical magic results in dramatic changes to you and your environment.  If you are doing it properly you will be completely different from what you were.

4.    You have not lost at least one relationship because of magic.

It is hard to have lived a magical life and stayed with the same partner.  If you are attached to a muggle they often do not understand your way of thinking, and if you are not then magical events can become “relationship events”.   Although I didn’t believe it either, it is incredibly likely that a partner will say to you to choose between you and your magical work.  If you chose the partnership you are not a magician.

5.     You own a ton of magical gear which you use in all your rituals.
I am in the GD, so I have shedloads of gear which I have made and bought over the years.  However for some reason in most of my rituals I use my (non-air) dagger which is connected to a spirit who helps.  That is not to say that I will not get out the whole lot for a serious working, but a lot of the work requires the minimum amount of equipment.

6.    You talk about occultism more than you do it
While it is possible to read a few books and know a lot, you can find yourself quoting other authors all the time.  When you are talking about experiences, if you need to quote others then you are playing at it.  Give yourself a test.  Time how much you spend actually doing occultism and how much you talk about it.  If you do an hour a day in your magic circle then you can’t talk about it for more than an hour.

7.     You have lots of hobbies.
While some hobbies work with a magical life, such as art, computing, reading, historical research, but others don’t and you probably will not have time to do them.
But there is more to it than that, there is a social life which goes on with hobbies and you will find that you really have nothing in common with these people.   Hobbies are a way of opening a conversation with someone else.  Once the conversation has moved beyond that you find that they are interested in muggle things and you will be shoved in the corner with nothing to say.

8.     You have an active social life
You don’t. Occultism is a very lonely thing.  As I said above you find that you have very few things to say to muggles.  If your social circle is other occultists then that will become problematic over time.  Occult social circles are hotbeds of intrigue and nastiness dressed up with holier than thou smiles.  Your best friend could decide that they want to take over a group you have set up and take your entire circle away from you.  Another might think that you are evil and start launching black magic attacks on you.  One thing that is weird though is that sometimes if you make a magical change in your life, you suddenly lose the ability to communicate to your old set of friends.

9.     You think that something else is important
Occultism is all consuming.  It provides you with a way of life and method of thinking.  There is no room for making something else more important than it.  Politics is not important; neither are ideals, animal rights, Greenpeace or anything like that.  A magician helps the world but through different methods.  That does not mean that they will not get their hands dirty helping people directly. But the “idea” thing is dealt with a magical level, they do not sell their time to causes.

10.     You do what you are told
There are occult groups which are based less on respecting their teachers and more obeying them.  If a teacher spouts rubbish and people are expected agree with it, even to the point of offering their public support for it without question, then they are not magicians.  Magic is a path of questioning and certainly not obeying without question.

11.    You think that things in magic are literal and physical
If you had any real experience with magic, and being a magician, you would know that nothing in magic is literal, most of it is symbolic and few things relate to physical events.  Magicians have a mystical language similar to storytelling, often with real events and places in the mix.  When a magician tells you they summoned a dragon, chances are they summoned an astral entity…. If you can’t see that you are not a real magician.

12.     You think magic is about what you can get.
While it is true that magic gives you some control over creating your universe, you will always find that you have to give up a lot.  This is the path of sacrifice and it is damn hard. People who tell you that magic made their life easy are lying.   In fact I am sure a large number of real magicians would love to give it all up if they could live their lives like normal people again.  It is just they can’t.  Having tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge you can’t return to Eden.