Something from my Golden Dawn files, written as memory-point notes for a day long training i gave to a very dodgy Gnostic lodge who were attempting to use the GD ceremonies. A lot has been written about the Neophyte Ceremony. This little piece analyzes it from a particular, and very practical, point of view. Enjoy :)
Currents and Templates of Transformation within
the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony
Entry level ceremonial initiations in the Western tradition, such as the Neophyte Ceremony of the Golden Dawn are designed to achieve a number of aims. We may group these aims as follows:
§ Fraternal aims: for example, bringing the initiate into the group mind (egregore) of the particular lodge.
§ Magical aims: for example, placing within the subtle bodies of the initiate certain ‘keys’ and currents that will enable her (better) performance of certain magical techniques.
§ Personal aims: for example, causing transformation within the mind and/or subtle bodies of the initiate that will help promote change within her personal, everyday life and consciousness.
§ Transpersonal aims: for example, placing within the subtle bodies of the initiate several magical currents which link her to the tradition, temple, grade and inner realm(s) corresponding to the degree.
Not every Western initiation has aims within all four groups. For example, the Masonic Entered Apprentice degree does not have any magical aims, and the transpersonal aims originally contained within it appear to have atrophied in many contemporary lodges.
While fraternally based aims of initiation can be greatly aided by magical techniques they may be adequately achieved by non-magical ceremonies and procedures. This is borne out by the vast number of Masonic and Masonic inspired ceremonies that have been used to admit millions of men and women over the last five centuries.
For effective and consistent results, the other three groupings require skillful magical and inner plane work to be undertaken by the initiating team.
The Golden Dawn Neophyte ceremony has fraternal, personal and transpersonal aims. It does not have many direct magical aims, as borne out by the fact that originally the Outer Order member practiced only the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. Many keys to successful Inner Order magic are placed into the magician in the following 5 Outer Order ceremonies. This is an essential point to understand and attempting to work RR et AC magic without the full and correct initiations (or their equivalent) will be much more difficult than with them.
The fraternal aims within the Neophyte ceremony are supported by the inner plane work designed to achieve the personal and transpersonal aims.
The personal and transpersonal aims within the Neophyte ceremony are achieved through (1) the injection of magical currents into the subtle bodies of the initiate, and (2) processes designed to effect and transform the consciousness and subtle bodies themselves. In the absence of any traditional term I call these processes, templates of transformation.
§ Magical currents are streams of inner plane, spiritual blessings independent from the initiate, tradition and lodge. While a ceremonial Neophyte initiation effectively links the initiate to these currents (at a certain level), it is technically possible to the linked to them without a full ceremonial initiation or through self initiatory processes.
§ Templates of transformation, however require the physical (some would say astral is enough) enactment of a ceremony upon the initiate, as it is through the ceremonial actions (and their inner plane components) that the initiate is exposed to the forces and blessings that changes her subtle bodies.
§ For example, the movement of the initiate from the west to the east of the altar after being brought to the light produces certain distinct effects in her subtle bodies. These can only be fully achieved by the actual ceremonial process and its inner plane equivalents. The initiate cannot be exposed to or invoke a current which will completely simulate these changes as it is the initiate’s physical movement that is the key to the particular transformation required. We can explain this by a metaphor: arriving at a pilgrimage site by aeroplane produces a different type of transformation than walking there in meditation, prostrating along the way.
§ For a full Neophyte Ceremony all the currents and templates of transformation of the ceremony need to linked to and experienced by the initiate.
Spiritual and Magical Currents within the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony and Major Points of the Ceremony When they are Placed within the Initiate
§ The Golden Dawn current.
When the candidate is brought to the light and has the mystic words recited into her crown centre
§ The Neophyte Current.
During the transmission of the secrets of the degree by the Hiereus
§ The current of the particular Temple.
During the mystic circumambulation with the candidate in the Path of Light.
Through mental plane identification of the candidate with the Slain Osiris and his rebirth when the threefold cord is removed.
§ The current of the patron deity of the Temple (this is not always done)
During the mystic circumambulation with the candidate in the Path of Light and/or within the additional invocation to the Patron Deity as part of description of the temple by the Hierophant (not traditional).
§ Elemental currents of Air, Fire, Water and Earth
Through the identification of the elementally dismembered parts of the initiate with the elemental symbols, which have been previously linked to the elemental Kerubim during the temple setup.
§ Current of Vengeance
Through the placement of the Sword of Vengeance by the Hiereus upon the nape of the neck of the initiate during the oath.
§ Currents of the Three Pillars (singularly, and as a synthesis)
Through the exposure to the tools of the Chief Officers.
Templates of Transformation within the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony and Examples of when they are Enacted
§ The link between the Neschamah of the initiate and her Higher and Divine Genius
Through the mediation and work of the Hierophant moving from the East to the east of altar before the oath and before bringing the candidate to the light.
§ The link between the Ruach and the Neschamah of the initiate.
Through the speech to the initiate prior to the circumambulation in the path of darkness beginning with ‘And the voice of my higher and undying soul…’
§ The Triad of Life
Through the invocation of the triune light into the crown centre of the candidate and the exposure of the three HHH officers and their tools.
§ The putting down of the Evil Persona (unbalanced aspects of Nephesch)
When the Hierophant moves to Yesod before the oath with the blessings of Aroureris.
§ The birth of a new self
The complete ceremony is a death-rebirth motif. The circumambulation in the path of darkness is one of the strongest stages where the new self is formulated.
§ The movement of darkness unto the light
Through the movement of the candidate from Malkuth to Peh/Samech and exposure to the current between the Banner of the West and the Banner of the east.
§ The impetus towards adoration
During the speech of the Hiereus when the Banner of the East is lowered by the Hierophant.