Comments on this site are welcome but generally I will delete those made anonymously or any posts if they are seen to attack anyone.

Monday 24 June 2013

Who is the Golden Dawn community?

Community: A social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests andperceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists(usually preceded by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

The Communtaries  on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls (which can be bought here)  book was written by the “Golden Dawn Community.”  This leads to the question what is the Golden Dawn Community and who are its members?   Now before we get to specifics I should put up my hand and say it was me that project managed the book, contacted all the people who ended up writing it and laid it out so if groups or individuals are missing it is my fault.
A large number of different Golden Dawn individuals and organisations were asked to take part.  The aim of the project was to be inclusive. But there were points where we had to define what made a member of the Golden Dawn community.
Firstly a writer had to be a member of a Golden Dawn group either now or in the past and actively working the Golden Dawn system.  This sounds obvious, but there are many different and interesting individuals which had their roots within the Golden Dawn but have since gone in different directions.  This group which they were a member did not need to have anything like lineage, charters or do anything more than to be working the Golden Dawn system.
Specifically these groups had to work the Golden Dawn rituals and structure.  This could be done in a modified or edited form.  However it ruled out groups, for example, which had abandoned the elemental grades.  There are some good groups out there which have abandoned the Golden Dawn rituals completely and while the work they are doing is worthwhile, they cannot be said to be part of the Golden Dawn eggregore.
They could not be running the Golden Dawn as a business or a money making enterprise.  When the Golden Dawn was formed it was as a magic order and not designed to make money.  Since the publication of Israel Regardie’s book there have been a number of groups which have been started up as businesses, usually to make money for one person.  In any event, inclusion in this book, would constitute free advertising for such a business.
Each group needed some connections with others, which is what the central idea of community actually is.  While I admire any Golden Dawn group that works in such secrecy that none of us have ever heard of, but we can’t really count you if we don’t know you exist.  In fact it was my private hope that some of these groups might get in touch for future projects.
If you adopt a North Korean style  foreign policy
 to other Golden Dawn Groups you cannot be
recognised as part of the GD community.
Lastly you can’t be a member of a community if you are spending all your time attacking different members of it.  While there are a few people within in the GD community who do not like each other, or “have history” with each other,  the remarkable nature of this project is that they all worked together to bring the project about.  It was that willingness to work together which was crucial to the success of this project.
But it is unreasonable to expect any community to work alongside any individual who dedicates their time attacking them and their orders.  Such types, though rare, reframe themselves out of the Golden Dawn community and if there is going to be any general unity within the Golden Dawn it has to be with such types away from the rest.
As it can be seen, what makes a member of the Golden Dawn community was extremely wide, and inclusive.  As a result the book has managed to generate some interesting information as different groups explain their particular spin on the Golden Dawn current.
This is particularly clear when two or three people take the same flying roll and approach it with the things that they find interesting.   Normally you would have to belong to several different orders at the same time to get this level of experience.
It is when the Golden Dawn which talks as a community that you can start to see how detailed and packed full of variety that system really is.  Also how issues like Godforms, lineage, history, and egos are just a tiny part of the overall Golden Dawn mindset.
While I would like to have seen more people contribute to a project like this, there were some in the Golden Dawn community who were unable to do so.    Some of this was because it was the first of its kind and had not been attempted before.  It takes some bravery to be the first to stick your head above the parapet.  Others were just too busy with their groups, or life,  to take part.  It is my hope that the next Golden Dawn Community project which takes place will reveal more groups who are working together to further the development of the Golden Dawn tradition.  Anyway if you are interested in taking part, drop me a line.

Sunday 23 June 2013

The Devil has had a very poor press

Fellow Golden Dawner, Perigrin Wildoak has been feeling that he is writing a lot of articles which has resulted in him being stereotypes as a Christian apologist.   To help him out I felt there was a need to balance his good works in what is probably the closest  I have come to writing a MOTO blog.

In the 1980s there was a Not the Nine o Clock News sketch with the title “Is the Devil All Bad.”  It attempted to show how silly the “cool” British Anglican church had become by being too all embracing to different faiths and schisms.  If you are going to be all interdenominational why not accept Satanism as a rival religion?

Most muggles think that occultists are black magicians who have sold their soul to Lucifer anyway.  You spend most of your magical life trying to explain to muggles why most real occultists do not bother with Satanism.  Many associate summoning demons with black magic and do not touch it.  Others reject it because it is too closely associated with Christianity.  Like the Roman Catholic Church found out when the film “the Exorcist” was released, in the muggle race mind the acknowledgement of demons and Satan, confirmed the existence of God and Jesus. It re-established a dualistic view of the universe where its God was always going to be the winner.
Change your perspective on the Devil Today
This makes those who really do follow this as a Satanic path based around expensive furry books with lots of black red letters look a teen in permanent rebellion against his parents.  You get to meet gothic-dressed kids who tells you that they have proudly sold their soul to Satan, and yet you can’t help but wonder, given the status of their life, if they would have gotten a better deal on ebay.
While, the existence of the Devil was not really confirmed within Christianity until about the third or fourth century, the existence of “evil and good spirits” has been around since the beginning of recorded history.  Gods have dark underworld sides which are something that occultists are likely to end up exploring at some point in their occult careers.   You can hear some wiccan’s bang on about the using evil magic and having it rebound on people, and yet go all misty eyed about Hecate, Demeter and Persephone who all have “evil streaks” a mile wide.  Hermes has his dark side which many choose to write off as being a “trickster god” and nothing to do with his life as a messenger of the Underworld.
What has happened is that many have accepted the dualistic view of the world with Good and Evil and expected that everything they do is somehow good.
I am rather an nice chap really
Recently I did a working to evoke the Egyptian god Seth.  For those who came in late, at various times in Egyptian history Seth was the Satan of his day.   The god of deserts and storms, he murdered the Jesus of his day Osiris and fought Horus for control of Egypt.   Yet at different times, Seth was worshipped in Egypt and these were by people who were considered very good.
He was considered the god of the Night Sky through which the dead pharaoh became a god:

"Homage to thee, O divine Ladder! Homage to thee O Ladder of Set! Stand thou upright, O divine Ladder! Stand thou upright, O Ladder of Set! Stand thou upright, O Ladder of Horus, whereby Osiris came forth into heaven."
-- Pyramid Texts,
He was also the only God who was strong enough to kill the serpent Apep and allow the Sun god Re to ascend in the heavens.  Without his particular brand of “evil” the world would not operate and the sun would not come up.  Apep was not so much “evil” but total chaos and destruction.
The murder of Osiris was another important role for Seth. It is important to realise that Osiris living all the time was a bad thing.  He represented growth and was associated with the Nile flood.  Set however was the force that killed off that growth to prevent it becoming unchecked.  The death of Osiris was a necessity in the life of the Egyptians.  The later wars between Seth and Horus for Egypt were a re-enactment of those ideas.  For this reason, Seth was largely castigated by those who liked their Gods literal and black and white.  Yet Osiris force unchecked would be just as evil as Seth.
I was surprised by the Seth force.  I was expecting something more chaotic and nasty.  What I got, was not “nice” but equally it was not horrible.  Seth was a force of necessity and power.  Sometimes you need someone like him to do the tricky stuff.
Yet for some reason I would feel a block about doing the same thing with Satan, or the devil. Intellectually I can find all the same arguments for accepting him as a much maligned and necessary form.  Practically it does not feel right.  I think the problem is the source.  Christianity did its level best to pile so much of its collective shadow onto the idea that it made it more  difficult to sort out the useful stuff from the outright dangerous.  I find it easier not to believe in the “devil” as a source of absolute evil than to try and redeem it in my own mind.
This is particularly annoying as I think  it is important for magicians at some point to open chthonic doors to find their powers.  At the moment I am finding the best way to do that is through the Greco-Roman-Hebrew magic of Alexandria.
Whare Ra Vault
Traditionally the Golden Dawn attempted it through the Lesser Key of King Solomon, or the Abramerlin system, both were Christian with a Hebrew gloss.  These resulted some hair-raising experiences for the Whare Ra temple, which appeared to have its vault contaminated by the experiments of some of its 6=5s which got out of control.
One of the last people to get her 5=6 in the Whare Ra vault said that after she emerged from it, she had a tremendous urge to tear the whole thing down.  The experience rattled her so much that she never went back.  Jack Taylor also warned his students that the vault was contaminated and BOTA’s Premonstrator Will Chesterman who nearly bought Whare Ra after its closure realised that it was beyond his ability to cleanse.
There are far worse evils sitting in the Underworld these days
All this was probably because they were dealing with beings which had become so twisted by human expectations of abstract evil which they allowed to take control of the situation.  The concept of working with something which, by its own rules, are unredeemable makes me want to tread with too much extreme care.
However what I have found is that I can have all the useful chthonic experiences, by ignoring the Christian glosses. Some of the same techniques in the Goetia and its ilk work perfectly well if you attempt to find a pre-Christian template.
In this we start to see these spirits broadly as elements; neither good, nor evil, but made into that shape by humanity.  I do not believe that anything is unredeemable and that everything must have a place in the order of things.  I just wonder if the Christian devil’s bad press has made him too bad mad and dangerous to know.