I just came across these notes for training on the inner dimensions of Lodge work for a Gnostic-GD Order I was asked to assist back in 2005. Unfortunately the training was cancelled and before it could be rescheduled I severed my connection with the group for various reasons connected to its dysfunctional leader. I think the notes may be of use on MOTO.
The analysis and points made in this document may be useful in the ongoing discussion centered on Nick Farrell’s excellent books on Mathers and the AO – Mathers’ Last Secret and King Over the Water. Here Nick discusses the de-magicing of later AO ceremonies by Mathers, Berridge and others, moving them back to a more Masonic or Fraternal basis. The notes here explain the differences between the various forms of rituals and groups.
Magical Lodge Work
- Magical lodge work is composed of four essential and interpenetrating aspects:
- Floor work
- Coherent symbolic patterns
- Magical action on the inner planes
- Each aspect is as important as the others.
- Floor work and words constitute the physical aspects of lodge work. The symbolic patterns, when understood and participated in by members constitute the mental plane aspects of lodge work, the realm of meaning. Magical action works on the etheric, astral and mental levels, with its primary sphere of focus being the astral level.
- From a magical perspective, floor work and words alone constitute a poorly written ceremony for the sake of doing ceremony.
Floor work, words, and symbolic actions constitute ceremonies such as those performed by a fraternal order or exoteric sacramental church service (Catholic, high Anglican or Orthodox). Please note however, conscious understanding of the symbolic patterns within the ceremony may not be present within all of the participants or congregation. From a traditional point of view, within church services the various mysteries connected with liturgy have the potential to awaken mental and spiritual plane blessings, without magical action being undertaken.
- Emphasis on magical action without developed floor work, words and symbolic action is indicative of magical groups or circles as distinct from magical lodges. (In magical, as well as fraternal lodges, all the ceremonies are interpreted and explained through a central myth).
- The addition of the inner magical action on the etheric, astral and mental realms is what makes a lodge magical and not fraternal.
- The main ways of effecting the inner planes and subtle bodies of the participants used in group lodge work are: etheric plane – energy transfer, touch, the use of consecrated items and tools, such as incense, sound and breath; astral plane – visualization, emotions and will; mental plane – divine names, inner plane contacts/beings and magical currents (see below).
- The goal of a magical lodge is to so fully know the floor work and the words (and to have studied the symbolic actions) that we are free to concentrate on the inner magical work.
- The floor work and words needs to be almost automatic. This does not mean mechanical or non-conscious. It means it flows as easily and as smoothly as my typing and your reading (or hearing) these words. We can compare this with the skills found in martial arts, music and the yoga, where the movements, actions and poses flow without conscious effort, leaving their minds to focus on the inner.
- In group ritual, this outward flow leaves our inner minds to focus on the magical action.
- To ensure rituals do not become mechanical, ritualists also need training in focusing their concentration – this is only achieved through repeated solo practice at home.
- A lodge ceremony should, ideally, be a period of concerted and coordinated, intense inward focus as a group while the outer form, the words and the floor work are performed with flow and ease.
- Magical lodge ceremonies are concerted in that we act as one, as a group. They are coordinated in that they are under the direction of the lead ritualist, in the GD, the Hierophant.
- Whenever we struggle to remember words or floor work we necessarily bring our focus away from the inner work. This should be avoided at all costs. Again, the only way to ensure this is through work at home.
- One of the key techniques of inner lodge work within the GD tradition is the assumption of Godforms.
- There are a number of advantages to the use of Godforms:
- The magical skill required is relatively easily acquired if the work is put in. This allows newcomers to a lodge to fully participate in the inner work of a ceremony.
- Learning to effectively assume a Godform teaches or expands a new ritualist’s range of skills.
- The Godforms themselves partake of real spiritual blessings associated with the deity in question.
- Godforms when assumed correctly affect the three levels of inner work, the etheric, astral and mental.
- The Godforms themselves are real, independent astral structures (linked with mental and spiritual plane blessings). They exist within the egregore of the Order and are recharged every Equinox. Every correct assumption by an officer adds to their strength and power. This means a new ritualist can, when open and doing the work, find it easy to achieve results in their role.
- The Godforms exist continually on the astral level in-between ceremonies within the egregore or group mind of the Order/temple. They are maintained by the Order’s currents and work done by the inner order.
- A temporary etheric structure for the Godforms to ‘embody’ is created during the preparation period (prior to the ceremony) by the Hierophant and/or other inner order members. This etheric structure has as its material basis, the lamen of office. When an officer assumes the lamen, this etheric structure is superimposed over their sphere of sensation. This allows the assumption of the Godform to be achieved with more ease and ensures that the previously created Order Godform is the one used in the ceremony not one created solely by the work of the officer. For this reason the lamen of office, once prepared is an important tool and should be handled accordingly.
- This also means however, that the officer is in effect the representation of the Godform on the material plane. The attitude and dedication we bring to our material plane components of the ceremony – the floor work and speeches – should reflect this. Z-3 advises the Hierophant and officers to:
“…remember what tremendous Gods and Goddesses they represent – the Divine Forces of the Eternal in the administration of the Universe. The Ritual should be read in a loud, clear, stern and solemn voice so as to impress the Candidate with the solemnity of the occasion. In this, there should be no foolish nervousness or hesitation, but the Ritual as performed by an initiated Hierophant should become in his hands something more than this.”
- The visualization by the officer ensures their own personal astral body is intersecting with that of the Order Godform. This means the officer, for the duration of the ceremony is, literally part of the egregore of the Order. This is why great care is taken in many Orders concerning conduct within lodge meetings, as the egregore can be affected by whatever is occurring in the astral body of the officer. This again points to the need for solo practice of concentration and mind control.
- The Godforms of the floor officers in the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony form a seven-fold whole, relating to the seven planets, seven double letters and fourteen parts of Osiris. When any one Godform is impaired or not functioning fully, it affects the whole. A Godform never exists on its own.
- Functionally this most important in the two triads: Osiris, Horus, Tham-est; and, Ano-oobist-empe-eeb-te, Thaum-Aesch-Nia-Eth, Aura-Mo-Ooth
- During ceremony when an officer is outwardly passive they should still be maintaining their Godform strongly (as well, if possible as assisting in other inner work – see below).
Golden Dawn Inner Lodge Work
- Magical lodge work draws from and extends the fraternal lodge structures where the sacred or symbolic space is created and de-created every meeting. This means the symbols and tools of a Golden Dawn lodge are consecrated in a different manner to those in a permanent temple or church. The tools and symbols are linked, at each meeting, to the pre-existing inner plane blessings contained within or connected to the Order’s egregore and become the material basis for those blessings. At the end of the meeting, this link is removed.
- For the period of the ceremony therefore all tools and symbols therefore are what they represent and need to be treated accordingly. Studying the ceremonies while keeping in mind the position and placement of the tools and symbols as the powers themselves is a helpful way of increasing our understanding of the ceremonies.
- During each Golden Dawn ceremony the lodge room is visualized and energetically charged to represent one or more symbolic structures (which often co-exist and overlap). Visualization ensures this occurs on the astral level. Conscious participation in the representation by all members ensures this occurs on the mental level, and energetic charging ensures the creation on the etheric.
- For example, the Neophyte temple represents and becomes the Hall of the Dual Manifestation of the Goddess of Truth. It is also represents the Tree of Life in Assiah below Paroketh.
- Each officer needs to know the symbolic and energetic layout of the temple and help maintain it through participation on a mental level, and where appropriate and possible, visualization on the astral level.
- Examining the ceremony with reference to the meaning and energies of the particular areas of the temple can help us understand the ceremony and our own roles better.
- Members present at a ceremony who are not taking office should assist with the inner work through visualization and affirmation on the mental level. The same should apply to any officer who is outwardly passive and is able to easily maintain their Godform. No member of a magical lodge should ever be passive or unfocused on the inner planes.
- Some of the magical inner work and symbolic meaning for the Neophyte ceremony is contained in Z-1 and Z-3. The latter also includes brief notes on the Equinox ceremony. Much of the magical inner work and symbolic meaning for the Neophyte and other Golden Dawn ceremonies remain unpublished or needs expansion.
- We can define magical currents as: streams of inner plane, spiritual blessings which are independent of the physical lodges which may embody them, but which also require physical lodges to embody them in order to affect change in the material world.
- In some Orders the changes in the material world that are brought about by the embodiment of magical currents affect only the members of the Order. Other Orders seek to change the broader world as well.
- Some magical traditions teach that magical currents are (or were at some point in the past) completely the creation of magical acts from physical magicians. The Golden Dawn tends to assert that its currents are independent of physical actions and are maintained by real inner plane beings with motivations and purposes of their own.
- The presence of a magical current within the egregore of an order means that order is a legitimate part of the outer tradition which represents that magical current in the material world. (Please note the wording here: an outer tradition represents the inner plane current; the inner current is not the representation of the outer tradition.)
- The presence of a magical current within a ceremony is what constitutes the ceremony being worked as part of the tradition.
- The presence of a magical current within a ceremony and its linkage to the initiate is what constitutes a legitimate initiation into a magical tradition.
- Depending on the initiation or ceremony one or more magical currents are invoked and worked with.
- Depending on the initiation, the magical current(s) are required to be linked to various aspects of the subtle bodies of the initiate to be fully effective and achieve the desired changes.