Traditional Reconstruction and the Golden Dawn

This rather long post stems from my thoughts on tradition and reconstruction as part of the ongoing discussions on the blogs of GH Fr SR and GH Fr LES as they draw on the work of Frater Barrabbas. The length of my pondering precluded a simple comment and warranted a full post. Naturally my thoughts here are in response to the ideas presented by these Fraters and not directed at them personally. Besides, as is the way of things, my musings soon broadened into other areas 🙂


For some people tradition refers to a particular set of ritual actions and words that must never be altered – lest tradition is broken. For example, JRR Tolkien rejected some of the reforms of Vatican II and refused to use the newer words of the liturgy, steadfastly and loudly declaiming the older form on Sunday mornings. For others though, tradition is a sense, a feeling, a continuation of meaning and form, if not exact words and actions. From this perspective a low church Mass, which shares the same spiritual meaning of the older Tridentine form, is continuing the same tradition.

Esoterically, however tradition can have other more complex meanings. Recently I have been concerned how the concept of tradition has become part of the language of ongoing disputes between different Golden Dawn groups and Internet presences. From my perspective, which I hope to elucidate here, all the parties in these disputes are practicing the same tradition and this should be unitive not divisive. Tradition when fully embraced can never cause division, since the essential aim of all esoteric tradition, to quote the GD Equinox Ceremony, is “love expressed towards God, humanity and the whole universe”.

A Diversion into Traditionalism

In a broader esoteric context tradition is associated with the Traditionalism of Guenon, Schuon and Coomaraswamy. Tradition in this school is ultimately transcendent and atemporal, being sourced in the divine. This integral or perennial tradition interacts with humanity and temporal existence via each genuine religion or spirituality. Following this then, each religion, each of the many valid spiritual traditions, are actually based on the same ever living source and the same metaphysical principles.

Readers of MOTO will see I am much influenced by this concept of tradition being a road both back to the One, and potentially towards a more tolerant and compassionate dialogue between different spiritual traditions. If we are all drawing from the same universal source, and all working with the same building blocks (our humanity and the universe), we are simply producing different songs by the same composer, no matter how different they may seem to us at first. This is a key truth of Traditionalism and a credo for our troubled world.

I am not a pure Traditionalist in the Guenon sense, no matter how much the school’s elucidation of the eternal verities appeals to me. Traditionalist thought often attacks modernity with too much passion for my liking, for example parts of Mark Sedgwick’s Against the Modern World. It also has a tendency to invalidate non scriptural based spiritual forms, which is probably why it has failed to influence the pagan and magical communities to the degree it could have. And, like it’s distorted image, Fundamentalism, Traditionalism falls down when it rejects modern scientific thought, such as evolution, on the basis of traditional religious understandings of the world. The simple fact of the matter is that traditional religious and esoteric thought was never intended to discern the workings of the material universe whereas science was and is. Genesis describes the meaning and relationship of humanity to the world and the One. The various earth sciences describe how this works on a material level.

Traditionalism however is very useful in allowing us to enter the paradigms of pre-modern thought from where the roots of our tradition arise. The way we view reality and process the world is very different to those cultures and societies that existed before the modern world. Whilst modern esoteric and magical thought is not pre-modern magical thought, it does rest upon it and having a understanding of this subject is essential for every magician. Perhaps though, the single most valuable tool in this endeavour is C.S. LewisThe Discarded Image:An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. The writings of Gareth Knight first alerted me to this amazing book which takes the reader deep into the reality of medieval thought..

Tradition and Reconstruction

It seems the writings of Frater Barrabbas on reconstruction and tradition are being used to promote a dichotomy where traditionalism is seen as ‘good’ and reconstructionism as ‘bad’. This is shown graphically by identifying those GD leaders (Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewski) seen by GH Frs LES and SR as ‘reconstructionist’ with the Borg, the most implacable of enemies within the fictional Star Trek universe. Whilst the use of the Star Trek motifs within the blogs of GH Frs LES and SR may be intended as humorous, it is easy to see why the positioning of respected GD leaders as ‘enemies of the Federation’, complete with Photoshopped images, may cause offence. It is hard to see the motivation behind these actions since they, along with ad hominem comments, seem designed to attack the person and not simply critique the ideas people promote. Such a distinction is basic fraternal and academic courtesy, and frankly I am at a loss to understand why it is not shown by Adepts as advanced as  Magister Templi. As I mentioned in my previous post, even if we ourselves feel personally attacked, we need to consciously choose not to attack in return. Otherwise the wheel just goes round and round…

Naturally, since I myself have already been labelled a reconstructionist and had my personal motivations explained to me, I may expect some of the treatment recently given to Mr Farrell and Mr Zalewski. Such is life. In the meantime, I will simply continue to critique ideas in the public domain I find interesting and/or incomplete. As I said at the start of the post, I am not ‘attacking’ people. I’ve never even met any of the Fraters concerned, so how can I possibly ‘attack’ them?

I am however very worried that the supposed distinction between reconstructionist (bad) and traditionalist (good) is too easy and too divisive. As many of the most profound spiritual teachers insist, one of the aims of depth spirituality is to move beyond the natural dualist tendencies of the untransformed mind. Now, from my understanding Frater Barrabbas’ original posts on this subject were less dualistic than how the issue now appears to be framed by GH Fr LES. Again, the use of a fictional dualistic mythos such as Star Trek does not help this matter. GH Fr SR goes some way to addressing this dualistic tendencies by his self identification with Locutus, the name given to Captain Picard whilst assimilated into the Borg.

However, dualism like this will always produce an ‘us and them’ mentality. As I said previously, even if we fully accept the paradigm that some GD folk are practicing traditionally and some using a reconstruction, the most important thing is that we are all practicing the GD. We are all from the same larger tradition. GH Fr SR says much the same thing by referring analogously to the Christian tradition:

If I may use another (not so proper) metaphor, the difference and rivalty (sic) between the Alpha et Omega and the Stella Matutina / Whare Ra is more comparable to that between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism in the greater Christian community. Both these Christian currents claim apostolic succession but one of them no longer acknowledges the head of the Tradition (the Pope). Guess which of the two Golden Dawn rival traditions (A∴O∴or S.M.) corresponds to either of the two big Christian communities? Be there as it may, I actually advocate a spirit of Ecumenism in our community between these two essential currents. Any differences in between them are unnecessary and uncalled for.

Obviously I fully support the final sentiment. However, it is interesting that GH Fr SR chose this analogy, as following it a little further may shed more light on our esoteric discussion. GH Fr SR must be using the word ‘Protestant’ in a none normative way since the fact is the vast majority of Protestant denominations do not claim any Apostolic Succession, seeing the handing on of the faith by consecration through Bishops as irrelevant and  non-Biblical. Instead they see their spiritual connection as being directed through five fundamental principles, of which two are primary, sole fide and sola scriptura – it is by faith and scripture alone that one connects with Christ.

Is the Chief Adept Catholic?

Transposing this situation on the GD community, the ‘protestant’ arm would be those who reject Chartered (and possibly Teacher) lineage in favour of Inspirational lineage (the magical equivalent of faith, sole fide) or text based self learning (the magical equivalent of scripture, sole scriptura). All well and good, a nice neat little package with the traditionalist, chartered lineage folk being the Roman Catholics, as GH Fr SR implies. However, associating oneself, even in analogy, with Roman Catholicism may  not be  a good thing. It should be remembered that one of the first acts of the current western Pope was an attempt to invalidate all the Protestant churches, insisting they were not representative of the true church and labelling them as ‘congregations’ not churches.

Naturally, the Pontiff’s action produced hurt, dismay, confusion and acrimony both within and universally without the Catholic fold. I doubt any of my readers would support such wholesale attempted invalidation of millions of Christians who just happen to be in the wrong church. All of you would be very happy, I am sure, to accept as truly Christian those who the Pope insists are not really part of the Church and thus do not have have the full franchise. But heck, he has tradition behind him, so he knows what he’s about, even though he would never have met even the tiniest percentage of those who at a stroke of pen he invalidated as being authentically connected with Christ.

I am concerned that the same thing may occur with self labelled ‘traditionalist’ GD magicians writing off ‘reconstructionist’ groups. This may not be the intention of GH Frs SR and LES but from private conversations it sure feels that way to some people. Such is the power of divisive and dualistic thinking; traditionalists (Federation) vs reconstructionists (Borg).

Now of course, I doubt any of us would actually follow El Papa and consciously invalidate another Order in that way. Would we? But, and here’s the clincher, if we insist our approach is the true approach, the only real approach, the best approach or whatever, we automatically invalidate others.

So, I think the analogy of GH Fr SR could be a very useful tool; if we find ourselves beginning to even move towards a consciousness where we can write off an Order or a teacher, then stop and imagine if we were Christians and our Orders were Churches. Would the members of the other Church still be Christians? Would they be authentic Christians? Of course they would. None of us would ‘do a Pope’ in this circumstance, and so should we act in the magical arena and focus on the fact that we are all GD magicians. After all, not being a member of the ‘other Order’, we cannot know what experiences and transformation that group produces for its initiates, what service it offers, what inner plane relationships it helps foster.

The Myth of Tradition

One of the difficulties in defining tradition in the western and esoteric fraternal spheres is that all the traditions we know of have been and are constantly in a state of flux. This includes Freemasonry, the Golden Dawn, visible Rosicrucian orders, modern Neo-pagan traditions and wot all. Even a cursory examination of the history of these groups will show this to be true. The discussions on the various forums regarding the different redactions of the GD ceremonies also show this clearly. In one sense, all traditions are constantly being reconstructed all the time. Look at the introduction of Egyptian funerary texts and the Tattwas into the historical Golden Dawn for example.

The myth of an unchanging tradition with rituals and practices handed down from century to century unchanging, is just that a myth. A wonderful and powerful myth to empower and infuse our magic and our service, but not one that is literally true. All things change. Even if a ritual was performed exactly how it was in 611 ce, the meaning we would draw from it would be different to that of our seventh century brethren. Ancient folk saw the world very differently to how we do. Even a static ritual would change its meaning and effects from generation to generation. This is why most churches needed to change their rituals in the years following WWII – contemporary interaction with them no longer produced the meaning and religious experience it once did. People change, so tradition changes to meet them.

In fact, as is the case with exoteric traditions, language and crafts, the only time an esoteric tradition becomes static is when it reaches a place of self-reflexivity of itself as ‘a tradition’, and then seeks to consciously preserve itself. There can be a certain power and beauty in this. I once had the privilege to be part of some workings by a traditional Gardnerian Wiccan coven which used rituals unaltered from the time of its founding, rituals that were later revised by Gardner. The self conscious concern of the founders of this Coven to preserve their ‘Witch lore’ was such that the rituals and the Shadows received tremendous respect and awe, even though their (co)creator, Gardner, was later unsatisfied with them. The way these Wiccans worked their ‘traditional’ rituals was beautiful, potent and inspiring. It mattered not one wit that the rituals were actually composed in the 1940s and there was no actual ancient ‘witch lore’.

The majority of western traditions however have been, and are, constantly adapting and changing themselves. What then is the ‘tradition’ which is passed on from generation to generation. Much of this is answered in my post on lineage which outlines the various types of non-physical transmissions in the west. For the rest, we can say what is transferred is something beyond the temporal and changeable rituals, actions, lectures, explanations and even symbols. Something atemporal, and real which empowers and gives meaning to these outer forms, something obviously very akin to the Guenon Traditionalist concept of Primordial Tradition.

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki & Christine Hartley

Alan Richardson discovered this very early on in his literary and magical career when he introduced the elderly and venerable Christine Hartley (nee Campbell-Thomson) to the younger Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki. In one of his early books, I forget which (and for a blog I am not looking it up), Richardson describes how he listened in on a conversation between these two formidable women magicians. They immediately warmed to each other, gelled and agreed upon what ceremonial magic could and could not do. This was despite being initiates of different Orders, each with its own different history, Inner Contacts, symbols and initiation rites and the initiations occurring forty years apart from each other. Put simply they share the same tradition. Even more so then must all the Fraters in discussion here, who share the same GD framework and initiatory structure, basic texts and common history. To focus on differences between the ‘traditionalist’ and the ‘reconstructionist’ seems to me to as useful as looking for differences between different orchestras’ production of Mozart’s Great Mass rather than simply being transported and lifted into the eternal by the genius of the composition.

The Holding and Changing of Tradition

If tradition is constantly “reformed over time”, to use a phrase from the excellent blogs of Frater Barrabbas, then we must ask what or whom is doing the reforming, what power or group is holding the tradition as it changes and grows. As mentioned previously, I accept the Traditionalist view that the root of tradition is in the eternal, not the temporal. Thus, in one sense tradition can never be lost, can never die and is constantly being held by the eternal, even when there are no temporal manifestations.  Mr Farrell gives the same message in a recent book review of Tohunga: Hohepa Keropa which is collection of interviews with a New Zealand Maori elder. He quotes from the book,

Each person who takes a leaf of Knowledge opens themselves to receive more knowledge, and so the thing that keeps the [magicians] going in the end is the knowledge that survives, even if it is not past in the way it used to be.  I don’t have any fears that there will not be a single person to carry on what I have learnt, because everyone who is interested will discover all they need to discover.

In response to this, and Mr Farrell’s linkage of this statement with the GD topic under discussion, Frater Barrabbas quite rightly points out that “a shaman or medicine man is completely unlike a modern occultist or practitioner of magick.” He further goes on to opine that:

The reason why Kereopa is not worried about exactly transmitting everything, is that the knowledge is transmitted during initiation, into the subconscious of the initiate.  As long as one teacher can transmit to one student who becomes a teacher, the chain remains unbroken.  At such time that the necessary teachings are needed, they percolate to the surface, in the predetermined ways that tradition teaches.

Personally, I would not like to give any opinion on Kereopa’s thoughts, not having read the book or met the gentleman. What I can say is from conversations with several local Noongar elders, their thoughts seem to echo more Mr Farrell’s interpretation than Frater Barrabbas’. When I would express my concern that much of their tradition is already lost, and the rest in danger of being lost, all replies pointed to one central truth: the land holds the tradition, not the Elders. If ‘lost’ the land will speak again one day to those open to it, and the essential tradition will return. This was in a context where initiations, lineage, teachings, songs etc were openly discussed and shared. The land itself was seen as the repository and source of all tradition, wisdom and life and it would share its secrets with those who walked it and opened themselves to it.

With respect to the western traditions, some people assert they are held by hidden, invisible secret groups of physical masters and high adepts. In the GD context, the Third Order. Any proof for the existence of such a group or third Order is naturally ‘initiatic proof; available only to high initiates. It thus falls outside the scope of this discussion, and really any discussion except among those high initiates who actually know it to be true. It cannot enter the discussion between those who have not met this group and those who have, except as an article of faith, which is alien to the western magical tradition. So really, there is no point in talking publicly about this concept, except in terms of inspirational myth, where it has a valuable function. Naturally I expect the leadership of those Orders that insist they are validated by connection to such a Third Order to disagree with me here. However, since they cannot validate their claims without breaking their oaths we are back to square one: no point in discussing the issue.

Personally, my experience has shown that some western traditions are, like the Noongar, held by the land. Others, including the GD, are held by…something…something beyond temporal understanding or description, and I am not talking about ‘astral masters’ here, though such a concept may be useful for some groups to commune with this something. This ‘something’ can never be lost and is in fact part of the primordial tradition of the Traditionalists. It exists, ‘once upon a time’ and returns anew in each subsequent generation with different outer forms. This is expressed well in the works of WG Gray, RJ Stewart and Gareth Knight.

The GD, like all magical traditions, is but one outer and temporal form or vehicle for this perennial western tradition.When empowered by this larger atemporal tradition, the GD is vital and serves its purpose. When it is not empowered, it becomes nothing but amateur dramatics. In the terms of the current discussion, the question now is are there any differences between GD ‘traditionalist’ connection to the other, the source of all transformation and light, and that of the ‘reconstructionist’?

In order to answer this question, we have to ask what could make a difference? It is surely not techniques or processes, as enough has been published to enable text-based connection to the GD egregore for transformation and service – if one is open to it. And as I have said before, even the most exoteric practices, such as loving our neighbour as our self, are enough to transform us as deeply as any initiation. I know various groups hold, and some claim to hold, bug fucking amazing techniques. These are all fine and dandy and I am blessed to have received many myself, but ultimately there is enough out there already for the sensible magician to use. Most Orders have gone way beyond claiming they alone hold the essential techniques for transformation and even the equivalent cannot be found elsewhere. Though some still claim to have ‘the fastest’ processes…

It may be lineage, though as we have seen in this post, all forms of lineage have pros and cons, and the best form of lineage, chartered, teacher or inspiration is the one where the magician and the Order actively work. All can connect us to a tradition and the sources of blessing behind that tradition.

Maybe the sources behind the traditionalist Orders are different to those of the reconstructionist Orders. This would indeed be a major difference. However, as we have shown, all orders are constantly in a process of reconstruction. The still central point around which a temporal order revolves, which allows it to reform and change, is the same for all Orders. The hidden perennial tradition of the west is open to all, and if we approach it using a GD lens we will have an empowered GD practice. If we approach it using a mystical Christian lens, we will have a mystical Christian practice. There is enough material available for anyone to use a GD lens if they wish, and have the right motivation.

Thus I cannot see the difference myself, and any claims that ‘reconstructionist’ Orders do not connect us as fully as ‘traditionalist’ Orders frankly would be very strange and more like pronouncements from the Pope than any magical leader.


One of the recurring themes in recent posts by GH Fr LES and SR is that of ‘reconstructionist’ attacks on traditionalist Orders and leaders. If this was indeed a concerted and organised effort on behalf of ‘reconstructionist’ leaders it would seriously undermine my contention that distinctions between the two ‘camps’ are more conceptual than actual. However, my personal reading of the situation is simply that a few people have reacted angrily after being pissed off. I mean, given the energy, intelligence and resources of the two “Militant Reconstructionists”, Mr Farrell and Mr Zalewski (as styled by GH Fr SR), if they wanted to mount an attack they could have done a lot better than a few verbal insults.

Really, the comments of Mr Farrell and Mr Zalewski do not, to me, amount to an ‘attack’ on any Order. Then again, I was a member of an Order that was really attacked and had the door broken down during a meeting and temple props stolen by a mob of angry Witches. When my former Imperator worried about being ‘attacked by the Wiccans’ he was talking literally. So, I may have a somewhat unique perspective. 🙂

GH Fr SR writes about a “militant (or ultra-) reconstructionism”, who immediately upon finding a living tradition kills it and reconstructs it according to its own desires and personal needs”

Personally, I find the idea of someone killing a living tradition very strange. How does someone even go about trying to do that? I have not seen any living tradition harmed by anyone, and not too far from my home an expensive refurbishment of a Masonic Hall shows how publication of teachings and rituals (many times over) cannot damage a genuine living tradition.

Even if there are genuine attacks, as I keep saying, I think a Christian inspired Rosicrucian ethos and practice equips us to meet hate with love, compassion and forbearance.


Throughout this post I have shown that when critically examined the conceptual division between ‘traditionalist’ and ‘reconstructionist’ GD magicians begins to break down. Such a division is a result of dualist, ‘us and them’ thinking, the transformation of which is the aim of most depth spiritual traditions. All western traditions are in a constant state of renewal and reformation; none remain static. Each GD Order and manifestation draws from and is held by the eternal perennial tradition, which is the still centre around which the outer changes occur. The publicly available GD material ensures any person with right motivation can enter the tradition to connect with the eternal behind all forms. Finally, authentic traditions are impervious to attacks by individual parties and perceived attacks are often simply personal emotional reactions, which should be countered with the Christian ethic of nonviolence.

As we break down these conceptual barriers that do more to separate us than unite us, we are in a position to enter what may be called deep ecumenicism. From a Christian viewpoint, this is when members of the various Churches see themselves as Christians first and as members of their denomination last. They are thus able to meet with all other Christians as simply Christians. Similarly, we are called to see ourselves as Golden Dawn magicians first  and members of any particular Order last. Thus we can meet, dialogue and befriend all others on the same ground, each a member of one another, and each working to transform ourselves and repair the world. Thanks a bunch 🙂



  1. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Peregrin

    I am dismayed to witness you so diametrically misrepresent my actual, stated positions on so many things, including positions that I clarified as recently as yesterday on the Golden Dawn blog.

    Considering that you are a regular reader, the Golden Dawn community may safely conclude that this misrepresentation is intentional on your part – a fine example of “fraternal” behavior in its own right.

    Such misrepresentation has been part and parcel of the Golden Dawn flame war for decades now – and is one of the things we have grown most weary with from the radical reconstructionists.

    Readers interested in my actual positions rather than the twisted version presented here by Peregrin are invited to read my PREVIOUS article linked to my name above.

    David Griffin

  2. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    The entire point of the Borg analogy is to finally make the Borg-like attacking behavior of the radical reconstructionists conscious to our entire community. As I clearly stated on my PREVIOUS blog:

    “If they would quit trying to assimilate everyone, there is room in the Federation even for the Borg”

    Deliberate misrepresentation – as exemplified in this latest article from you – is just one of the behaviors that we object to. Two decades of such nonsense is enough already.

    Please do not force me to write an entire laundry list of the other behaviors here.

    You are as well aware of them already, as is the entire Golden Dawn community.

    – David Griffin

  3. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    Another thing we object to, as “Borg-like” behavior from radical reconstrucrtionists, is the all to frequent use of fanciful new definitions for traditional concepts in order to recreate the world according to reconstructionist interests.

    As a case in point, Frater Barrabbas is using traditional anthropological definitions of traditionalism and reconstructionism.

    On the other hand, in this article you abandon traditional anthropological meanings, but give these concepts entirely different meanings merely in the interest of twisting meaning to suit your argument.

    This is not “Calvin ball.” You can not make up the rules as you go along.

  4. dirkt · June 5, 2011

    reading the first three comments to peregrins blog post, some words come to mind…

    ‘I sometimes wish in moments of reverie, that Crowley, the O.T.O., Waite and the Golden Dawn would all gently blow away in a cloud and disappear and never be heard from again’.

    I. Regardie

    you know what? i’ve come to understand that.

  5. Samuel · June 5, 2011

    It is a breath of fresh Spring (Fall for those in the Southern Hemisphere) air that is written here.

    Peregrin, I think that you hit the nail on the head! Over the years there has developed an “us verses them” mentality within much of the Golden Dawn community, even to the point of seige mentality on the parts of some more vocal members (either in the GD or outsiders)of the community. This leads automatically to rather harsh statements and actions as one side or the other reacts and counter-reacts. Clearly not something that is positive for the overall Community.

    Is it possible that all the various Golden Dawn groups are practicing the same Tradition? It certain is possible. Are there variations between groups? Absolutely! Are these variations valid, in that they are actually doing the Work. Again, absolutely! Do these various groups have more common ground that not? Perhaps. I say this because I do not know all the groups involved intimately, but I feel that it is more likely than not that they all share more common ground than not.

    I think that the rhetoric, the divisive language, the attitudes projected, in said rhetoric and language is what many are truly tired of. This certainly does not do the overall Community any good. I have watched this drama for many, many years, with the current flavor only being the latest round. I find it interesting that those that wish for “scholarly debate” do not follow the courtesies of academic or scholarly debate on a subject. I have seen people call for an end to “flaming” and “attacking”, but persist to flame and attack.I have seen a call for “fraternity”, but then see the same people be unfraternal to others. Why is this? Is it the manifestation of other deep-seated issues?

    I do not know. What I do know is that by our Words and Actions we are all judged within the Community, and society as a whole.

    Does the Tradition, that is the Golden Dawn itself, that part that guides the overall Current, does that take care of itself? ABSOLUTELY! And the Golden Dawn Tradition will continue to grow and prosper, for it is afterall a living breathing Tradition. If it were not so, then it would have died out in 1900, 1903, the late 1930’s, or 1978, but no, it found a way to perpetuate itself. I wonder how it managed this? But as you point out, there is a flaw to thinking that there is only one true holder of this Tradition or for that matter Link to this Tradition. Again, this sort of thinking creates division and divisiveness, and automatic, “I am Right, therefore all others are Wrong” mentality. Does this outlook truly work?

    Like you, Peregrin, I will likely be tarred and feathered with the “Reconstructionist” label and perhaps attacked, maligned, and anything number of other things for commenting on your blog. That is just fine. Ultimately, I know that I am judged by my Words and Actions, and that I take Responsibility for those Words and Actions. I also know, no let me reiterate, KNOW (and yes this is all caps for emphasis) that my Work within the GD is my own, my connections are my own through my hard work. Nothing that anyone else can say will change this fact! None of these “Adepti” equal my own Higher Self and my connection to the Divine through this Work, therefore their opinions are for naught in this regard.

    Since it is the business of doing the Work that is of paramount import, then let us all get on with that business, doing the Magnum Opus. Be adepti worthy of the title and lead by Words and Actions.

    Just my two centavos worth of opinion.

    In LVX Fraternitas,

  6. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    Regarding your odd allegation of “ad hominum” attacks coming either from the Goiden Dawn blog or tfrom hat of VH Frater SR, I just don’t get it.

    Are you making this up or do simply have no sense of humor?

    On the other hand, we do have both Pat Zalewski and Nick Farrell on record, even as late as last week, writing that those who disagree with them on scholarly grounds to “shove their opinions up their arse.”

    But of course, THIS is not “ad hominum.”

    Pot – meet kettle.

    Or better yet – perhaps the reconstructionists should stop accusing others of for seeing own image in a mirror.

  7. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    I am wondering why the reconstructionists in the Golden Dawn community are taking the term as an insult when, in fact, no insult is intended.

    It is Peregrin that invented the fanciful “traditionalist = good, reconstructionist = bad” definition.

    On the contrary, these are standard anthropological definitions that, when properly understood and applied to the Golden Dawn community, shed important light on the differences between our radically different approaches to the Golden Dawn.

    This can ultimately lead to greater harmony and understanding between the various GD factions. For this to occur, however, we need to understand what these divergent approaches really are. We also need to quit trying to apply inappropriate yardsticks to one another’s approaches.

    What we traditionalists object to is certainly not the reconstructionist approach to the Golden Dawn in itself.

    What we are actually objecting to is the nearly full two decades of Borg-like treatment of traditionalists by the reconstrucionists in our community.

    If we say something is secret, that means it is sacred to us. What we object to most of all is how reconstructionists in our community have over and over taken what is still sacred in the Golden Dawn tradition and profaned it. Of course, when you take a sacred object out of a box and display it to the world, and say “look here”, “this is not so special.” “It is only a historical curiosity”, the mere act of doing this has taken the sacredness out of it, much like Schrödinger’s cat.

  8. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Samuel

    You wrote:
    “I find it interesting that those that wish for “scholarly debate” do not follow the courtesies of academic or scholarly debate on a subject.”

    To what are you referring here, Sam?

    Do you mean the time that Mr. Zalewski or when Mr. Farrell told those who disagreed with them to “stick their ideas up their arse.”

    Clearly these statements rigorously follow all academic and scholarly conventions!

    – David

  9. Arcad · June 5, 2011

    Oh my. It is amazing how people can misread this post and even put you close to, if not amongst those who have nothing better to do but fighting “a” or “the” flame war. Also I would like to hear some more voices of “the” entife GD community since so far the people involved in ths dispute were rather limited regarding their traditional/group origin. Sometimes reading with an open heart and mind without bias, then wait think may be helpful. I agree about the us versus them mentality. At least this is how it looks for someone reading teh various blogs and forum posts. With that I am not saying that everyone on purpose takes this mentality but to me it seems as if some people are just cought into a way of thinking feeling a constantg need to defend where they are in fact not really attacked.

    What you mention in your 4th reply David regarding what Nick and Pat said is not without context. Their reactions may have been harsh and the wording overdrawn (is that correct said?) but the whole previous discussion also from your side was not using flowery wording (I know I made that up). Thus, also they may have felt attacked, just like you (by you I mean also your Order and its representatives). And I do say this with all the respect I do have for everyone involved.

    I believe that this post, read with a well meaning mind and correctely understood could take out some steam of teh whole thing.

  10. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Peregrin. You wrote:

    “The myth of an unchanging tradition with rituals and practices handed down from century to century unchanging, is just that a myth.”

    This is yet another subtle misrepresentation. You and I have been all over this regarding Pagan survival on numerous occasions already. No one has ever claimed that there is an exactly intact – never been changed – system.

    What I have said, over and over, however, is that there exists at least one Ariadne’s thread – The Great Rite – that you can trace throughout the entire history that reaches back even to what we had only had dared dream of before – the early Paleolithic.

  11. dirkt · June 5, 2011


    you wanna glass of hot milk or something? or shall i call bones, to give you a hypospray?

  12. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Peregrin You write:

    “faith… is alien to the western magical tradition.”

    No idea where you got this from, but I could not disagree with you more, and not only for traditionalists.

    Indeed important articles of faith of reconstructionists, for examples, are the faith that the tradition is “dead” and thus an object of historical curiosity to be reconstructed, the faith in academia as a valid means of said reconstuction, as well the faith that everything that can be known we are entitled to know, whether or not we have done the work to deserve it.

    Sadly, many reconstructionists also share the faith that they are free to redefine the traditional meaning of Golden Dawn oaths as suits their interests at any given moment.

  13. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Dirk,


    Actually, Peregrin deserves an oscar for this article.

    And the 2011 winner is …

    MOTO – for the most debate topics crammed into a single article as though established truths.

  14. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Archad

    You write:

    “I believe that this post, read with a well meaning mind and correctely understood could take out some steam of teh whole thing.”

    I fully agree with you. I also believe that Peregrin intended this as well, but the devil on his shoulder got the better of him once or twice, getting pitch fork jabs in.

    Again, I reiterate that “by learning to better understand the divergent approaches to the Golden Dawn, and learning to apply the more appropriate yardstick to one another will ultimately result in greater harmony and understanding.”

    However, the fact remains there have been certain destructive behaviors from certain reconstructionists that have gone on far too long. Take, for example, Mr. Zalewski’s years long attack on the reputation of Desmond Bourke on his Yahoo group, merely because Bourke is one, minor line of transmission of the various Hermetic, Rosicrucian, and GD lineages our order holds. Take, for example, the alleged letter from Bourke that

    Then there was Zalewksi’s misrepresenting the letter he alleged to have had from Bourke for years. It was only when cornered into publishing its content that Pat’s true game finally became apparent.

    Today, a sly Mr. Farrell will surely that publishing AO rituals, attacking Mathers and the AO were not the same sort of Borg-like attacks on our order, but the other examples that went on ad-nauseum for years on Pat’s Yahoo group is proof enough of what these Yahoo’s have been up to for far too long already.

    Hopefully, the metaphor of the Borg will be enough to end this nonsense once and for all now, by exposing their game, so that we can all get on with the Great Work instead.

    The United Federation of Planets is a wonderful model that can establish true harmony, once and for all, in the Golden Dawn community.

    It will require mutual tolerance and understanding on a from all sides, however. The Klingons already set a precedent, showing room even for the Borg in the Federation, but not if they keep trying to assimilate others.

    Let us hope that this will be the end of all of this. Between the Golden Dawn, The Great Rite, and l’Arte Eccelsa (The Ecstatic Art), I certainly have many better things to do!

    David Griffin

  15. Peregrin · June 5, 2011

    @Dirk, yes I can understand this 🙂

    However, I still am in love and have great respect for this tradition. I have stopped commenting on most of the silliness out there. Sometimes though I am moved to comment in the hope my thoughts could inspire some greater understanding of each other and the wonderful blessings the GD offers 🙂

  16. Peregrin · June 5, 2011


    wonderful words…thank you for these comments which add to my post 🙂

    Naturally, there were parts of my writing I edited. I think you hit the nail on the head when you write, “there is a flaw to thinking that there is only one true holder of this Tradition or for that matter Link to this Tradition”

    I suspect, from my dealings with the Sydney Order and contact with certain London adepts, this to be very true, even if we accept that Chartered Lineage is the only way to go (which I don’t)

    thanks 🙂

  17. Peregrin · June 5, 2011

    Care Fr Arcad,

    thank you for the comment and your insights.

    I suspect, and hope, that we do not hear more voices of the GD community on this issue, because they have better things to do. I should really do likewise, but sometimes I do worry when I see things that cause division not unity.

    Anyway, off to to something more useful… Mass 🙂

  18. Samuel · June 5, 2011

    @ Peregrin,

    Thanks. I had to edit my comment a couple times too.

    I have had very similar experiences with the Gders that I have met and dealt with in various locales.

    I would be wonderful to see more GDers respond and share their points of view on this important topic of discussion. Hopefully some people will read and reply.

    In LVX,

  19. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Peregrin

    “there is a flaw to thinking that there is only one true holder of this Tradition or for that matter Link to this Tradition”

    For the record, the HOGD/AO has never argued that we are the one true holder of any tradition.

    Our critics, however, have misattributed this position to our order over and over for nearly two decades now.

    It is long overdue for all misrepresentation of one another to end once and for all in the Golden Dawn community.

  20. Angelo Celine · June 5, 2011

    Sometimes it seems David Griffin has a few bricks short of a load.

    The author f this blog just quoted the phrase

    there is a flaw to thinking that there is only one true holder of this Tradition or for that matter Link to this Tradition”

    besides, he has forgotton his own words –

    “Our order, the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, is the only remaining direct lineal descendent of the original H.O.G.D.”

    our order page on his website,

    Maybe this order has a new meaning for the word “ONLY”?

    Pull your head in David Griffin!

  21. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Angelo Celine

    I was aware that Peregrin had not made the original statement.

    Our order has been attacked with misrepresentation for nearly two decades. I merely pointed out yet another example of this.

    The statement that you quote regarding lineage is accurate. I do not apologize for our order stating the facts regarding lineage plainly.

    It is important that the public know the facts regarding the differences between Golden Dawn orders, so that they can find what they are looking for. Someone looking for a reconstructionist order, for example, would be ill suited for the HOGD/AO.

    Our statement of facts of differentiation, however, does not mean that we claim to be the ONE TRUE ORDER, however. In misstating this, you have merely added your voice to the reconstructionist choir of misrepresentation.

    In reality, we have stated over and over that we value the diversity in the Golden Dawn community. For example, Golden Dawn order like the OSOGD. Thelemites interested in the GD are likely best off in the OSOGD, which is a Thelemic Golden Dawn order.

    Those interested in Pat Zalewksi’s innovations, are better of in his order.

  22. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ Angelo Celine (continued)

    The time has come for the misrepresentation to end – once and for all.

    As I stated on the Golden Dawn blog earlier this week:

    “As long as they quit trying to assimilate others,
    there is plenty of room in the Federation even for the Borg.”

    I repeat again, it is not reconstructionism itself we object to. There is plenty of room in our GD community for innovation.

    It is the Borg-like behavior of certain reconstructionists that has gone on now for years that we object to, including the misrepresentation and other more subtle attacks on our order.

    We have objected to these things already, including the ongoing misrepresentation, until we are blue in the face for years.

    Enough is enough already.

    Hopefully, with the Borg metaphor, the reconsturctionists will finally get it and will once and for all end their Borg-like behavior – and will instead begin to behave like good citizens of the Federation.

    Diversity is a good thing. Trying so assimilate others by attacking them merely because they are different than oneself (traditionalists in our case) is NOT a good thing.

  23. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    BTW, Peregrin, there is no other way to evaluate as anything other than an “ad hominum” attack statements like:

    “Sometimes it seems David Griffin has a few bricks short of a load.”

    Your permitting this discussion on MOTO to degenerate to this level is a clear indication of actual defamatory intent in your publishing this article, despite its thin veneer of feigned objectivity.

  24. Samuel · June 5, 2011

    @ Angelo Celine

    My comment here is not meant as criticism in a negative light, but rather to be constructive. If anything I may say offends, I apologize in advance.

    There really is no need to make enflamatory statements about someone, or statements that can and will be taken as offensive. Mr. Griffin’s comments here on this blog and elsewhere speak for themselves.

    It is certainly not fraternal and leads to further noise which does nothing to help the Community as a whole.

    As Disraeli stated once, “How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” This applies particularly well here, and on many levels.

    Let us not stoop to the level of “ad hominem” attacks, but rather let us take the higher road – the road less taken too often in these sorts of debates. Let us state our points with fact and reasoned discussion. If fact and reason cause people to stoop to a lower form of communication, which include derogatory and enflamatory comments, then it shows the caliber of those individuals.

    In LVX Fraternitas,

  25. John Williams · June 5, 2011

    One of the aspects of this debate is that people make the mistake of quoting Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewski’s comments as they have been interpreted by David Griffin. His approach is to show comments from others in the light of his own paranoia. After months of slagging off Farrell’s book on his own blog in long and rambling posts, which all used reconstructionalist as a swear word, Farrell finally said that he was not going to pay them attention. You will be hard pressed to see any “attacks” from Nick Farrell anywhere on the Internet, yet you will find reams of attacking posts and artwork from Griffin and his cronies. Looking at SR’s so called scholarly posts objectively, they are based on the theme “Farrell is all wrong…. I have no evidence… but trust me… oh he is a reconstructionalist and smells of wee”. Farrell’s approach is of a magical tradition within the Golden Dawn, Griffin does not appear to believe in magic or god (find a reference to either in his blog). What Griffin and his sock puppets do not realise that if they want to be taken seriously they should not be attacking people all the time (do you realise how much time it takes to make a photoshopped picture like that). All I can assume is that they need attention so badly that they pick fights with their betters to get it.

  26. Peregrin · June 5, 2011

    Hey guys (always the guys, never the girls!) –

    I disabled comment moderation a while back to avoid being falsely accused of blocking comments. I can easily turn it back on.

    Please let’s keep it civil and not respond to attacks with attacks, or get personal.

    Let’s critique ideas, not people – and remember we are not our ideas, we are not our comments, we are not our blog. ‘We’ are never attacked when our creations are criticized.

    Thanks. 🙂

  27. Mary Fargo · June 5, 2011

    Do you Golden Dawn jesters have nothing better to do than call each other names on the internet?
    In my book Griffin, Peregrin and the rest of the Golden Dawn leaders are all clowns cut from the same cloth.
    Your flame wars are repulsive. You all ought to all be ashamed of yourselves and your endless ego battles. Spiritual tradition, indeed! What a mockery you all have made of the Golden Dawn.

  28. Peregrin · June 5, 2011

    Hi Margo,

    nice to hear your point of view 🙂

    Just a bit of defensive explanation. I do not consider my critiques of ideas anywhere on the net as flaming; I have never personally attacked any one or any order.

    And just to clarify, I am not a public Golden Dawn leader. All my western memberships apart from Tikkun and the Anglican Church are private.

    Have a lovely day 🙂

  29. Mary Fargo · June 5, 2011

    John Williams, I am not excusing Griffin, but I just went to Pat Zalewksi’s Yahoo group, searched the archives a bit, and found a whole slug of posts there by Zalewski, Farrell, “Samuel” and others attacking Griffin, Desmond Bourke, “SR”, and others in the same sort of “blame the other guy” tone like here and now on this blog. None of the sack of these rotten apple Golden Dawn leaders are worth anything. Like I said before, these Golden Dawn clowns are all cut from the same worthless cloth.

  30. F.S. · June 5, 2011

    A point David makes when calling Nick, and Pat re-constructionist’s is their publishing of GD material. I find this to be truly confusing, as I remember on one of his blogs earlier this year when his Secret Chief(Not sure if this is what he really was, but this is the way it came across) called Master RC posted some comment about published occult material being “Dead Words on Dead Wood”. If this is truly the case then why does David care about these dead words? Perhaps he just likes holding onto paper based claims of legitimacy, and secrecy? If so I can respect his hobby, but using this as a base line to create a definition of reconstruction is a bit errmm odd?

    Also I am glad I am not the only one who finds a 6-10 hour Photoshop job designed to make some people look like evil aliens from StarTreck a bit weird. I mean what is this, high-school? Come now David deforming the face/body of a supposed fraternal brother is a bit wonky? Or perhaps you don’t stick to this idea of fraternity in the same way others do?

  31. Mary Fargo · June 5, 2011

    Peregrin, you are just as guilty as all of the others. You flamed in the blog and are allowing the flame war full of personal attacks to go on here. Please drop the “poor me” baloney and stop your silly flame war instead of trying to play innocent.

  32. Peregrin · June 5, 2011

    Gee, you go elsewhere in cyber-land for a bit and before you know it, more offensive comments.

    Moderation has now been re-enabled. *sigh* you may have to wait for any future comments to come through now…have a ton of other stuff and emails to do. Poor me 🙂

  33. David Griffin · June 5, 2011

    @ F.S.

    I have made clear over and over, including prior to Peregrin writing this article, that the reason for the Photoshopped Borg image serves to raise consciousness surrounding Borg-like behavior from certain people in our community towards the traditionalists in our community.

    Judging from the pathos, accusations, and misrepresentations in this article and ensuing discussion, we seem perhaps to have finally gotten our point across. 🙂

    You are clearly confused by Peregrin’s newly invented definition of reconstructionism contained in this blog.

    I will write an article soon setting forth the actual anthropological definitions once again in clarification in the near future.

    I repeat yet once again that by better understanding the actual meanings of our divergent anthropological approaches to the Golden Dawn, we can actually build deeper and lasting harmony in our community. It is not a question of one approach being better than the other. It is a question of misunderstandings that arise by not fully understanding the methodology employed by the divergent approaches, or by applying yardsticks inappropriate for one approach or another.

    The Pagan community has been living quite well with reconstrucionists, traditionalists, etc. living side by side in harmony for some time. It is time for the GD community to take a page from the Pagans in this regard.

    – David Griffin

  34. Stephen Winstanley · June 5, 2011

    I am confused about this use of the word “traditionalist” and “reconstructionalist”. If Mr Griffin is a traditionalist you would expect that he used the system the way that the original Golden Dawn (or AO) did.
    However he has made a great deal on the Internet about how he has placed the second order teachings in the outer order. Further, the golden dawn was secret about its rituals, Mathers, I believe, went to court to try to stop Crowley publishing them. Yet Mr Griffin has actually posted film of his group performing them. Lately Mr Griffin has announced that he is putting something like the great rite within the Order. He also runs a correspondence course which is also something that Mathers appeared not to do.
    All these things Mr Griffin is fully entitled to do as the head of his order. But I would have thought that it automatically means he loses his traditionalist badge. Maybe in attacking other groups, he is simply projecting his own image onto them. He seems to think that when he reconstructs it is traditional when others do the same thing they are satan.

  35. F.S. · June 5, 2011

    David you wrote “I will write an article soon setting forth the actual anthropological definitions once again in clarification in the near future.” I think this would be a great idea and I am looking forward to reading it.

    I will rephrase the first paragraph of my previous post in a way that might better convey what I was asking. David your Master RC said that it is better to have direct personal lineage from master to student using the “Dead words on dead wood”. However you seem to not be in total agreement with Master RC, when you deny Nick and Pat’s affiliation with Whare RA even though their is evidence of a master to student situation there, and instead put focus on their posting of “Sacred Texts” as being a-typical of a re-constructionist, when your own traditional master seems to state otherwise.

    If this is a mis-representation then please forgive me. I enjoy putting my foot in my mouth. However could you please clear this up also, I believe it would help others understand more about this situation.

  36. Arcad · June 5, 2011

    Why actually do we only have to take an anthropological approach when looking at the definitions regarding traditionalist and reconstructionalist? These blogs and posts are read by non anthropologists. There is a common understanding of specific terms which may differ from how they are defined in their respective specialized fields of academia. Thus, Peregrin’s definitons are matching the understanding of the terms as a lot of people would see them. And apart from that, one can indeed get the impression, however you define the terms, that they were used in a “good vs. bad” sense. Apart from that I believe that someone can “revive” or if you want re-construct a tradition trying to stick to its initial rituals and meanings. Would this person now be a reconstructionalist or a traditionalist?

  37. Arcad · June 5, 2011

    oh, to make that clear, the question at the end of my last comment was a general one.

  38. Samuel · June 6, 2011

    @ Arcad

    I think you use a valid point in the use in definiting specific terms, like “Reconstructionist” and “Traditionist”. While someone is going to post a blog further definiting these terms, which I think is a good idea, even if they are from an Anthropological point of view, I would also hope that the specific source of these definitions will be posted as well. It is only proper so that others can double check the “fact” of these definitions, rather than they being filtered through a party’s own agendas and understandings. Merely accepting someone’s word on a subject without doing your own research is usually asking for problem, which is something that on the whole should be avoided, in my opinion.

    And of course, I would presume that there is even some divergent understandings of these particular terms even within the Anthropological community, which of course calls into light how well accepted such definitions are accepted within that academic field of study.

    Likewise I look forward to seeing this blog with the appropriate definitions elucidated.

    In LVX,

  39. David Griffin · June 6, 2011

    I would strongly suggest that we start again at the beginning.

    This flame fest attacking HOGD/AO and myself here on MOTO originated in this manner:

    1. Nick Farrell wrote a book publishing the rituals of the Alpha et Omega, fully aware that many people in the Alpha et Omega would take this as a provocation and an attack.

    2. GH Frater SR wrote a thorough, scholarly review of Mr. Farrell’s book, refuting his arguments point by point.

    3. Instead of engaging in scholarly debate, Mr. Farrell instead wrote:

    “Sure you can attack the theories in my books, (although one so called scholarly critique was packed full of so much magical ignorance, and logical holes, I could not even begin to reply to it). However, when it is about something I saw, I have decided that you can stick your theories up your arse.”

    4. In response, both GH Frater SR and I pointed out, that in responding with this “ad hominum” attack, instead of responding to the ideas contained in SR’s thorough review and debating them on their scholarly merits, THAT MR. FARRELL IS BEHAVING LIKE A BORG.

    5. If GH Frater SR’s critique of Mr. Farrell’s theses are full of logical holes, then let Mr. Farrell refute them line by line like a sholar, instead of Peregrin merely publishing misrepresentations that further escalate the flame fest begun with Mr. Farrell’s above cited “ad hominum” attack on GH Frater SR.

    Once the scholarly points originally raised by GH Frater SR have been addressed with the dignity they are due, we can discuss other matters as well. Let us, however, not loose sight of what TRULY is happening here and the chronology of events that have led to the present situation.

    David Griffin

  40. David Griffin · June 6, 2011

    I also request that all persons that would like use their real names, and link back to their real websites. There are a number of people asking questions with a hostile tone and making “ad hominum” remarks that no one has ever heard of before.

    There are clearly a number of anonymous defamation trolls already using defamation in the present discussion.

    Such behavior has been part and parcel of Golden Dawn flame war for decades. We all know where this leads.

    – David Griffin (the REAL one)

  41. David Griffin · June 6, 2011

    Enough is enough already. I just published a formal response to this nonsense on the Golden Dawn blog:

  42. Bob Locksley · June 6, 2011

    “Such a distinction is basic fraternal and academic courtesy, and frankly I am at a loss to understand why it is not shown by Adepts as advanced as Magister Templi.”

    I think the answer to your puzzlement is self-evident. To reverse the common expression, if something doesn’t waddle like a duck or quack like a duck, it’s not a duck.

    Perhaps Captain Kirk really is Captain Dunsel.

  43. Peregrin · June 6, 2011

    I echo the call for use of real names, and real email addresses.

    I will not be going back and doing a Stalinist purge, but now will not let through any comment I cannot verify.

    I you are going to use a false identity, at least spend some time creating it on the Internet 🙂

  44. MvdV · June 6, 2011

    In the end… it’s the internet… I suggest we all turn off our PC’s, mobile devices, apples, palm readers and go do some real work.
    I’m going to play duckies with my daughter and then do a ceremonies around the change to Winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, I would suggest a game of duckies would help everyone calm down a little…

  45. Soror FSO · June 6, 2011


    Cheers to you for keep’n it classy, informative, and scholarly ( I feel like I say that a lot in responses to your blogs 🙂 )

    I most certainly loved your point that the Tradition is that which brings to union with the source…and of which there are many paths.

    Mr. Griffin,

    You are a passionate man, and a driven one, and as we have recently seen someone with a great sense of humor. But, at times your blogs come off as slightly abrasive, and although you may feel that your blogs are based in the purest of scholarly debate, this is not the impression that is always given to those of us who read it.

    You have to remember an important lesson about humor, there is an art in wielding it. Humor should be like a sharp knife, coming out of nowhere, surprising the reader or listener, hitting them hard in the gut with uncontrollable laughs…it can lose its glamor when wielded like a sawed-off shot gun and instead in some cases be interpreted as insults or attacks. For example, many of these jokes began as a way to call out Robert…funny indeed. But when you start using the same material to call out others than you are essentially saying they fall into the same category…not so funny anymore.

    If a joke is made at a person’s expense here or there that is cute and funny…but what you have been doing recently is dragging a good deal of respected leaders and teachers, as well as their scholarly research and hard-work through the mud. On top of this you have to remember that a lot of these people have a great deal of public support and respect, such as Nick Farell, and Sir Peregrin, which they have earned through hard-work. They do not sit on the laurels of others and thus their work and opinions whether you are agree with it or not, should be debated with respect.

    In Light,
    Soror FSO

  46. F.S.(David Hewitt) · June 6, 2011

    F.S. == David Hewitt. I use F.S. which means nothing other than the first keys I pressed a long time ago when generating a name as it saves the confusion of having two David’s. I would link to my blog but I removed it as I had no time for regular updates due to uni and to be frank it was poorly written, melodramatic and boring.

    I suggest a read of this <a href = "; wiki link to flame war definition to figure out what a flame war really is.

    Also who cares who/what started an argument. What matters is who/what ends it. Perhaps David you should stop posting “humorous” depictions of others, and negative referrals to their creations (frankenstine orders? really?)(as this seems to fan the flame also) and perhaps those offended by the pictures(myself included) should just humbly admit those pictures were quite cool and be a little jealous that we all didn’t have our own face on one of them, though it certainly did seem to me to be an act of social engineering.

    Thus instead of trying to control the situation, and engineer it, we take a page from our magical practice and put in place the most sublime magical transformation secret, surrender. Surrender attempts at control, surrender the anger, surrender the distinction, surrender the hurt and let it be. Sacrifice our selves first eh? Before we point our fingers and burn the others.

  47. Samuel · June 6, 2011

    To address a post or two back about “scholarly courtesies”. The point is that ALL parties should use these courtesies. Period.

    As Peregrin and others have pointed out, it would appear that people respond in kind to the way they are treated. Perhaps you have heard of this… something about the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    If a person is maligned, then how do you expect them to react? If they feel attacked, what will be their reaction? If people feel attacked they lash out! Like begets like as it were.

    In LVX,

  48. Peregrin · June 6, 2011

    Hi, just very quickly (it’s a lovely day outside),

    @MvdV, one of the best pieces of spiritual advice in years! Thanks.

    @Soror FSO, thanks for the kind comments, and wise words to everyone. You are a very stable and solid force in all this 🙂

    @Fr FS – Sorry, I did not mean people had to put up street names, only real identities (eg. Sr FSO, I know is real). Anyone who I do not know and is voicing a strong opinion, I may simple email to confirm they exist. One of the commentators here does not have a valid email address and I suspect they are not real (in the flesh and blood, single identity sense, they may be an alter ego…apologies to any DID sufferers).

    Great advice, Fr FS, and thanks for link to definition and explanation of a flame war 🙂

    @Samuel – i understand and agree with what you say here. Personally, though I think as people in Rosicrucian inspired traditions we need to consciously not react and retaliate, even if we are attacked. I really, truly believe this. My work with survivors of torture and refugees, all my spiritual traditions and greatest inspirations teach me this.

    I am please to report that GH Fr LES (as Lupercus of the Great Rite) this morning requested Facebook friendship, which I accepted in a spirit of Fraternity. I can see no reason why differences in ideas should cause any ill feeling between people of the same tradition 🙂

  49. Samuel · June 6, 2011

    @ Peregrin,

    I absolutely agree with you that as Rosicrucians we should not react in a knee-jerk manner. That we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Which is the point of my previous post.

    Human nature is human nature after all. WE are all still Human, no matter how much we strive to be more than. There comes a breaking point for each of us, when we loose that veneer of being more than Human.

    There also comes a point, even when we are treating such situations with Mercy, that Severity are called for. Too much of either is Unbalance. As the saying goes, all that is needed for evil to florish is for Good Men to do nothing. The same can be said of Injustice, in my opinion.

    Ultimately, Truth, Reason, and Compassion should win the day. All these should be done in a Balanced manner. After all, are we not, from the very beginning as being Neophytes in the Golden Dawn Tradition told to always seek the Middle Pillar in all things – to follow the Balanced Path?

    In LVX,

  50. Arcad · June 7, 2011

    @Soror FSO you so wrote what was going around in my head today. Well phrased. Sometimes it is good to stop, step out of the own view and look at oneself from a distance. I mean if so many people are confused/concerned about the content of my post, I would first look at my post and trying to figure what it is that causes th econfusion or oposition. Shouting “Flame War” whenever an oposing, maybe even a strong opinion is expressed is not helpful. Specifically if we are talking about people like Peregrin, who, in my view, always keep a faternal tone within any discussion.
    Also with teh use of teh star treck pics I had teh same feeling. In teh past, those were used to picture “enemies” or at least bad guys. If then Nick and also Pat are identifed as Borg, one of the main and serious enemies of teh Federation, well then this at least comes over as beyond joking but putting them in the same corner. The comments of Nick David is mentioning above and on his Blog may then still be a bit hars but taking teh entire context into considderation, they do not come out of the blue just like that. If one does not like a book, that’s ok. Critizise it, rip it in pieces but maintain a fraternal tone. The use of teh terms mentioned did not always come over as the objective use of accademic terms – whatever the real intention may have been. My advise is, before calling out a flame war and call for mobilization, shift into a lower gear and contemplate what may have caused this on/by (?) one self’s account.

    In L.V.X

  51. Soror FSO · June 7, 2011

    After re-reading my post from last night I just wanted to clarify something as I believe I did not make my point in the manner I intended. I don’t want my point to be based on a readers assumption that you (Mr. Griffin) were essentially saying that people such as Nick and Peregrin were being given the same amount of respect that you have given RZ/.

    Instead what I meant to convey was that jokes made sparingly are funny but when wielded like a weapon will not bear the fruits that you desire. Everyone deserves to be debated properly in contex with evidence and logic whether we like them or not. If we have issues with their research then they should be answered with proper supporting evidence and logic. If someone’s personality is up for question (which should only be brought up in severe cases where a detriment to the well-being of people is a factor), then we should refrain from personal slander and state the facts, leave it at that, and let people make their own conclusions.

    We have to remember that as magicians we are esoteric scientists and we have a duty not only to uphold our integrity and the integrity of the community but also the integrity of the Spirit…especially the latter. On top of this as bloggers and Adepti we have to be aware of the impression we are giving to others about what our Tradition is.

    Take a step back, if you had no idea what the Golden Dawn was, would your blog, website, teachings, saying etc. be a good representative of what you would want conveyed to you? Would they lead you to believe that this was a holy and beneficial path to your personal growth? I struggle with this daily. I want to be able to express myself, my humor, my likes and dislikes on my blog and yet at the same time I have to remember that people come into contact with it and get an impression of what being a Rosicrucian and a member of the Golden Dawn is…I only hope one day to better be able to balance the two, as I am sure some of my gross spiritual inadequacies come through from time to time.

    Soror FSO

  52. David Griffin · June 7, 2011

    Care et VH Frater FSO,

    Your thoughtful letters deserve a proper response. I am drafting one and will post it on the Golden Dawn blog. Until then, here is just one ESSENTIAL point.

    You wrote:

    “what I meant to convey was that jokes made sparingly are funny but when wielded like a weapon will not bear the fruits that you desire. Everyone deserves to be debated properly in contex with evidence and logic whether we like them or not. If we have issues with their research then they should be answered with proper supporting evidence and logic.”

    First off, I have no problem at all with Peregrin. He flamed me this weekend and I exposed it.

    Nonetheless, I send him a friendshp request and he accepted it. He and I are off to a good new beginning.

    I totally AGREE with you in what you write, but you are STILL not GETTING IT about Fratres Farrell and Zalewski

    1. It is NICK FARRELL and PAT ZALEWSKI who are refusing scholarly debate and using “ad hominums” instead, not SR or I.

    2. Nick id the one who wrote a book publishing the AO’s rituals and attacking both the AO and Mathers in the same breath and who is refusing even to academically defend his wierd theories masquerading as historical facts.

    3. GH Frater SR DID write a scholarly rebuttal.

    4. Instead of replying in a scholarly manner, Farrell instead told SR “to stick his ideas up his arse.”

    5. If Farrell wants to be respected as a scholar, then he needs to defend his arguments according to the accepted rule of academia and scholarly courtesy.

    6. Farrell’s refusal to do so, but instead resorting to “ad hominum” attack on SR, reinforced what many people already believed about Farrell’s book, namely that it was intended as an attack on our order all along.

    7. As long as Monssieurs Farrell and Zalewski continue to behave in a manner hostile to our order, I will continue to use humor to make the entire community aware of the Borg-like game they are playing.

    8. I certainly do not need any “peer” recognition from either Zalkewski or Farrell as they have insultingly alleged in the past. I could care less about them as long as they quit attacking our order. i will, however, not stand back and watch them attack on of our finest Adepts like they did SR.

    As I said before, if they drop the Borg-like behavior, I will welcome them as brothers.

    It they want to start acting like scholars and debate their ideas according to normal rules and courtesies of academia, SR and I will meet their challenge any time.

    But enough is enough with their “ad hominum” and yellow journalistic attacks.

    LeS (David Griffin)

  53. Samuel · June 7, 2011

    @ Soror FSO,

    I like your use of logic here. Great points in your posts, particularly the latest.

    It is certainly difficult to maintain a “public face” in regards to being a Rosicrucian and GDer, so that the public gets the correct impression of what that means.

    To often, we in the GD community, have been treated to those claiming high grades and titles, and even claiming to be Rosicrucians, but their Words and Actions have not portrayed the behavior that should accompany those high grades or titles, and most importantly the name of Rosicrucian.

    This sort of behavior only makes it more difficult for those within the Tradition that are doing the Work to teach and share the Tradition properly with those that are sincere seeker for the Hidden Wisdom.

    All that we can do is lead by example. As I have said previously, I shall reiterate here, we are judged by our Words and Actions. Let those Words and Actions be those of someone worthy of the grades and titles, and especially the name Rosicrucian.

    Be that shining beacon for those sincere seekers and show them what it means to be a Frater or Soror.

    In LVX,

  54. David Griffin · June 7, 2011

    @ VH Frater Peregrin and VH Soror FSO

    In my last article on the Golden Dawn blog, I chose a particular strip from Calvin and Hobbes, because it says something so important about reconstructionists and traditionalists….

    … and how we can learn to better relate to one another.

    We traditionalists need to learn tolerance of how our reconstructionists’ love of everything bigger, better, and more precisely researched, whereas they need to learn to appreciate how we would rather just bask in the sun of our tradition.

    Please do see the strip. It gives our community much needed guidance about mutual tolerance, understanding, and with time – acceptance.

    David Griffin

  55. Fr. IOV · June 7, 2011


    I find this discussion rather interesting.

    I must admit that I am confused about one thing. Can somebody be so kind and explain to me the difference between “reconstructionist” and “traditionalists”?

    How would that align to the GD system and what are the differences in respect to teachings of the GD?


  56. Peregrin · June 7, 2011

    Care Fr IOV,

    as I’ve outlined it here, there is little difference between these two approaches. In fact, I find the defining of the two as problematic and it better to focus on the GD tradition as a whole, unifying principle.

    GH Frs SR and LES have their own opinions – look at the links in the first paragraph.

    Thanks 🙂

  57. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    Care Frater IOV,

    Reconstructionists gather evidence regarding essentially dead tradtions and attempt to reconstruct and revivify them using the best available academic evidence. One fine example of excellent reconstruction has been carried out by Greek Pagans. In the Golden Dawn, the issue is rather contentious, because unlike the Greek Pagan tradition, it remains in dispute whether or not the Golden Dawn is a dead tradition. Both Nick Farrell and Pat Zalewski hold the view that the Golden Dawn dies when Whare Ra closed its doors, putting them firmly in the reconstructionist camp.

    Traditionalists like myself, however, argue that the Golden Dawn never died, but only became invisible when the outer temples closed, as the source from which the Golden Dawn emanated, the Third Order (physical not astral), has always continued to operate in secret until today.

    Conflict arises because the reconstructionists feel threatened by the existence of the Third Order and attempt to disprove its existence. Like good reconstructionists, they demand academic proof, which is a completely inappropriate yardstick according to traditionalist standards, which correctly cites oath bound material in reply.

    The impas can only be overcome by both camps recognizing one another’s rite to exist. As a traditionalist, I have no problem in accepting the right of reconstructinist GD orders to exist. If only they would leave traditionalists alone in the same way!

    The present problems our community is experiencing have arisen following Nick Farrell, a reconstructionist, recently publishing a book including AO rituals and attempting to prove that the Alpha et Omega is a dead order founded by someone whom he considers a madman (S.L. MacGregor Mathers). We hold that are rituals are sacred and should not have been published. We hold that ours is a living order and object to Farrell arguing it is dead and even attempting to kill it.

    On these two links you will find a thorough discussion of the subject of reconstructioinism and traditionalism.

  58. JosephMax · June 8, 2011

    @David Griffin: “Thelemites interested in the GD are likely best off in the OSOGD, which is a Thelemic Golden Dawn order.”

    Of late I tend to stay away from all the strum and drang, except to correct misconceptions that may arise regarding the OSOGD.

    We are not a “Thelemic Golden Dawn”. Neither are we a Jewish Golden Dawn, a Christian Golden Dawn, an Egyptian Golden Dawn, a Buddhist Golden Dawn, or a Hindu Golden Dawn, though forms and symbols from all those paths find their way into our Work. We do have Thelemites in our Order, and we also have Wiccans, Heathens and various flavors of Pagans, Buddhists, Taoists, Jews, Christians, Humanists and even Atheists in our Order. All are welcome. We are an *open source* Golden Dawn.

    Anyone interested is encouraged to visit our webpage ( and address any questions to the Cancellarius (

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled sci-fi convention. Carry on…

  59. Samuel · June 8, 2011

    @ David Griffin,

    Please correct me if i am wrong or misunderstand your most recent post here in regards to “Reconstructionists” and “Traditionists”. You state that the “Reconstructionists” demand academic proof in their arguments. Is that correct? And that the “Traditionists”, such as yourself and Mr. Stacewicz find that an “inappropriate yardstick”.

    If then this is the case, Mr. Griffin, then praytell, how Mr. Stacewicz and yourself are going to conduct a “scholarly debate” with Mr. Zalewski and Mr. Farrell, which you have been banging on about here and other places? Does not “scholarly” imply the use of a certain “academic yardstick” wherein source are cited, primary data given, etc., etc.? If this primary material is “oathboung” to the “traditionists” how is it possible to carry on a debate with them?

    For that matter, why would a so-called “Traditionist” wish to debate with a “Reconstructionist”, obviously neither is going to accept the other’s “proof”, citations, etc.?

    Additionally, you recent post here goes on about what a “Reconstructionist” is, but I seem to be missing just what is your definition of what a “Traditionist” is?

    Looking forward to your most elucidating answer to this and other burning questions.

    In LVX,

  60. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ Joseph Max

    Thanks for the correction, Joe.

    I was, however, not referring to Thelema as a religion. Would it be more appropriate to describe OSOGD then as a “Golden Dawn order that has embraced the New Aeon of Horus replacing Osiris as proclaimed by Aleister Crowley and has adjusted the traditional God Forms accordingly?

    Or is this no longer the case either?

    David Griffin

  61. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    Frater Barrabas just published clarification about the three approaches to esoteric tradition with further commentary on the present kerfuffle.

  62. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ Samuel Scarborough:

    To begin with, as I have said over and over, we do not want to debate anything with Mr. Farrell, Zalewksi, or even with you.

    What we DO want is to be LEFT ALONE by all of you GD reconstructionists – and for you to at least TRY for ONCE to respect the sanctity of oath bound material.

    Since I have already said this to you OVER and OVER – and you keep PRETENDING to be too DENSE to get it – let me say it ONE LAST TIME in an even more intellectual manner:


    As for the standard anthropological definitions of traditionalism, reconstructionism, and revisionism – as you are well aware – you already have these definitions in any standard Anthropology 101 text book.

    You also have them – together with interesting Pagan commentary – in the following excellent articles by Frater Barrabas Tireseus:

    If you would still like to better understand these concepts, please take an anthropology class.

    If you would like to debate these concepts, please do so directly with Frater Barrabas on his blog.

    If you would like to further discuss anything at all with me, please stop acting like a BORG.

    David Griffin

  63. Soror FSO · June 8, 2011


    Maybe you are missing a key point about “assimilation”. Assimilation is the act of incorporating something as one’s own. Let me put it very bluntly to you, if you do not want to be “assimilated” then you can just say “Hey, our Order does not agree with these particular ideas over here, we profess to be a traditional GD Order” and leave it at that, because I can guarantee that no one is going to come to your house or Temple and forcefully try to steal your “tradition”. Secondly, I think its great that you have decided that you alone are the only one who has any say over particular GD materials. I hate to break it to you, but you are not the only Alpha et Omega based Order. (O, I am sure you will say “We are not based on the AO, we are the AO!”)…Truthfully the real AO has not been around for a very long time, all of its temples fell into abeyance during the World War, and it was left to a few members to hand down their tradition to a few family members or students. Also let me remind you that you have changed the entire basis of the AO by moving all of the Inner Order material to the Outer and then creating new material for the Inner. Yes, you have the right to do so because its your but calling it traditional is not accurate….also I can tell you that these materials which were published by Nick have been around for a great deal of time now.. they were not privy only to your Order, such is the way with things now. There is little of the old Temples and Orders that is truly private anymore…maybe the Spirit wishes it to be so, so that more people can be called to the Light.

    Lastly, I am unsure as to how you think you will ever get anyone to see “your way’ when you consistently berate some of the most respected and hard-working people in our community. I take personal offense especially at your treatment of both Sam and Peregrin. I have had extensive personal contact with them both, they know their craft like the back of their hand, are amazing and learned scholars, and on top of this are very kind and dedicated to true personal growth. I have the utmost respect for them.

    Please stop pitting yourself against the entire community. No one is trying to assimilate you. No one is trying to wage a flame war against you (except for you know who). Everyone just wants to chill, and do magic. I invite you to e-mail me personally so that we can chat. I would love to extend a hand of friendship to you and help you to see that everyone is not out to get you or your Order or your works.

    Soror FSO

  64. Samuel · June 8, 2011

    @ David Griffin

    Thank you for your most intellectual and enlightening comments and suggestions, Mr. Griffin. An “ad hominem”, from you Mr. Griffin? I certainly expected more and better from you.

    Perhaps I was confused about you wanting debate on a scholarly level. You certainly did post multiple times that both Mr. Zalewski and Mr. Farrell would not engage in scholarly debate. You DID write that comment several times, did you not, Mr. Griffin? Or perhaps that was someone whom had hijacked your name, and was posting to cause strife like some troll?

    If you did write said comments about people not engaging in scholarly debate, that most assuredly implies that you were looking for Mr. Zalewski and Mr. Farrell to engage both Mr. Stacewicz and yourself in said debate since the both of you were engaged in your “critical reviews” of Mr. Farrell’s latest book. Whom else were you wanting them to engage in scholarly debate with, if not you?

    As for wishing to debate you Mr. Griffin, I see no need in that. Same applies to Barrabbas. He is not Golden Dawn by his own admission and thus is an outsider.

    I actually have several Anthropology classes under my belt, though it has been a number of year since I took them, so perhaps things have changed in the ensuing years. You, Mr. Griffin were using the terms here, thus it was your definition or your understanding of said definition of those terms which were being used that was relevant to the discussion.

    I would gladly be happy to discuss things with you. But do not call me a “BORG”. I certainly have not called you any names at all. As I recall there has only been one party that attempted to “assimilate” the other GD Orders through legal threats and means not so long ago, in a very Borg-like manner. I am sure that you are intimately familiar with that situation, are you not?

    The problem is that you only wish to hear (or see) your own words rather than anyone else’s. There is no discussion or reasoned debate with you, sir. You broached these topics in a public place such as a blog, if you TRULY wish to be left alone, then simply keep your mouth shut and your fingers from the keyboard. I believe that no one has rattled your chain or stirred you up, yet we are treated to endless diatribes and name-calling originating from your blogs… funny that.

    Additionally, Mr. Griffin, since I hopefully now have your attention, you can kindly remove my name from your blog in which you cite something that I wrote a number of years ago in relation to “astral-initiation” that you use to attack a third party. Do not cite my “expertise” there to attack another. That sir, is simply bad form on your part, especially if you are going to start labeling your so-called experts as “Borg”.

    In LVX Fraternitas,

  65. josephmax · June 8, 2011

    @ David Griffin: “Would it be more appropriate to describe OSOGD then as a ‘Golden Dawn order that has embraced the New Aeon of Horus replacing Osiris as proclaimed by Aleister Crowley and has adjusted the traditional God Forms accordingly?'”

    Too long-winded for a bumper sticker. You could say, “Thelemites interested in the GD are likely best off in the OSOGD, an Order that incorporates elements of Thelema into their practice.”

    What I call a “Thelemic Order” is like the OTO, which requires a religious acceptance of the Book of the Law as sacred, infallible dogma to attain any Grade past Minerval. The religious sense of the term, as you say.

    I think our most salient feature is that we’re *open* about our doctrines and practices. Everything we do, including all of our ritual texts, are available online to the public, so anyone joining the Order knows what they’re getting into. “Full disclosure” up front, so to speak. No disrespect to those who do things differently, of course.

  66. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ Sam Scarborough

    I did not call you a Borg. I said you are ACTING like a Borg.

    I have also asked you to stop it over and over.

    Instead, you simply repeat your same talking points.

  67. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ Soror FSO

    You believe that the AO ended. This is a reconstructionist point of view.

    That is your business. Truth be told – it did not. The Third Order of the AO was hidden all along and remains so until today. They are the ROOT of the Golden Dawn tradition that NEVER died.

    You are also SERIOUSLY mistaken in your assertion that everything is already published.

    The AO remains willing to share the vast treasure trove of additional teachings that the Third Order has already provided our order with other GD orders and initiates in our community

    However, the traditional requirement of the sanctity and SECRECY of oath bound material is a condition that will not be compromised even one millimeter.

    It is not my fault that any of you has not yet done what is necessary in order to become privy to proof of all of this in accordance to TRADITIONAL Golden Dawn rules.

    Our order is willing to let all of you believe whatever you want you want to believe.

    Why is it that so few of you are willing to extend the same courtesy to us?

    All of the other GD orders are welcome to believe whatever they want to.

    They are not, however, welcome to further attack our order, its founders, its rituals, or its teachings.


  68. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ FSO

    PS –

    I do what I do because I am told to do so by my superiors in the physical Third Order of the AO in Continental Europe.

    The changes that I make in accordance with THEIR instructions are completely TRADITIONAL – regardless of whether YOU like it or NOT – regardless of whether YOU believe it or NOT.

    I do not mean to sound harsh, but truth be told …

    Your opinions and you preferences in this matter are completely irrelevant (as are mine, by the way).

    You are free to believe whatever you like about the Golden Dawn …

    And our order extends the courtesy of this freedom to you and to everyone else in the Golden Dawn community.

    Please now finally extend the same courtesy to our order as well …

    … and lets end this senseless bickering and move on.

  69. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ FSO

    PPS – Just because there are many in our community who still believe that the world is flat – does not make it so. (metaphorically speaking)

  70. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    @ Joseph Max

    Thank you for the clarification. All the best to you and condolences to Sam Webster for the loss of his wife.

  71. Steven Winstanley · June 8, 2011

    So when *you* make changes it is traditional, when others make changes it is *reconstructionalist*? The fact that someone told you to make the changes does not alter the fact that your changes are more traditional than anyone elses? So if your secret chiefs told you to abandon the outer order structure of the Golden Dawn, you would still be traditional? What sort of logic is that?
    I notice that when pressed David resorts to capitals to say it is his definitions or no ones. I guess that means that it is only a scholarly debate when you are agreeing with David and an attack if you are not.
    I think that the Golden Dawn community would be happy to leave David Griffin alone. The problem is that Griffin will not leave them alone.
    While he had some validity in attacking Zink and talking about peace in the Golden Dawn. People even seemed to forget what he tried to do to Chic Cicero. He squandered all that by attacking other members of the Golden Dawn community who had done him no harm. Perigrin, FSO, Farrell and Sam, are the least likely pitbulls in the GD community. They have consistently posted reasonable comments, and interesting articles on the Golden Dawn tradition. Griffin on the other had has printed long blogs saying how significant he is and how others are attacking him.
    But the facts do not bare this out. Google “Nick Farrell and David Griffin” and you would not find a single quote that can be attributed to Farrell which attacks David personally. Yet there are lots of attacks written by Griffin or members of his order.
    A flame war can only happen when two sides are fighting. The only contentious quote I can find from Farrell is that he can’t be bothered replying to poor scholarship, bad logic and insults. Seems fair, why should he?
    What amazes me is with the number of long winded posts, photoshopped images, childish attacks, how David finds the time to do any spiritual work at all. Those are the posts which are just related to the Golden Dawn. I notice that David are carrying on the same behavior in Wicca too which must also suck up his time.
    BTW this is my email address (I dont have a website and do not trust Facebook) Although you may not know me, you will know my former Hierophant. I have been in the Golden Dawn in New Jersey for many years, although I am not that active these days. I met Nick Farrell when he visited our group nearly 10 years ago he seemed a nice enough guy.

  72. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    Gentle reader,

    I have remained here and have attempted to give forthright and fraternal answers despite flame attacks on our order here on this blog because moderation was turned on.

    I have at this juncture set forth the position of our order clearly enough to make it understood to any objective reader. The nature of the responses continue to be hostile again and again, even far too frequently repeating “talking points” again and again propaganda style.

    I am therefore leaving the discussion. If any of you have additional questions, you may ask them on the Golden Dawn blog. I will, however, not allow “talking points” to be used in the discussion in this manner, however, and these belong to the realm of propaganda rather than fraternal discourse.

    I have no doubt that the hostile comments towards the HOGD/AO and its leaders will continue here in our absence.

    Have fun and don’t forget the marshmallows!

    David Griffin (the real one)

  73. David Griffin · June 8, 2011

    (typos fixed)

    Gentle reader,

    I have remained here and have attempted to give forthright and fraternal answers despite flame attacks on our order here on this blog because moderation was turned on.

    I have at this juncture set forth the position of our order clearly enough to make it understood to any objective reader. The nature of the responses continue to be hostile again and again, even far too frequently repeating “talking points” over and over.

    I am therefore leaving the discussion.

    If any of you have additional actual questions, you may still ask them on the Golden Dawn blog.

    I will, however, not allow “talking points” to be used in the discussion, as these belong to the realm of propaganda rather than of legitimate fraternal discourse.

    I have no doubt that the hostile comments towards the HOGD/AO and its leaders will continue here in our absence.

    Have fun without us guys and don’t forget the marshmallows!

    David Griffin (the real one)

  74. Gryende Morgonrodnaden · June 8, 2011

    After lot of contemplation I have decided to try to explain my position, although I believe it will be quite fruitless considering the majority of the contents of the comments.

    Since I actively joined the GD Internet “community” in 2008 I soon came to realize that there was a great division between what I then referred to as “traditionalism” vs. “modernism”. In a early blog post (written in Swedish) I concluded that there was little sense in trying uniting these two factions and that we all be better off minding our own business and letting the other part alone. But then for a while I tried to believe that there, at least in potential, was a chance of some form of tentative unity and mutual fraternal respect.

    Sorry to say, that naivety of mine vanished when I started to read Nick Farrell’s ‘Mather’s Last Secret’. Although I was upset by its contents (not counting the profanation of the rituals that I had performed with my Temple for the last one and a half decade) I tried to present a paper which had both a scholarly (historical) and magical ambition. Some of you here don’t agree with me that my review met these ambitions. Well that’s the best that I could produce. I argumented against Farrell’s ideas and theories to the best of my abilities, sharing with you my 14 years of magical experience with these rituals. I admit that I perhaps reacted a little bit passionately on one or two instances (of which I have confessed in my above linked blog post).

    But I am a passionate person when it comes to things that are sacred to me. Yes, I did write ‘sacred’. Although the Golden Dawn is not a religion, it is my spiritual path and that path is sacred to me.

    Still I did hope that Farrell would post some kind of more substantial rebuttal than he actually managed to produce. He has clearly set the mark of how this so-called “community” deals with traditionalists as me. Fine no problem. Farrell has actually helped me in seeing the situation much more clearly now.

    When he did react in this passionate way, I felt that I wasn’t obliged to hold back with my feelings. I also understood that I had been correct in my estimation of the “community” back in 2008. But now, Frater Barrabbas had presented me (and you) with a theory that could help me understand what I intuitively had felt 3 years ago. The term “reconstructionism” is quite new for me as well, but I immediately understood that it (as presented by Fra. Barrabbas) summarized my thoughts on the matter quite well. But still, I don’t actually argue from a purely academic point of view (which entails a dispassionate attitude); I argue from an emotional and faith based position too as I cannot be anything but emotianlly involved in my Tradition. The Golden Dawn Tradition, as well as the greater Hermetic Tradition of which it is a part, cannot be reduced to a strict academic discourse, at least not for an initiate like myself.

    I admit that it was me who invented the “Borg” metaphor, but then again Fra. Barrabbas has understood the psychology quite aptly when he wrote that “the humor in this depiction…[is] done to deflect a real sense of outrage and anger, and I see that as constructive.”

    Yes, I do admit that I have felt and am feeling hurt by all of this. I feel hurt by Farrell’s profanation of the secret and thus sacred contents of the Alpha et Omega rituals. I feel hurt by his estimation of them (or of Mathers’s “true” agenda behind them) as well in his “analysis”. I feel hurt by how he and also you here have reacted toward my honest reaction. To be even more honest, my stomach turns on itself when I read some of the comments here.

    I feel more fraternal bond with people in other traditions (inside as well outside of the strictly Rosicrucian / Hermetic community) than I do with the majority of you here. But I also understand that this is not personal against any of you (or against me) as individuals. I’m quite convinced that I would have enjoyed a chat in the pub with most (if no any) of you. The differences between us actually lies on the level of the paradigm, and in knowing this I have a much more willing ambition to let go of you and minding my own business; all I ask from you is to do the same, i.e to let go of me as well and not actively trying to smash the foundation upon which I stand (that is the still sacred and unprofaned parts of my Tradition). Although we might perform some of the rituals in common, this is a simple and superficial likeness. How I interpret what I do with these rituals, and the greater context in which I place them, is entirely different from yours. Taken on the egregoric level of Temple work, these differences are even greater. Reading Farrell’s book side by side with my rebuttal will make this quite apparent, if you take the time to do this.

    Today I refer to these differences of opinion with the terms “traditionalist” and “reconstructionist”. The latter I also call “post-modern”. I believe that you may read enough in between my latest blog and the ones by Fra. Barrabbas, to gain a quite clear definition of these terms. This said, I don’t dislike nor do I disrespect any “reconstructionist” Temple or Order, if they don’t stoop down to the level of Nick Farrell’s book ‘Mathers’ Last Secret’. It is this kind of behaviour that I strongly oppose in my latest blog posts and it is this kind of behaviour that I refer to as “Borgish”. And I wan’t to emphasize what has already been said by David Griffin, that we don’t regard Nick Farrell as being a Borg (they are fictional for God’s sake!), but we regard certain of his actions comparable to how the Borg behave in Star Trek universe. We have to make a disctinction between the man and his actions; this is basic psychological and behaviour science.

    And as with all metaphores, they are not always optimal. I agree that the assimilation aspect of the Borg may be a bit improper to describe the behaviour of militant reconstructionism; they are not interested in assimilation, they simply want to destroy the very foundation upon which traditionalism stands (i.e. to profande and academically analyse). However, I do belive that reconstructionism may be compared to contagion which has infested the Golden Dawn community too long. It is that which I am trying to address, with (I admit) some provocation. I have also described why reconstructionism is so dominant in the community quite aptly in my recent blog.

    There also has to be understood that reformation is not at all the same as reconstruction. Reformation is actually part of the Tradition, which is supposed to adapt itself to the current cultural context of its time each 111 years. But a reformation is always done with due respect towards the past, with the sights aimed at the future, and also guided by the Third Order or at least by Tradition itself. The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was in fact the fruits of such a reformation in 1888. Exactly 111 years earlier the Rosicrucian Tradition reformed itself in 1777 to adapt to the contemporary Freemasonic frenzy. Exactly 111 years post 1888 our traditionalist Order chose to adapt the tradition in 1999 to meet the current “post-modern” or “reconstructionist” situation, in which so much had been profaned. With this we also made available even more older Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions than that of the Golden Dawn for our Adepts.

    Finally some words regarding scholarly debates. The fundamental attitude of traditionalism is quite simple: The Golden Dawn Tradition, or any other genuine Rosicrucian Tradition, should never had become the subject of academic research in the first place. But because of the profanations that has been done during the last century by various individuals (initiates and non-initiates alike), unfortunately is has become a subject of outsider study, also in the academic world. Reconstructionist initiates has jumped on this bandwagon and publish their own works, some quite good works, some of them quite awful. Thus sometimes even a traditionalist Order must put out something to set the record straight from its own paradigm-point-of-view. This is what exactly happened when Nick Farrell published his latest book. This however doesn’t mean that traditionalist as me are willing to debate matters sacred to us and secret for you meeting scholarly criteria set by reconstructionist scholars.

    Our Tradition is supposed to be experienced in a traditional and hermetically sealed Temple setting, not through some book in the armchair. I believe the most sensible comment here was when someone said that we should all leave the Internet and go back into doing our Magical Work. Damn right! We shouldn’t even be discussing this here at all! Instead we should all try to exell ourselves in providing top class initiations and instruction for our members. I know that this sounds extremely archaic or antiquated, but then again I am a Traditionalis criticizing the post-modern community in which we are living.

    I hope that my comments answers some of your questions about my position. However don’t expect me to engage in any fruitless debate here. Considering what has happened during these past weeks, and especially here, I am beyond any such naivety. In this respect you will find David Griffin much more accepting, hopeful and even forgiving than me. Also expect me to write some kind of rebuttal to Peregin’s blog post over at the Gyllene Gryiningen blog soon.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

  75. Fr. IOV · June 8, 2011


    I apologize for my question as I had no intention of stirring up such a fiery discussion. My question was fairly simple; well that is at least what I thought. I am going to rephrase my question so I can get a clear answer for myself.

    I’ve been practicing Golden Dawn system for over 25 years now. I did so by using outer order material in the outer grades (as per GD). So I consider myself a traditionalist. Am I wrong?


  76. oberonredfeatheronte Moss · June 8, 2011

    Samuel said
    “I also know, no let me reiterate, KNOW (and yes this is all caps for emphasis) that my Work within the GD is my own, my connections are my own through my hard work. Nothing that anyone else can say will change this fact! None of these “Adepti” equal my own Higher Self and my connection to the Divine through this Work, therefore their opinions are for naught in this regard.

    Since it is the business of doing the Work that is of paramount import, then let us all get on with that business, doing the Magnum Opus. Be adepti worthy of the title and lead by Words and Actions.”

    I am not a regular poster here and I am not eloquent of speech or writing, but the above words I think everyone needs to read and reread because it is the most important issue here and within the whole of the Giolden Dawn system.
    I am a solitary GD practitioner and have gained so much through the study and practice of it. No one gave this to me, just me and the work and the contacts I have made through the years.
    Also, thanks for this blog. I know there aremany out there like me that do read but do not respond. We just keep learning and keep working.


  77. Peregrin · June 8, 2011

    @Monte – thanks for highlighting the core of the work once again. I know there are many solo practitioners of our tradition who have worked hard, benefited by it and enriched it, kept it alive and growing on the inner planes. This is the way tradition works, and all you solo GD folk out there are as important as our Orders and organisations, I hope you know this. Thanks 🙂

  78. Peregrin · June 8, 2011

    @Frater IOV – you ask, “I’ve been practicing Golden Dawn system for over 25 years now. I did so by using outer order material in the outer grades (as per GD). So I consider myself a traditionalist. Am I wrong?”

    from my perspective I would consider you a traditionalist, unless you mix the GD with other traditions based on personal preference. Anyone who communes with and practices the GD tradition for 25 years, respecting it, loving it, being empowered by and serving it, is a traditionalist in my book 🙂 Thanks.

  79. Suecae · June 9, 2011

    After reading the, in my humble opinion, excellent essay, I was at the same time quite shocked to see that the following discussion so severely got out of hand.

    Obviously there is a lot of passionate energy here, potential, used up to… less then optimal means. This is not an attack on anyone, but I believe that with our current ecological and social situation, and when it comes to the ecology, I’d go as far as say crisis – I hope to see this passion converted into more purposeful means.

  80. Soror FSO · June 9, 2011

    David, I know you said you wouldn’t be replying anymore on this board but I wanted to write my last response here so that it could be read in context with my other posts.

    I did not say that the AO ended. I said that its Temples went into abeyance and that the Tradition of that Order lived on in a lesser capacity being passed on through families and to certain students until much later on when new Orders and Temples were formed by students of this tradition. In case you were unaware my GD training is AO based i.e. I would consider myself a decedent of the original AO…which is why I know what documents are at least not particularly privy to your Order….although that doesn’t mean that there are still not unreleased documents or that there is the potential that there are documents which one group may have that another does not.

    That being said, I absolutely respect your right to practice your way in your group with whatever belief system you maintain as long as is upholds the basic rights of others to practice in the same manner.

    Pax Profundi,
    Soror FSO

  81. Samuel · June 9, 2011

    @ Frater IOV

    If you have been practicing the GD for 25 years, and loving it, you are definitely a traditionalist in my book as well. Keep up the Great Work!

    In LVX,

  82. Pallas Renatus · June 9, 2011

    Suecae has a point in her post above. I love the essay format, and I love seeing response essays written to discuss points of contention. In my academic career, I’ve seen such essays keep even some of the most fiery debates relatively civil, because by convention giving a rise to personal attacks is considered bad form. If you feel someone is attacking you (or in the more rare case when someone actually means to attack you), better to calmly and clearly continue to explain your side of the argument, as if they had never attacked you to begin with. The idea here being to get your idea or opinion out in the best way possible, and let people decide for themselves what to make of it.

    On the internet, however, I’ve noticed an extreme preoccupation with what I can only deem “tattling”. When we feel attacked, rightfully or not, somehow all of a sudden sharing our ideas takes a backseat to making sure everyone else knows why the person we feel threatened by is wrong. I have seen a lot of people do this, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. But it really is mind-boggling to me. Why is it so vitally important to point the finger back at someone who is defaming us, rather than carrying on with our work and our essays, and letting people judge us by the fruits of these? Is it not a child’s lesson that lies will be told about us, that not everyone will like us, but that we will prevail and be judged by doing the best work we can? Is it also not a child’s lesson that the best way to make an instigating sibling go away is to simply ignore them?

    It appears that even as grown men and women, we still struggle with the childish urges our parents tried to teach us to control, but after another manner.

  83. Raul · March 7, 2013

    One thing is necessary adaptations within a tradition, but without changing the essential on pain of invalidate, and another is the innovation that makes a tradition no longer effective, or worse, be a support of evil forces.
    Certainly some traditions were adapted, and others like Christianity were degenerating according the modernism of Vatican II, but to understand this properly you must first understand what is meant by tradition.

  84. Pingback: Change within the Golden Dawn and Wicca | Magic of the Ordinary

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