Hi – the friend and correspondent I referred to in my last post, Dangers of the Golden Dawn (well all magic, really), read the post and emailed me the comments below. He prefers to keep his name out of it all at present (makes sense, really). But I promise he’s not an imaginary friend (I have bunnies for that sort of thing 🙂 ) His comments here are definitely interesting:
“The GD “elders” I spoke to (now so many years ago in England) all told me the same thing: they had been instructed to allow the Order to “die” and be “buried” so that it might (like a physical body) gently “decay” and return to the elements from which it came: “solve”. Whether at some time in the future it might “grow back” – “coagula” – was not a matter with which they should or could be concerned. It should not be abruptly “shut down”: there were various explanations relating to possible negative consequences of such an abrupt “destruction”. Thus, one Temple of which I knew was allowed to fall into disuse with only very rare meetings but, until all members had died, it was to be (minimally) maintained.
It may be that the burial of regalia and equipment (referred to in the books of Colquhoun and King) related to this. Certainly considerable amounts of material – essentially written texts and documents – were burned, but there seems to have been a distinction between what was “abruptly destroyed” and what was allowed to “decay”.
The “elders” revealed not the slightest interest in claims to any GD succession, not even in denying or criticizing such claims. When I asked about one such claim, the person to whom I was speaking simply said: “What relevance could that have for us?”
It is of interest that, around the same time as the GD, another better known movement took the same approach. The Catholic Apostolic Church (popularly but inaccurately known as the “Irvingites”), established around 1831, had proclaimed that the Second Coming would occur within the lifetime of its Apostles (those who led the Church). When the last Apostle died in 1901, the Church began to “close down” and gradually faded into obscurity. Unlike most (if not all) other Adventist movements based on a failed prophecy, it made no attempt at explanation or re-interpretation, accepting that, for reasons beyond human understanding, its work had ceased to be relevant. The remnants of the Church refused absolutely to have anything to do with claims of attempts to continue its work. It was specifically taught that the authority of the Apostles having been “withdrawn” (that is, the last Apostle died) no-one, regardless of connection with or status within the Church, had any authority to continue its work.
It is interesting that some (generally still “secret”) Catholic Apostolic documents offered advice to the remaining members as to how they should conduct themselves after the effective disappearance of their church. I have been told of, and have seen some documents relating to, equivalent instructions being given to members of the GD.”