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Saturday 17 March 2012

Setting up an Order

One of the early difficulties for an Order is that you get lots of members wanting to join and set up their own temples.
On one hand more temples good for the Order, it means that you can offer training in lots of different locations and effectively your teaching spreads. However at the same time, if you were to allow this, the quality of your training plummets.
If an Order is created by someone with magical experience, perhaps in different groups, who has made their own contacts and developed their own pattern of teaching they become a source for a base of founders.
These founders become the first wave of the “new” tradition. They are trained using the experience and contacts of the group's creator. However they have to go through complete training of the system or else they are undeveloped themselves. They cannot pass on anything to anyone because they have no experience of it.
For the growth of an Order this is a period of waiting. If the founder members survive their training then they can pass on the system to others and create new groups based around their own founder members.
The temptation is always to rush this process to get the maximum number of groups. Take for example the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea. We have groups in Dublin, Slovinia, South Africa, Italy and England. As yet none of these can initiate because the leaders of those groups have not completed their training. People have to come to Rome to be initiated. This slows everything down considerably and effectively rules out any “global domination” plans for the order in the short term.
While waiting for their leaders to be trained, these groups hold meetings and gain ritual experience. Most groups hold Anticums which are public versions of the rituals which outsiders can join in and see if they are interested in the energy and philosophy we have.
It also means that these groups have an evolving egregore which develops over time until the group finally has an initiated leadership. A MOAA “warrant” is a sign that the egregore has evolved to the point where it can handle the energies of a full temple.
But Heirophants have to not only to carry out their own personal work but face additional training so that they can do the job. You cannot hand a person a copy of the Z documents and tell them to get to it (for a start the Z documents do not cover any grades but the 0=0). This is specialised stuff and not for everyone. Because someone has reached 5=6, it does not mean that they are an initiating Hierophant, any more than that grade symbolises that they are a seer, an exorcist or any of the other specialisation.
You do not expect the drive of a car drive well
if they have not been trained
why do you expect a person off the street
to be able to initiate or run a group?
All this need for training stands in the way of a group speeding fast but it also means that there is more within each group to hold it together. If I was to give a warrant to three people and a token adept's grade, as was done in the GD, and told them to get to it, the net result would almost certainly be long term trouble. The new group would have no training, no philosophy and be only able to initiate into their own ignorance. Given that people believe all sorts of myths about the GD (such as the meaning of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram) until they are trained out of them you would be spreading ignorance. The fact that you are giving a token grade out to someone, means that they have not had to deal with the lower self. Their egos will inflate and the group will soon fall apart.
At this point it comes down to a choice. Do you want a big order where people are simply playing at being magicians or do you want one which actually does what it says on the tin but moves slightly slower? Is the temple a place for the mutual masturbation of the egos or is it a place of training for serious magical work. Are grades hollow declarations of status, or are they symbols of true spiritual attainment.
In the case of the initiates who have had to come to Rome for initiation it has become like a spiritual quest. Something that they value and has meaning. They might have had to make sacrifices to obtain it over and above their personal studies. They are not able to come as often as they would like because of financial considerations. But this turns out a more dedicated founder member of a future group. They have made sacrifices to obtain it.
The issue of Adept training also comes up. While many groups are happy just to use Regardie for their adept work and that is it, in MOAA adept work is extremely involved. Regardie is just the tip of the iceburg for a series of projects that an adept has to come out with. An adept is by nature a researcher and has to come up with their own material too. If they are a founder member of a group, then that should evolve in that direction too. None of the stages in MOAA are taken lightly and the forming of a full temple is probably one of the biggest pieces of work a person can take on.
There is an old gag about Alexandrian Witches.   "How many Alexandrian witches does it take to change a lightbulb?
"One to be the high priestess who orders her priest to change the lightbulb and about 50 to a 100 of their mates pulled in off the street to assist in this great work of magic which was practiced in this manner since Ancient Times."
If we are not careful it can be changed to  how many Golden Dawn magicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
One to be the Exempt Adept who, as Imperator of the temple holdeth the true lineage to Ancient Egypt, who shall, in accordance to the ancient cipher, bring forth  two others he hath met in a pub and shall grant unto them the grades of Adeptus Major and Adeptus Minor, so that they shalt recruit ye local masonic lodge, and anyone else interested,  to uphold the Lightbulb so that the light shall shine in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. 
That is not to say that a person cannot make their own contacts and studies and form an Order of their own.  It is just that once they do, they are forced to look at this vexed question.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Review of Dean F Wilson's Enochian Magic in Theory

Firstly I have to say I am little biased about this book. Dean is the main partner in the publishing outfit we are both involved with. However, since I was not involved with the layouts or anything on this project I had to wait as long as everyone else to see a copy.

I first became interested in Enochian in the 1990s and was among a group which was not particularly impressed with the GD's approach to it. That is not to say we didn't try it. There were some glorious moments pathworking into the Enochian Aethyrs and some outright unpleasant ones. On the plus there was a moment where an angel predicted the Bosnian War which was something none of us knew anything about. On the negative side there were post ritual fainting and nose bleeds. There was a rough edge to it which we could not place. We decided that it might have had something to do with the way GD enochian was wired and so went back to John Dee's Diaries. (Of course not being members of the Golden Dawn, none of us realised that it might have been above our grade). We started experimenting with using the same sorts of equipment, the seal, the table, and a crystal, which was used by John Dee and the rough edge started to vanish.
Then we discovered that the Golden Dawn system was based on a document called Sloane 307 which was written in the 17th century and was based on a reading of True and Faithful Relation, by Casubon. Casubon provided an edited version of Dee's Diaries and so some of the important stuff was missing.
Dean's book Enochian Magic in Theory fills in the gaps that have been left by the Golden Dawn and Sloane 307 by bringing together a lot of the research which has been carried out over the last 20 years on Dee's magic system. In this book is all you need to do to go from A, to B, to C. Some of this material is elsewhere, but not of it is in one place. Dean brings the material to hand and explains it very clearly.
When there is some dispute about what Dee, or his Angels were banging on about, Dean provides both sides of the argument and gives his opinion. The opinion is valid and is based on his actual practices.
What I like about this book is that rather than going into what is called a Dee versus Golden Dawn Enochian split, Dean comes up waving the flag for the GD more than he snipes at it even while calling for a more Dee view. It is logical that the Golden Dawn did not get everything wrong and some of the developments, actually take Enochian in places where Dee could not go. However, where the Golden Dawn went a little off, Dean is the first to point it out.
There are a couple of books out there which do similar things, however there is a feeling of completeness about Enochian Magic in Theory. You could give it to a Golden Dawn Student and they would be able to go off and do something with it.
Dean's theme is an interesting concept for those who believe that Enochian needs to be entirely like Dee did it. Dean believes that the Enochian Magic system was not designed for Dee at all. The logic of the argument is sensible. Dee was lazy. He was asked to make material and didn't, given deadlines which he failed to meet, and seemed to be unable to deal with information which was outside his belief structure. Yet surprisingly the Angels continued to work with him and hand over a complete system.The only reason they could have supported him was because with Kelly as a skryer and a bright bloke to write it down, the system would be preserved for someone else who lacked these skills.
After the separation between Kelly and Dee, the material was taught to Dee's inner circle but not expanded further by Dee at least. In other words it was waiting for the likes of the writer of Sloane 307 and the Golden Dawn to come along. So when you see Golden Dawn Enochian it is a matter of merging it with Dee not rejecting it out of hand.
I am interested in seeing Dean's Enochian Magic in Practice, which is coming out next year. The voice behind this book is knowledgeable and it provides you with the information you need to know rather than getting side tracked. I am looking forward to seeing how he sees Enochian working in a practical way.
However I really recommend anyone who is interested in Enochian should buy this book.