Nine Dangers of the Golden Dawn

This is a long post, so groan or smile, dependent on your point of view:)

The Golden Dawn and the RR et AC are wonderful traditions and many thousands of people owe them a great deal for their spiritual and magical fulfilment, including thousands (like many Pagans) who may not even know it. However, they are dangerous and I think it is important to be honest about this, especially as the traditions shows no signs of decreasing in ‘popularity’. While many of the dangers outlined below also apply to other magical paths, some are particularly germane to the Golden Dawn (by which I include, as per common usage, the RR et AC also). Most of these stem from the transition of the GD from a fraternal tradition to largely a solo based tradition. More on that in a later post:)

Danger One, the self changing the self: In magic, like Tantra, the tool we use to change our self is our self. We form a new being out of the old being via changes within the being itself. While we, our regular lower self, may be directed by ‘the Higher’, this occurs to large degree only in the advanced magician, and in any case requires lower self actions and choices. We alone are the artist (directed by a Master hopefully), the canvas and the paints by which a new painting is created.

Any mistakes we make in this venture can have catastrophic results – after all it is not like we can simply go out and buy a new canvas, like we can with physical paintings. We have to live, forever with the successes and failures of self transformation. Now if that doesn’t scare you, it should as we all make mistakes. It is part of being human and imperfect, even if directed by the trans-human perfection of the HDG.

Two approaches minimise these dangers: one is to practice a tradition where the process of transformation is laid out, clear and guided by elders and perfected beings (Masters), and the other is to surrender to God, being obedient to His wishes for the world. I am using traditional language here as New Age equivalency can often lead to wishy-washy thinking, where ‘surrender to God’ means doing what the “inner” or even “the child” self wants.

Danger Two, ego inflation: Magic, particularly the Golden Dawn tradition can easily promote the inflation of the ego, the small ‘I’ that believes it is the centre and author of the universe. Evidence of this can be found in any Golden Dawn community across the planet, and I imagine it would not take us long to think about someone we know. I am thinking of ‘Baron von Elmann’, the gentlemen whose letter I reproduced a few posts back. Now it is easy to say such people are rare, but they are within our midst. And by and large they are not easily healed away from their ego mania and will damage and distort a number of sincere students before they collapse under their own weight like a neutron star.

The Golden Dawn community, not being centralised, is largely impotent when it comes to countering these people. The Good ‘Baron’ went on to claim the 7=4 status before succumbing to a nervous breakdown – following death threats from an irate street kid who was annoyed at the Baron’s attempts to penetrate his (underage) girlfriend in a magical ritual. Fortunately (for us) after his recovery he left high magic alone and now only infects the Wiccan community.

Ego distortions in the Golden Dawn occur not only because of outward things, like the titles and grades, but also inner difficulties. These mainly centre on the incredible potency and strength of the magic of the Golden Dawn being used at incorrect times. Though this is often said, I sometimes think most people somehow do not think it applies to them personally:

The Golden Dawn is NOT a magical tradition.

Magic was only practiced in the Inner Order, the RR et AC, after the student had completed seven initiations, much preparation and been linked to currents of transformation, the Rosicrucian tradition and their own Genius. If we practice magic too early in our spiritual development, distortion can easily occur.

Danger Three, the temptation of practical magic: While the Golden Dawn is not specifically an operational tradition of magic, designed to transform the world around us to what we need or desire, it does have elements of operational magic within it. This is evident in the Z Documents and elsewhere. The dangers or merits of using magic for practical, operational ends have been discussed by smarter people than me over the years, so I would like to focus on just one point. We are all human, all the Perfected One living as unperfected beings with normal human frailties and emotions. If we are accustomed to using magic to gain jobs, sell our houses etc, when we are hurt, abused or attacked (as we will be, in life) our natural feelings for revenge and anger can easily be channelled, without us knowing it, down inner pathways created by our magic.

If I used practical magic constantly and then my son was molested or damaged, my natural feelings for revenge now have – even if only in my subconscious which, after years of practice, knows magic works – a channel. If I never used magic, there is much less chance the feelings would be channelled. And even on a conscious level, we are all tempted…

Danger Four, missing pieces: The magic of the RR et AC has really only been partly revealed, despite the intense efforts of Israel Regardie, Pat Zalewski and a few others. The inner workings and much which make it work are still not “out there”. Therefore many people are “filling in the gaps”, for themselves, which is laudable in motive, though not necessarily in application. Without a strong connection to the RR et AC currents and Masters, much of what people use to fill in the gaps, is coming from their own inner beings. Some of this may be useful, but much – and again, the evidence is all around you – is like using play-dough between the bricks of the new self instead of cement: at the first strong winter storm of change and trouble, the walls start tumbling down.

Danger Five, astral corruption: This is related to the gap filling and practicing magic too early. The RR et AC relies, for most of us, on contacts to inner plane beings, whether they are perceived as discreet entities or not. Forced contact with these currents and beings however, is not wise as we may easily have an impure or incorrect connection. There is more than one GD magician and more than one Order Egregore that is infected with demonic powers and currents. This is a reality. Rather than attempted conscious connection, as a group or an individual, it is far better to do all the preparatory work slowly and completely, and allow the contacts to emerge when they wish in your meditations and practices.

Danger Six, those around us: This is easily avoided if we’re careful, but it is a danger nevertheless. Basically the Golden Dawn community is full of nutters and people who you’d cross the road to avoid. Some are simply ‘weird’ and not our cups of tea. Others though will drag you, if you let them, into dark and dangerous places spiritually. A few are obsessed with demonic forces, and the occasional one engaged in negative magic or criminal practices.

Danger Seven, established magic: I’ve posted on this before – the Golden Dawn, as the Elder Brother of magical traditions can be chosen and adhered to in a most unthinking way by novices. If that happens, if our spiritual development is part of a trend or is constrained by the easy choice or by dogma, we might as well use our wand to stir paint and give our robes to the dog in winter. We will not transform at all. The Golden Dawn must only become “our” spiritual tradition through a marriage, where we love it and are transformed by it and serve its ends and purposes as much as it serves our own, just we do with our flesh and blood spouses.

Danger Eight, damage from incorrect magic: Some specific GD and RR et AC practices, particularly the initiations bring immense benefit and growth to those on the receiving end. If they are conducted properly. If they are performed incompletely or improperly, immense harm can occur. Again this is a reality, as solid and as real as the screen you are now looking at. It is not subjective, but objective. Initiation is like a medical operation – if part of the procedure goes wrong, the patient can be seriously damaged.

Sadly, with the increase of non-fraternal initiations and groups without lineage or proper training, these incidents are happening more and more. Pat Zalewski, somewhere in some book (it’s too early to look) gives an example where an incorrectly performed Eucharist in the Neophyte initiation caused a serious kidney problem in the initiate. Much of the damage however, is not physical and may not be picked up straightway – especially since the initiator, despite good intentions, obviously is not fully conversant with all the intricacies of initiation. Some damage can distort the initiate’s spiritual progress for many years to come.

An example from my own experience will help make this clear. A few years back I was asked to train a Gnostic based (well…no, that discredit the Gnostics, they just used that term) group in the Golden Dawn initiations, which they had used for many years previously.  The members were all Masons and several belonged to the SRIA and had previously belonged to a GD Order in the 80s.

As part of my training I ran through the tremendously significant part of the Neophyte initiation where, before the Oath, the Hierophant leaves her throne and treads down the Evil Triad/Persona of the candidate. During my description I mentioned the use of the Elder Horus Godform and it became clear that the Hierophant had, for many years, never used the Godform – he simply “forgot” and never relooked at the Z Documents. He had, from his own will, attempted to tread down the Evil Persona of the candidates. Naturally, this would have been a hit-or-miss affair, as it is the Gods that achieve this work, not we. So every initiate under him had been incorrectly initiated. Their Evil Personas would have been “initiated” as well, and would be strengthened by the ceremony. As I realised this, I looked around at his initiates and understood why they all were complaining about not making “progress” after many years (one of the reasons I was invited in to teach).

Now this is a simple example from the published Z Documents for the Neophyte initiation. There are more complex and more intricate inner workings within the other Outer Order ceremonies (not to mention those of the RR et AC), where the initiate is directly operated upon. If these are omitted or stuffed up in some way, the initiate is going to be damaged. There is no doubt about it. It is for this reason every initiator and every initiating team has to receive the highest, most stringent level of training. And it is beholden on the initiator to be sure they are up to the job, on all levels of their being, even if it means candidates have to wait. Of course, it also means we have to be very careful choosing our initiator – there is a lot at stake here.

Danger Nine, it feels likes it’s working: I’ve blogged on this before, but will cut and paste it here, as it is the most dangerous aspect of the Golden Dawn, and of all magical systems. I hope I get the idea across OK.

All esoteric paths and systems are worthless in themselves, the GD included. They can only point us to the One, and at worse they lock us, often unconsciously into a system of practice that feels good but ultimately produces no transformation. Most esoteric paths, the GD included, are predicated on a two value premise and a ‘promise’ to move between the two: ourselves now, ourselves later (enlightened, transformed, healed, more in tune etc.) and the practices/initiations that move us between the two.

The danger in such a view is that it can become a closed loop. The person I ‘am’ now can never be the person I foresee at the ‘end’ of the process, since my definitions have already separated the ‘I’ now and ‘I’ desired. The gap between the two, while impossible for ‘me’ to bridge, is the spiritual practice and while I engage in that I have the sense of moving forward. Of course ‘I’ can never actually reach the goal, but simply having this mental structure and doing some practice I will experience the sense of moving ahead.

Any tradition that has a well developed ‘path’ between the two ‘I’s will naturally draw people, as we all like to see how we get from ‘here’ to ‘there’. The Golden Dawn thus is very attractive with its clearly mapped out path of transformation and rituals/practices at each stage of the way. Ultimately of course, most GD people (like most esoteric students) don’t really transform in any deep way at all – as amply demonstrated by the lives of both historical and contemporary GD magicians.

It is this comprehensive curriculum approach of the Golden Dawn that seems to lure esoteric students today: ‘by doing this, then this, with these initiations, I will develop the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel’. I’ve met people like this, both within and outside the Golden Dawn, and generally they are either very nice but ineffectual with their shadows oozing out in almost visible appearance, or very arrogant and lacking the basic compassion and humility that are signposts of spiritual presence.

What makes an esoteric path effective, what makes it actually able to lead us to the One is death. The ‘I’ now cannot become the ‘I’ we desire, so we must die. Effective esoteric paths shake us all the time; they invite us to die continually and completely. It is up us to choose death or not. The worry I have is that even the ‘death and rebirth’ instigated by the highly developed Golden Dawn initiations, like the Adeptus Minor, is becoming part and parcel of the intellectual and lower self framework of magicians. If this happens, then death becomes just another magical experience and therefore we block to death as it truly is.



  1. Yehi Ratzon · August 17, 2008

    “Pat Zalewski…gives an example where an incorrectly performed Eucharist in the Neophyte initiation caused a serious kidney problem in the initiate.”

    With all due respect to Zalewski–and I do respect his writings overall–perhaps the initiate simply developed a kidney problem for purely physiological reasons completely unrelated to his or her initiation? In the field of logic, there is the fallacy called “post hoc ac proper hoc,” or “[this happened] after that, therefore [this happened] because of that.” Whereas just because B follows A chronologically, it doesn’t mean that A caused B.

    I’m just saying, we shouldn’t automatically believe everything we read, even if written by a Zalewski, Regardie or Mathers. God gave us the capacity for reason as well as mysticism and magic, and it’s incumbent upon us to use both faculties–left-hemisphere and right-hemisphere if you will–in serving the Divine.

    On a related note, I agree wholeheartedly that the do-whatever-you-want, mix-and-match approach common to many New Age seekers is a poor idea. I would, however, humbly suggest that there’s a happy medium between that and the attitude of “You must do everything EXACTLY according to protocol and make NOT ONE mistake or DISASTER WILL ENSUE.” It seems to me that this approach has two dangers of its own: first, that G.’.D.’. leaders (and I’m not suggesting you’re one of them) may use this as justification for authoritarian, cultish control; and second, that the constant overhanging warning of “Get everything exactly right as it’s written or else” will scare off people from serving as officers, or even from seeking initiation in the first place. And without officers and initiates, there is no G.’.D.’.

    A third point: forbidding any and all deviations from the published G.’.D.’. material (which you yourself admit is incomplete) ignores the fact that magical and mystical systems, like religions prior to the rise of modern fundamentalism, have always EVOLVED. Did the magicians of Ancient Egypt, or the medieval/Renaissance magi, or the Baalei Shem kabbalists of early modern Eastern Europe, have copies of the G.’.D.’. rituals? Not any more than Paul the Apostle had access to Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises or the Book of Common Prayer. Again, I’m assuredly not advocating a “do whatever you like” approach, and I agree that practical magic should not be practiced early in the process as one contemporary Order urges. I do think we should recall that it’s been well over a century since the opening of the G.’.D.’. current, that we are no longer 19th-century Master Masons, and that we therefore needn’t feel eternally bound to every jot and tittle of the 1880s/90s papers (which were themselves revised and expanded by Felkin, Brodie-Innes and Regardie). Rather, Adepts with the requisite knowledge should feel free, on the basis of solid research and purity of intent, to revise and expand the G.’.D.’. texts for the 21st century.

  2. Peregrin · August 17, 2008

    Hi Yehi,

    thanks for these excellent comments, much of which i agree with.

    I am inclined to believe people until they give me reasons not to, which Pat never has 🙂 Yes, there is much faulty logic in the GD/Magical community, which is good to point out. Thanks.

    I am a traditionalist, but as i have posted elsewhere, traditions DO change and evolve from THEIR own side, not those of the needs/wants of single adepts. There is a key difference. But yes, there is too much authoritarianism legitimized by tradition. As soon as anyone starts to give me too much authority, i run away 🙂

    However, with the case of initiations i do believe it is important to know all the inner workings fully and expertly before any attempt to change them is undertaken. As with the medical model – new procedures are introduced all the time, but the new builds on the old, the doctors introducing new surgical procedures knowing all the old ones first. Sadly, most people changing the GD initiations have not been taught or researched the full inner workings first. At least from my experience, correspondence and reading.

    Outside initiations, as i mentioned in a post called “Metaorthopraxy”. the principles of magic are more important than the exact techniques. So i agree with you fully in this aspect. And i think the “purity of intent” you mention is crucial in any expansion of tradition. 🙂

    Thanks again for the comments

    🙂 Peregrin

  3. Simon · August 18, 2008

    Hi Peregrin,

    I agree mostly in what you have to say.

    (danger 2) Ego inflation – The online internet community is rife with this problems. You just need to look online posting of the at the so called leaders and adepts of certain “internet” Golden Dawn orders to realise this. On the whole the online discussion groups are overflowing with this problem.

    But look no further than the original founders like Mathers to see this problem. Minor footnotes of Golden Dawn history like Crowley.

    Not meaning to split hairs but – the use of the term “Golden Dawn” has changed in our modern times and when people say “Golden Dawn” people mean both the “Golden Dawn” and the “RR et AC”. The only magic taught in the Golden Dawn was the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram which is itself is a very important method of self transformation.

    (danger 5) Astral Corruption – Look no further than certain “internet” Golden Dawn orders. Their leaders do appear to be firmly in the grip of the Qlippoth and exhibit the Vices of Tiphareth.

    (danger 8) Damage from Incorrect Magic. I would take Pat Zalewski example with a bucket load of salt. It’s a good story. But, I find magically inclined people too easily look towards the mystical reasons for physical things occurring. The more likely if this person who was been initiated already had a kidney problem which came to light around the same time as the initiation. The two things been independent events.

    But in the absence of a contacted Order with well trained officers what do people do? Is it better to just sit on your arse and do nothing – knowing there is no Order suitable for you to join? Or do you perform the rituals yourself? Or join a less than suitable order?
    For me sitting on my arse is not an option and I personally would struggle along on my own learning from my mistakes as I go.

    (danger 9) It feels like its working. Quote: “I’ve met people like this, both within and outside the Golden Dawn, and generally they are either very nice but ineffectual with their shadows oozing out in almost visible appearance, or very arrogant and lacking the basic compassion and humility that are signposts of spiritual presence”

    I think the “arrogant” thing is a side effect of ego inflation on the most part. The Golden Dawn community if FULL of young people (mainly men) who have embraced intellectual the Golden Dawn teachings. These seem to be these people who are the most arrogant of their own ineffable knowledge. These people are also act like fundamentalists when you try and suggest something not written down by Regardie.

    These same types of people tend also believe magic is just psychology and God is just as aspect of themselves. Gods, Angels, Elementals and demons are just parts of their own minds. So basically anything goes as terms of their practice as they are only affecting themselves. This mainly an American disease – I think because psychology has such prominence in American society.


  4. darktcmdoc · August 18, 2008

    Just a quick note to underline one fact; emotions will have an effect on health; for example, if one is stressed out, chances are good that blood pressure will be affected.

    So I would say that incorrectly performed magic can cause or exarcebate a physical problem. I’ve seen clinical evidence of this. There is awhole branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine that deals with these issues.



  5. Yehi Ratzon · August 19, 2008

    Yes, but there’s a huge logical and empirical gap between “Stress causes high blood pressure,” which can and has been empirically verified, and “Incorrect Neophyte initiations cause kidney disease,” which is impossible to verify. I doubt that even “Traditional Chinese Medicine” could do it.

  6. darktcmdoc · August 21, 2008

    hi Yehi,

    Here is how you verify;

    If someone is feeling poorly after an initiation or a psychic experience, a physician will conduct an examination to determine the cause of the illness, according to the physician’s training.

    I happen to have a background in both TCM and western medicine. I could go on about brain chemistry, metabolic pathways and 3 pages of journal references…

    Or I could go on about Shen disturbances influencing the body, emotions stored within the organs that begin disease and back that up with more journals.

    If some people chose not to recognize the negative effects of poorly executed rituals or practices, that is their problem, especially if they chose to pontificate without a relevant background or going over the litterature….

    No one, including myself, is 100% right all the time and knows everything… That why their are continuing ed courses and seminars…..


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  8. Ireen · March 20, 2009

    Thank you very much for this article, it helps me a lot understanding what is happening right now in the order I joined. Very intelligent analysis.

  9. Peregrin · March 23, 2009

    Hello Ireen,

    I am glad this was useful. I hope your Order unfolds well and healthily and provides you with all the avenues you need for service and spiritual growth 🙂

  10. christopher · March 22, 2010

    All of your comments are very interesting as i am thinking of joining a g.d. temple (if i knew where one is – south coast u.k.) have to say though it seems a lot of responsability to conduct these initiations on new members and also a lot of trust for new members to place in the officers concerned. Don’t really want any mental or physic problems…..

  11. Peregrin · March 22, 2010

    Hello Christopher,

    the dangers listed are real, though in Orders with correct training, common sense and right motivations there is no danger. I suggest you take care, ask many questions and get to know any Order you are thinking of joining. With Orders traditionally being secret, this can be difficult. However, some Orders are now offering public lectures and workshops where you can get to know folk, see how they work etc. See, for example the Antica of the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea ( one of which may be close to you. With care, discrimination and patience you will be fine 🙂

  12. Clay · January 9, 2011

    While I believe that Peregrin has some neat insights on magic and the GD I also believe that what is posted is stuck in a box. The GD is a beautiful system and a masterpiece of instruction into self transformation and magic. It is true that an unwise person can hurt themselves and others if they do not use the GD system wisely. I personally have spent at least a year on each grade so as to be sure that I am soaking up as much of the life changing ingredients that the GD offers. However, GD is not the only way. In fact, most of the self transformation that I have experienced did not come from the GD but rather came from Shamanism and the idea of spending time out in nature connecting with the Divine. The self transformation that I have experienced has nothing to do with a ritual or a “correct” way to do something, instead it has come from the Divine itself. The Divine transforms anyone that puts himself/herself into the discipline of connecting and (submitting, adhering, listening to….ect….could give a hundred words here to describe it. Hope this doesn’t sound like Christianese.) It’s the process of becoming one with the Divine and realizing your own Diving nature. And guess what, we will make mistakes on the path. There will be let downs, dissappointments, dark people, dark entities, battles, physical ailments…..ect. But no one should be discouraged from the “path” as these things are a part of what makes our magic and our Divinity stronger.
    Guess what, I don’t think there’s a magician alive that didn’t hurt people when they started using magic. Magic is a practice that takes time and effort.
    When I started a career in management I hurt many people. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was young and insecure and said some things that I’ll bet hurt some people. I’ll bet there are people right now that lay in bed at night and still think about me as an insecure and harsh manager. But I didn’t give up. I kept learning and reading books about management. As I got older I grew out of my insecurities and became more confident and benevolent in my management abilities. I now routinely have my employees tell me I’m the best manager that they’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be where I am if I would have given up on management. Did I go through hell to get there? Yeah. There were times that I felt like I was having a nervous breakdowns. I can’t tell you how many times I laid in bed at night feeling so horrible for how I treated the employees. But now I feel that I have mastered management and and extremely happy about managing people. Magic is the same way. It takes time and practice. I guarantee that you will get hurt in the process, you will shed some tears, but if you don’t give up you can reach that higher plain of existence that you are looking for. I guarantee it.

  13. Fr. E.T.E.R.N.U.S. · February 4, 2011


    Lovely post and I must begin by saying that I agree with much of what you say. I take issue with the notions of many believing that Mathers, Fortune, Farr, Waite and others were completely aware of what they were dabbling with. Mathers for one, translated texts in French that have now been found to have been translations themselves of much older German documents and the French ones weren’t even complete. Much of the order rituals and workings are taken with this unscholarly approach to information and were mostly based on Mather’s work. If there comes a student/aspirant desirous of adding or changing the GD system in order to create a magical sense of updating the software so to speak, it is often met with the egoist disdain that cripples true transformative magical process.
    Mathers, Fortue, Farr, Crowley and Waite, were all revered as THE masters and ones to harken back to for THE information. These people were subjects of magical attack, died poor, were manipulative and arguably insane by the time they met their demise. Are these honestly the ones we should base our spiritual development on? It follows too that the Enochian elements entered into the GD system by Mathers was and is still not true Enochian workings but still contain evocative names and calls associated with highly unstable and arguably powerful influences. When questioned about this mis-informed entrance of Enochian within Grade Rituals of the outer order, many of the Adepts in the GD are ignorant of the “why” we do what we do.
    This IS dangerous. When a system is allowed to fall into obscurity and tradition for tradition sake, we allow a flow of unchecked and unbalanced energetic flow into all of the aspiring magicians. The founders and Z documents, Flying scrolls and the Rosicrucian elements were themselves a good start but obviously not complete as the end all answer of completion of the system.
    Where is Chic and Tabatha on this matter? Where is Pat and others? Have they too fallen to tradition to justify their life’s work , or do they still have the capacity to dutifully take in new information and uncovered “gap fillers” to the workings of their order? When Joseph Peterson offers up a new translation of the Abramelin texts that pre-date Mathers’ copies and include several pages of missing explanations that Mathers could never have been aware of. Why then wouldn’t this kind of new knowledge be invited into the workings of the GD or RR+AC system to make it better and more complete? Instead we have increasingly more mundane examples of grade rituals whereby the work of the Temple follows “the script” rather than the perspective of magical effectiveness and flow of energies from higher sources.
    Has the GD fallen into the trappings of the masonic order where the words and floorwork are there, empty and without understanding? Or do we seek to find the completion of the self utilizing ALL of the tools possible?

  14. lee · May 20, 2011

    It’s was wonderful to read all your posts! , I agree with the dangers listed, and yet it seems that the real problem is the rigid approach- the resistance to grow and look beyond tradition. As someone who is just starting out on this path I feel a great need to find personal skills to protect myself. And not get lost, but your posts left me hopeful. After all the fact people are aware of problems will eventually lead to solutions.

  15. Kevin Michael Prier · October 6, 2011

    If you are like a lot of modern students, the G.’.D.’. wasn’t you’re first stop on this road.

    By the time I was a teen I was already experiencing contact with other-worldly entities and had developed my own sense of how to perform “magic” without any books or magical orders or schools. Of course teens suffer from the same problems you mentioned above; Especially the ego inflation. Back then I was the center of the universe. Everything that happened was happening directly to ME. This faded with age and wisdom of folly.

    What did not fade, however, were the celestial contacts, premonitions, and in some rare cases actually witnessing these beings on the corporeal plane in physical bodies.

    I began to search for a structured approach to the practice and for group work when I felt that I had gone as far as I could go without a proper teacher. It was the search for a teacher that brought me to Michael J. Crowley and his Phoenix Temple. The G.’.D.’. gradework fills in a lot of the gaps in my understanding of the universe; Like a craftsman who does fine work, then learns the fundamentals, and a few new techniques and becomes an artist.

    Now I know I am not an Adept or Magus or any of these grand titles of High Magic. It was through joining an Order that I was able to realize all that I still had to learn.

    All that being said, I was VERY selective when deciding to join an Order of this nature. Any person seeking to advance spiritually must exercise extreme discernment. Any source that you draw from could potentially poison your spiritual development. There are even entities that are out there specifically trying to stifle you in spiritual development! Again it was ultimately the Teacher that drew me to the G.’.D.’. All the points you raise are valid concerns, but within every human system there are those who would tarnish its credibility. Every single religion, magical order, government, workers union, etc… has had its share of ego maniacs and corruptors. That cannot be the measure of the worth of these aforementioned groups. There are just as many in each of them that are noble idealists searching to preserve something they feel is sacred.

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  17. trace · May 13, 2013

    no one can deny one of the biggest magus’s fell from the sky and broke all his legs

  18. trace · May 13, 2013

    simon magus

  19. ladyfire67 · December 8, 2013

    Really love this. Unfortunately some of the people I have known who started practicing this became very nasty, and arrogant human beings and used this form of magic to attract more attractive men and attract more materialism into their life. It became all about ego and appearance for them. However I do know others who practice this belief and they are very beautiful human beings as it sounds like many of you are on here. Good people.

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  22. Photon · November 1, 2015

    Do I study the GD tradition ….or not? I’m very eager to begin transformation.

  23. Taverner · May 29

    That’s an excellent outline of what to be aware of when working with any system. I generally stay away from Occult blogs and on-line groups for obvious reasons, but I came across this one doing research for a student.

    In our modern, democratic era it is hard for people to understand the necessities of having a “lineage.” This is not about prestige, that’s just the Ego talking, but because of the reasons listed in the post. We all NEED someone to be able to tell us when we’re going off the rails. We all NEED someone to say “dude, do you even know that was racist/sexist/x-phobic?” We need someone to tell us to “check our privilege” because we live in a VERY different society than those who founded ALL of our major traditions. Yes, it can be a problem when it’s the boss, but then that’s the same person who told us that “unbalanced mercy is but weakness and would permit evil to exist unchecked, thus making itself as it were the accomplice of that evil.”

    I’ve been in both positions. There were times I had to be taken aside and told that I was becoming an elitist snob, and time I’ve had to tell people that they were lacking compassion. The system’s goal is one of balance, but those first tastes of power can absolutely topple an unprepared personality.

    It’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan of this current predilection for “rushing” to “Initiation.” I kind of blame Crowley for that because he wrote a lot about how people just can’t be magicians or have any real success until they become initiated. I’m rather a fan of “lesser” initiations, dedications, etc… where the individual gets the psychological benefit of feeling that they belong, but without the psychological and magical impact of that lightening flash which ignites the spark within.

    I, myself had two years of training before initiation, both in person and via correspondence. The BOTA, FLO, and many lineage based Golden Dawn groups all offer multiple years of correspondence training. Some of those lessons and courses are, without a doubt, as good, or better than many of the “Inner Court” or post-initiation training you’re likely to get outside of a lineage.

    I’m never sure about the promise of transformation. I prefer the Masonic saying that they “Make good men better.” My experience of ALL magical, spiritual, and occult work is that there IS NO END-POINT. No matter how high your grade, or how long you’ve studied, or how far you’ve come, you will always say something stupid, or make mistakes, or be an asshole from time to time. No matter what you’ve done, you’re still operating in the world using a human brain in a human body. Dion Fortune wrote that this is actually one of the reasons for reincarnation. In modern terms, we can only do so much to escape our psychological programming and life trauma so we need to be able to reformat the hard drive from time to time.

    I will say that my experience has been extremely valuable. When I think of the pompous, cock-sure, asshole I was when I was “freshly minted” it’s embarrassing. That’s the value of the diary, you have a point of reference as to how far you’ve come.

    And, since I’m on a roll here, I’ll say that every magician should present themselves on a “by their fruits ye shall know them” basis. Never tell anyone your grade. It’s irrelevant. As the OP points out, you can’t know for sure the mindset, God-Forms, etc… of every person in that temple on that day. You can’t know whether your 3=8 or your 5=6 were 100% effective. In my experience, all those rituals can do is create the proper environment for your own Higher Self to be receptive, and most initiations and attunements actually occur over a period of time. The ritual just “flips the switch” so to speak. And then you have work to do in the context of that grade, but what does it mean from the perspective of WHO YOU ARE?

    If I talk about magical theory, or share my experience, or give a lecture/class/workshop, then I want the CONTENT of my work to be of value. If I say that I’m Grand-Fukity-Wow, 8=3 Master of the Onyx Temple of Leng and the audience is suitably impressed and I spout a bunch of crap, then they’re going to BELIEVE EVERY WORD OF IT! If, on the other hand, I say I’m 0=0 of the Unheardof Order of the Slightly Shiny Morning, but present a well researched, paper drawn from years of experience, interviewing experts from across the globe, etc… the average person will discount it as the work of a nobody. So I prefer never to know the GRADE of the person to whom I’m listening/reading, but rather I’m interested in the EXPERIENCE they have in the field and what traditions they have studied. It’s enough to say you’re an Initiate of this and that school/order/coven/whatnot.

    It is my opinion that the on area in which the Golden Dawn tradition fails is a lack of Salt/Love/Compassion/Devotion. When the HoGD was formed it was a perfectly reasonable expectation that every member would also be a member of the Church of England or the Church of Rome. I find that the system misses a good deal in this area because they were addressing the fact that those memberships lacked Power and Wisdom. A few years ago it hit me that when Mathers was writing some of the RR et AC rituals, he didn’t have electric lights. They were NEW and except for the World’s Fair most people had never even seen them! His world-view, his expectations, were entirely different from our own. For him, multi-cultural basically meant Catholics and Protestants living in the same city.

    For me, I think it’s something we should address. I think we should work on our social justice circuits, and engage in devotional practices, regardless of the images by which we connect to the Limitless Light of the Divine. We should make sure we have someone to call us out when we’re being jerks about something. Because the Great Work is about making ourselves into better conduits for the One Source. Perhaps not PERFECT, but clearer. Maybe we can’t always be in the state of Key 6, but we should work towards that. Finally, we should always remember that, no matter how clear a channel we become for that Light, no matter how clearly the spark within can be seen, everyone around us also has that Light within, even if the “glass” of their personality is sooty and the spark is invisible.

  24. Total BS

  25. Peregrin · July 18

    Nothing like an in-depth, cogent critique of my work first thing in the morning. Thanks Lily 🙂

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