This 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.
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!