Golden Dawn Harmony & Lineage and Polytheism

ctThis weekend I am resting after some very intense transpersonal cleansing and exorcism work down in the country. As I sloth around in bed I have been wandering around the net, and of course have been reading lots on the recent theme of ‘Golden Dawn Harmony’. My take on this all has been varied and often naive. Working in the refugee field for many years now I am aware of the various stages of change required for harmonious living between people of differing cultures and viewpoints. I would suggest what we need prior to any harmony in the Golden Dawn is tolerance. This means different groups accepting the other groups right to exist. On a Malkuth action plane this requires doing nothing and saying nothing that counters or hinders any other group. Practically this means a very different ambiance in the Golden Dawn community than at present. All the crappy pages and blogs would go for a start.

Of course even tolerance is going to be hard when different groups view each other as invalid from the outright. This is not a question of lineage but of intention and corruption. If any GD group views the leaders of a rival group as motivated by greed or corruption rather than spirituality we are stuck at the outset. Successful religious ecumenicism is seldom achieved when the different groups deny the good motivations of the other even if unconvinced of correct actions. If a Christian church viewed another church as motivated solely by the desire for money using Christianity as a front, meaningful tolerance would not be achieved. So, I worry about even GD tolerance, let alone harmony when it is clear that even the basic commonalities are not present. I hope I am wrong.

Golden Dawn Lineage

The lineage question (and lineage itself) is like herpes; it never goes away 🙂 So, knowing we can never solve the issue I would like to ponder it a little and offer a suggestion. There are a few main obstacles to understanding the question of who has valid lineage and who does not: (1) what exactly is meant by lineage, (2) when and where did this view on lineage originate, and (3) the proof of any possible lineage is often kept secret by the Orders themselves. What I suggest is all the Orders pool their resources and track down a proper, unbiased esoteric academic – one employed in the academy not someone who has a degree and who is a member of an Order. We hire them, all the Orders open ALL their records to him/her and they produce a report. This report will say something like:

  • If lineage means blah-blah, then GD Order XXX has a lineage from YYY; The documents ZZZ support this lineage.
  • If lineage means muck-muck, then GD Order AAA has a lineage from BBB; the documents and reports GGG partially support this lineage as some key elements cannot be verified.
  • Etc Etc…

At least then we are not comparing apples and cumquats. Personally, I think the only lineage that really matters is that we actually practice the tradition to serve the world and the One. However we have  received the GD – from Grand Lord Captain Cow, Chief of the Order of Yap-Yap or from the back of a Weeties box or from books – it all pales into insignificance to the fact that we practice. But people are stuck on lineage – the virus won’t go away. So let’s see if we can find some sucker academic somewhere to do this and get it all out in the open for once. What do you think?


Over the last decade particularly I have focused my reading around my two main traditions – the western mysteries and Vajrayana Buddhism. Studying even the core texts from these traditions seldom leaves time for much other reading. So I miss a lot. One of the works I seemed to have missed is John Michael Greer’s “A World Full of Gods: an inquiry into polytheism“. Now I know that John has been very active in the Druid community over the last decade or more but I will admit to surprise to see him defending traditional polytheism given his views on the Gods within his GD based works – the Gods are formulas to structure consciousness. So I am quite keen to have a look at this book from 2005. This afternoon I will do the right thing and perform what is likely to be a pointless ring-around of local bookshops before ordering it online. I haven’t found a good scholarly review of the book yet but have listened to an interview with him about the book. The interview was not very scholarly either but did give John a chance to present his main thesis, which he summed up in this example.

A Bit Nauseous?

A Bit Nauseous?

If we are looking out of the window and see a Hindu dancer wander by, followed a few minutes later by a Christian priest, followed by a buffalo, we would assume them to be different beings. So too with Gods. Different people around the world experience and relate to different Gods. Either they are really different Gods or most people are wrong or they are the same God under different guises. John says of the latter, he would need proof not just an assumption or declaration that this is so. The obvious, esoteric answer is not that the Gods “are the same” under different guises but that each of them, like all phenomena, are contingent and interdependent lacking intrinsic existence. This lack of intrinsic existence stems from Unity – since we are united we cannot exist alone. Unity is not God under a different name or title. It is not a Being at all, but that which just Is. Even this Is finds its roots in the Not, which we can equate with the Ain of the Qabalah.

This is basic Neo-Platonic esoteric thought and the proof John calls for comes from our own reflection and realisation that all things are impermanent. This is not hard to realise as soon as we look around us. John advises theology to take its models from ecology and I agree: there is no stable, ever existing independent ecosystem. The same with the Gods. This concept of impermanence can be expressed in western terms: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25). Esoterically, the flesh is of course our earthly selves, the flower our individual ‘soul’ or Higher Self which in and by itself is also destined to wither and return to Unity. The Word is the unity of the One and “for ever” does not refer to an eternal time (like day after day in heaven), but a state beyond time since time is a mundane, created experience. I am keen to get into the book and see how John responds to this view, which he must have encountered many times. To have someone of John’s skill and intelligence defending radical polytheism is going to be fun and enlightening to read!



  1. David Griffin · May 11, 2009

    ***MOTO Comment:***

    Apologies for the comment here, David. Just to make clear, this comment is from one of the main players in the GD Harmony stuff recently. While I would not like MOTO to become a vehicle for this material, I am allowing this comment as it provides one point of view in depth. The reason why any countering views are not on MOTO is simply because they have not been submitted. Of course anything beyond the pale in etiquette will not pass my censorious eye 🙂 – Peregrin.

    Much of the discussion surrounding Golden Dawn harmony has occurred this week on Yahoo Golden Dawn groups. I have therefore cross-posted regular summaries on our blog at:

    For example, on the EOGD forum “Aima Elohim” this week wrote:

    > Griffin says he wants to end the flame war! A notion that I deeply agree with. Recently, (like two days ago), a potential student e-mail me and said that he was thinking of joining our Order. He said he started doing some research on-line, and you know what he found? Nothing but flame posts and blogs… He was sickened by this and asked my why I would be apart of any system that behaved this way…OMG!

    It seems most Golden Dawn members agree that the defamation of orders on anonymous websites and blogs, as well as on the various order’s websites etc. needs to end. These are harming not only their intended targets, but the entire Golden Dawn tradition as a whole.

    Yet, surprisingly, Golden Dawn leaders of certain orders have instead decided that the rewards of continuing to slag other orders outweigh any potential benefits of Golden Dawn harmony.

    Unlike Peregrin, I do not believe that this is an issue of corruption, per se. It is clearly an instance of the will of leaders being out of sync with the will of the vast majority of Golden Dawn members. In any case, Aima Elohim was quick to do an about face only 24 hours later.

    Aima Elohim wrote:
    > ATTENTION: David Griffin of the HOGD/AO
    I have spent the past 24 hours talking on the phone, reading e-mails, etc…and the bottom line is…everyone deeply desires for there to be peace, but most people just do not trust that you are being honest about your intentions. As it has been stated, all of the other Orders get along perfectly, but you have spent so many years defaming other Orders, people’s personal lives, and the teachings and practices of others that you have completly burned your bridges. Personally, I believe that if you are sincere about having peace with everyone you will show everone over time that you are, and it may have to be without recompense. I have done what I promised to you, discussed with people thier opinions and tried to convince them to give you one more shot. I am now going to bow-out of this whole buisness altogether. I do hope you are serious about wanting peace, but only you will prove your honesty in this matter.

    To me this is vintage use of smoke and mirrors by GD leaders desperately trying to hide the fact that they do not want peace – at all – period. After all, how much “trust” does it really take to remove a couple of stinky pages from one’s website in tandem with other orders?

    The “trust” issue is clearly just an attempt to hide that certain Golden Dawn leaders see more benefit in continuing to defame other orders than they do in Golden Dawn harmony. This is not really a question of “corruption,” per se. It is, however, a clear instance of Golden Dawn leaders putting their own, personal interests ahead of the interests of their members.

    At, “Hermetic Student” summed up these sentiments like this:
    > It may seem counter-intuitive, but think about it: peace is expensive! That is the difference between peace and surrender. Surrender means you lost so much that fighting isn’t worth it any more. Peace means you are willing to sacrifice something to gain the benefits of harmony. If one side calculates that the benefit of conflict is higher than the benefits of peace they will continue the conflict.
    > That is what is now going on in the Golden Dawn. A few years ago, Robert was feeling the pinch. He got on his podium and talked about a Golden Dawn PowWow. Safe and sound in his cushy new place with secure new name (no more Morning Star) what does he gain now from peace?
    > Now that David is singing hippie songs, Zink is saying: “Too late mofo! You want peace then just surrender. Take everything down. Sit silently while we whoop you a new german. There will be no effort from our end and no compromise and no promises ever.”
    > What will David do?
    > After all, if the other side keeps firing after your guns have fallen silent, then why should you NOT fire back?
    > You may be thinking, what guns? The answer is simple: Robert Zink has not taken down ANY attacks on David Griffin from his website. Pat continues the same old same old. Everything remains a “go” in this war. It ain’t a matter of everyone being quiet. Ah no! The guns are still firing unabated. It is just David sayin: “Hey let’s stop this war and talk shop!”
    > No one cares and no one is listening. Their answer is things are fine here in OUR war tent.
    > Well yeah jee whiz! You are on the SAME team. What they are implying of course is that THEY are the WHOLE SPORT! That David is just some rabble rouser upstart who is playing alone in some alley.
    > Except he has close to thousands of members! That ain’t nothing to sneeze at. You gotta be smoking good weed to think that ALL of them don’t matter because you got issues! Folks, it is sounding like some people don’t just have issues, they have annual subscriptions and picking up their neighbors drops too!
    > With that kind of arrogance, I guess I know now what they would do at the helm of the Titanic. They would demand the iceberg move!
    > We already know that one side refuses to stop the conflict.
    > The peace is dead now folks! Dead and buried! It is so dead even Romero can’t make it walk again. It ain’t dead because David is a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.
    > It is dead because some people get high over the drama. They love to know they have an enemy they can wage war on. Not an enemy who is a Satanist. No! An enemy who is a brother and has taken the same vows, toiled like they do, and bore the same Rose Cross lamen, for that is the real legacy of the Golden Dawn and it will ever continue to be thus, till our grandchildren are grandparents.

    In summary, the HOGD/AO has received a clear answer to our Golden Dawn harmony initiative:

    “Sorry, guys, but we have more to gain by continuing to spread defamation about your order than we do by having harmony in the Golden Dawn community.”

    This approach, in my opinion, is as blind as it is selfish, and were it up to these leaders would condemn to entire Golden Dawn community to decades more of the same feces presently clogging the Golden Dawn toilet on the internet.

    However, Golden Dawn orders are fortunately based on membership. This means that Golden Dawn leaders are ultimately accountable to their members. If they behave too outrageously inconsistently with the will of their members for too long, they will find themselves left alone in their positions of imaginary power. There are, after all, plenty of other Golden Dawn orders for them to choose from. So if leaders ignore the legitimate needs of their members, sooner or later they will begin voting with their feet.

    It seems clear that the vast majority of Golden Dawn members are fed up to the gills with perpetual flame wars.

    Moreover, the grass roots harmony movement in the Golden Dawn community transcends order boundaries.

    If YOU want Golden Dawn harmony …

    If YOU want the flame wars to end …

    YOU CAN make a difference!

    So how long will the Golden Dawn flame wars continue?

    It is entirely up to YOU!

    Write to your leaders. Tell them you are fed up with excuses.

    Tell them you want RESPONSIBLE leadership.

    Tell them you want flame wars to end and that you want Golden Dawn harmony.

    Remind them that YOUR needs matter too!

    After all, without YOU, there is no Golden Dawn.

    David Griffin, F.R.+C.

  2. Peregrin · May 11, 2009

    Thanks for this David.

    I would be interested in your, and anyone else’s, take on the suggestion of an academic reporting on the lineage issue as posed in the original post. Ta.

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