Who’s Your Rosicrucian, Baby?

Currently there is a minor contretemps in cyber-land about ‘the Rosicrucians’. It all started with the webhost of the Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn (ROGD) being issued one of those lovely ‘cease and desist’ notices from a legal firm acting on behalf of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC). You can read it here.

Naturally that did not go down too well. On a podcast AMORC was given three ‘gongs of shame’ and other folk, like the Watchers of the Dawn, were not happy. I sent this email to the Grandmaster of AMORC seeking a change of heart:

“Care Soror,

I refer to the website http://www.rogd.org/ and the statement therein regarding legal threats from AMORC in regard to the use of the phrase ‘Rosicrucian Order’.

As you will know there are many groups who use this term that have antecedents before the establishment of AMORC.

These groups, and many newer groups, have done and do nothing but promote the same mystical and fraternal ends of AMORC.

They are not competitors in a materialist business economy. They are sister organisations to your own.

I would respectfully ask that AMORC reconsider this approach and remove all threats of legal action against the ROGD and other Orders.

Already AMORC’s reputation has suffered badly from these actions and will suffer far worse it they continue. The modern Rosicrucian magician is individual in nature and will not respond well to what is seen by some as meddling or empire building.

Please reconsider your actions so we can all continue in harmony towards Perfect Peace Profound.”

RR et AC Rose Cross

RR et AC Rose Cross

Now, the nub of the matter appears to be the use of the phrase ‘Rosicrucian Order’. AMORC has used this for a number of decades and claims exclusive right to it. Hoh um. It only makes sense if we see the two words as referring to something specific and limited – i.e. AMORC. However, methinks, and most I think do also think, that ‘Rosicrucian’ here is an adjective referring to a spiritual path, and ‘Order’ refers to the type of organisation.

So, presumably AMORC would have no probs with ‘The Rosicrucian League’, ‘Debbie’s Rosicrucian Hair Salon’ or even ‘Joe’s Rosicrucian Bordello’? Equally we could have ‘the Wiccan Order’ or ‘the Crystal Kids Order’. Or wot not. For me it is clear, ‘Rosicrucian’ is beyond any particular group and refers to a form of western mystic, and I believe Christian spirituality (Bob Gilbert agrees).

I find this mess rather distressing for three main reasons:

Firstly, no one should really be calling themselves a Rosicrucian at all, at all. In modern English, the first two principles of the Rosicrucian Fraternity from the Fama itself are:

First, that none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.

Second, none of the posterity should be constrained to wear one certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the country (emphasis added).

Seems clear to me, and the Golden Dawn RR et AC is very clear in their oath: “Finally, you must understand that you are never permitted to say to anyone not a member of this Order that you are a Rosicrucian”.

However, folk are free to call themselves whatever they want. I won’t stop them, or even glower at them from the corner. Well, maybe a little – which I confess I did upon my first meeting of a ‘Rosicrucian’, shortly after I’d started on this lark as a youth. The chap wandered up to me at University Philosophy Society’s wine and cheese night and after chatting for a bit on mutual spiritual interests, simply declared ‘I’m a Rosicrucian’. I choked on my cheddar. Being in awe of the Fama I was completely discombobulated. I knew AMORC existed but naively assumed its initiates would keep it all mum.

Secondly, this concerns spiritual groups, you know within the world but not of the world and all that jazz. Copyrights and lawsuits and wot all in this arena are pure farce and contrary to everything true religion and spirituality stands for.

Thirdly, despite it all, I have a soft spot for AMORC – stemming of course from the events in this post. And actually, all the AMORC folk I’ve met are rather nice. True, the AMORC teachings do not inspire me and I do not grok their approach, but they are generally lovely people. Certainly much better than most of the ‘magical Rosicrucians’ I’ve met and whom I’d never invite home to mother. I really do not want to see these folk getting more of a hard time from ‘serious magicians’ than they already do.

AMORC generally comes in for an elitist rap from magical folk, and I’m on record somewhere for stating I found little useful when wading through the monographs of the entire AMORC course, even beyond the ninth degree, held in a Perth library. However, some folk DO find it useful and AMORC does organise lovely tours to sacred sites across the globe. Generally I have found the average AMORC member to be blissfully unaware of their own history and appropriation of other Order’s materials etc. They are simply working through their chosen tradition and not looking too much left or right. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So, I really hope two things (1)  AMORC changes their mind and drops their pursuit of other groups using a similar name, and (2) any pissed-off magicians, some of whom are always looking for a fight, relax and chill and not take it too far. As the ROGD says on their website: “We continue to Work privately, silently, and namelessly.  “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

So I hope what could be a nasty ‘battle’ over names is avoided. If we stopped calling ourselves Rosicrucian, this would all go away anyway. And really, in terms of wanky, magical kudos, wandering around saying ‘I’m a Rosicrucian and it’s OK’ pales into insignificance to, “of course, if I were a Rosicrucian, I couldn’t tell you anyway.”



Self Initiation, a few points

Since I enjoyed jotting down my take on astral initiation, I thought I’d do the same with ‘self-initiation’. 🙂 Here I am specifically talking about Golden Dawn and RR et AC initiations. Other MOTO posts touching on this topic are:

Of course in any analysis of personal experiences, such as initiation, we have to take care not to invalidate people’s experiences.

After all, all inner experiences are valid and can, if we follow them with honesty and altruistic motivations, lead us to learning more about ourselves and the universe.

That said, it is perfectly fine to critique and offer differing opinions from the outside, even if they may upset the apple cart a bit. I have just read a good example of this in Yours Very Truly, selected letters of Gareth Knight (Skylight Press, 2010).

In a letter to Vivienne Jones, Gareth refers to an article concerned with spiritual pathology he wrote for Psychology and the Spiritual Traditions (Element, 1990). This article seems to have made a few folk come up and short and re-examine their own assumptions and the origins of their received material and intuitions. Gareth wisely states,

…it is no small achievement to realise how badly one has performed as a human being – it shows a glimmer of clear sightedness and the beginning of practical spiritual wisdom.

We all need a dose this now and then. 🙂 Anyway, onward…

There are a number of misconceptions surrounding magical initiation. One of the most pernicious, and all the more so for its subtlety, is the idea that initiation somehow makes one different from other people – more advanced, one of the elite – an attitude that is in complete contrast to the actual purpose of initiation. Initiation means simply ‘to begin’. The late W.E. Butler, an adept in a Western Magical tradition stemming from the Golden Dawn, believed we should not say we are ‘initiates’ (noun), but rather ‘initiate’ (verb), to indicate that we are all, no matter our experience, continually beginning our spiritual unfoldment. In the Golden Dawn this is the beginning of a new mode of awareness, where we no longer walk in the sleep of everyday life but are alive to our own inner divinity and the call of God.

In a very real sense all initiations are self initiations. It is the self of the initiate that is being changed, and it is the self that has to assent to the initiation and the spiritual and/or the fraternal gifts it offers. If the initiate is closed, immature or has base motivations, the best ceremonial initiation in the world will not affect them directly. They will remain closed. Whereas an open, dedicated person at home waving some incense around and calling on the divine powers in a self composed ritual will be affected more. I would more likely class them as an initiate than a Neophyte who has gone through the motions but not open to unfoldment and service. Our motivations are the key here.  I do not expect the first degree Wiccan, who confessed to Maxine Sanders he was only there because he liked the look of her tits, would be much of an initiate.

Now that said, the Golden Dawn Z docs, from memory do make the bold claim that the initiate, once entering the process, will be moved to the Light whether they will it or not.  This is because the Golden Dawn initiation ceremonies, like all effective magical traditions, work on the subtle selves of the initiate. When correctly performed the blessings of a ceremonial initiation will be linked to the subtle selves of a ‘closed’ initiate. So even though the initiation does not ‘take’ immediately, when the initiate becomes open within themselves the initiation becomes active. Nifty, huh 🙂

There are many aspects to a full Golden Dawn initiation, as shown for example in this post, Currents and Templates of Transformation within the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony. So with all of these points and all the various functions of initiation in mind, fraternal belonging, energetic transformation, linking to egregores etc, etc, can a person perform a ceremony at home that will initiate them into the Golden Dawn as Neophyte or the later grades? Overall, I would have to say ‘no’, though we can achieve the same results over a longer magical process. Let me explain.

OK, first off, self initiation can never initiate us into a particular physical temple or Order in the same way a physical initiation into the temple or Order does. The presence of physical initiator is a particular form of magical action, as shown in our  last post, Astral Initiation. Physical initiatory action cannot be replaced by astral work, and self initiation is necessarily astrally based since we physically cannot be the initiator and initiate at the same time.

Also, within the Golden Dawn the initiations are extremely complex magical actions. They rest upon and require clear and empowered connections to particular magical currents and a level of technical skill far in advance of a newcomer to the grade. Put simply, if someone had the skill to initiate themselves into the Neophyte Grade with its complex formula and impact of twenty two godforms etc, all within a single self-initiation ceremony, they would not need to be initiated. Think about it – a person has to take the place of an entire Order and supporting Inner Order and perform several magical actions on all levels, simultaneously. No easy call.

In addition a crucial component of the GD outer grades is the redeemed or higher consciousness within the physical presence of the Hierophant. This simply cannot be replaced by visualising the associated godforms, because the real flesh and blood initiator represents physically on the material plane what the initiate can become. This is one of the reasons why in the GD only Adepts may initiate, and why choice of initiator is very important. The higher consciousness within the human body is essential, even if that body is clothed astrally as Osiris. If we associate the higher Tipharethic consciousness to Christ Jesus, as is common, then the blessings of the interior Godforms can be linked with the name YHShVH. However, this alone is incomplete and the blessings only earthed with the presence of the name YHVShH, as shown in the Rose Cross ritual. The physical presence of an Adept as Hierophant fulfils the YHVShH function and grounds the full blessings into the real, everyday life of the initiate.

Finally, and most importantly, ceremonial initiations always require passivity on behalf of the initiate. The western lodge tradition over the centuries developed many ways to induce this passivity, from sensory deprivation to scaring the bejesus out of the poor sod being initiated. While this passivity becomes a little less in the deeper grades of some traditions, it is still a requirement. The initiate is literally acted upon by the officers and spiritual forces invited and invoked. The same effects simply cannot occur if we, in an act of self initiation, were to call the forces and seek to act on ourselves. The very act of invocation would alter our subtle bodies and we could not receive the various complexly created structures and energies the initiation is designed to instil in the same way, the way the initiation designed them to be received.

Theoretically it would be possible to magically consecrate a vast number of talismans prior to a self initiation ceremony, one for each Godform, tool, banner etc. Then during the self initiation ceremony we could move around and be mostly astrally and mentally passive, simply uncovering the talismans to call them into action etc. However, even if we were capable of such magical finesse (and still wishing to be initiated), there is still no way around the fact that we would be physically and etherically active. The passivity required for magical initiation is as important on these planes as much as the higher planes. To deny this is to partially deny the sacrament of the body, as I talked about in the last post on Astral Initiation.

If we as solo magicians wish to engage with the initiatory method of the Golden Dawn, and there are very good reasons for doing so, we need to find ways of affecting our subtle bodies in the same manner as the initiation ceremonies themselves. During initiation we receive a gift of many hundreds of hours of inner and spiritual work on behalf of the initiating team. It is these hours of effort and spiritual work, combined with the blessings of inner plane beings, that all come together into a coherent whole that will (hopefully) change the initiate. We simply cannot hope to achieve this by ourselves in a single ceremony, no matter how good we are at visualising various officers or Godforms around us.

The way forward is to analyse exactly what each initiation does and what changes it produces. Once we are clear of these we can then design a curriculum of magical practice designed to produce these changes within us. We may need to use different magical processes than those found in the initiation ceremonies, but provided the end result is the same there will be no difficulty. In short we can design an initiatory process that will, over a period of time, change our various subtle bodies and our psyche and result in us effectively being initiated into whatever grade we are working with. I have included detail instructions on this method in the much belated By Names and Images 🙂

It should be pointed out however, that our analysis of the grades needs to be done thoroughly and personally. We should not blindly take anyone else’s approach, not least of all because many of the published accounts are woefully inadequate. For example, even calling the GD grades from Zelator to Philosophus ‘elemental grades’ betrays a limited elemental bias that can rob us of exploring the other depths within these incredibly rich ceremonies. The outcome of such a bias can be seen in Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick or Israel Regardie assuming several hundred performances of the Opening by Watchtower was equivalent to these grades.

Finally, I think we need to honestly recognise that ceremonial initiation is a gift from an Order to an initiate but one most of us involved in the Western esoteric traditions may never receive and will have to learn to live without. This is simply because of the lack of sensible, accessible and properly functioning magical Orders within the West today. However, it is quite possible to create your own Order rather than waiting for one to appear or bemoaning the lack. To this end I sincerely recommend John Michael Greer’s Inside a Magical Lodge and Nick Farrell’s Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups. Seriously, forming a magical Order is not out of the question and may not only be spiritually fulfilling, but will also provide a much needed service. Think about it. Do it.

Snippet from the Golden Dawn Files

The following extract is taken from a lecture delivered by G.H. Sr Maim Choth (Mrs Felkin) to the Whare Ra Temple of the Smaragdum Thalassess in New Zealand, circa 1959.

The second sign, or Sign of Silence (left fore finger upon lower lip) made in these circumambulations makes a circle of power around the temple and the several circumambulations at the close of the ceremony affects those outside who are seeking the light and brings them, sooner or later into contact within someone in the Order who may be able to help them.

The Whare Ra Temple Building

What this is referring to is the magical intention and act to utilize the divine light channeled through the opening of the Neophyte Grade for the purpose of helping those seeking esoteric instruction to find a way of contacting the Order. The divine light directed through the Hierophant during the Opening of the Neophyte Grade is ordinarily returned to the realm where it originated (via the reverse mystic circumambulation). This practice instead directs it to a practical end. I imagine the Inner Order members present in the Whare Ra temple worked this magic through focusing the divine energy into an astral symbol or form, which was linked to the New Zealand group consciousness. Any other Golden Dawn Order could work the same way.

This practice appears to be an innovation of the Whare Ra temple in New Zealand. It is interesting then to note that despite the very small population base in New Zealand, Whare Ra became one of the largest and certainly the longest surviving (sixty years) Golden Dawn temples ever. While we can never know for certain that this action helped in Whare Ra’s success, it is at least a very interesting idea. 🙂

Debaptism, Initiation and the Golden Dawn

I have just read some more reports on the increasingly popular debaptism movement. It seems there are more and more folk out there who not only reject the religion they were baptised and/or raised in, but want to make a statement about it. Hence ‘debaptism’, where one attempts to get their name removed from the roll of baptised infants. It seems that most folk seeking this option are secular, self-declared atheists.

Now, of course I immediately headed (religion lover as I am) towards the obvious thought: Presumably if someone wants to get his or herself removed from the baptismal role it is because they no longer believe in Christianity and the mystical power of the sacraments (if they ever did). In fact they would no doubt see the process as nothing other than a slightly traumatic event in their infant life involving a large weirdly decorated room, a stranger in drag and some lukewarm water.

So why, if they do not believe Baptism means anything is importance being placed on reversing it? I can understand why Satanists and possibly some left-brain challenged pagans would want to ‘undo’ the effects of a church ritual – because at some level they believe it means something, or that it has an effect. But a true, secularised atheist – no matter how much I scratch me noggin I can’t see the logic. Unless there are hidden motivations, as I suspect is true of a lot of the ‘new atheism‘, to rebel against our childhood upbringing or what the religion represents to us.

The process of debaptism however is not straightforward. The Roman Catholic Church obligingly can issue a notice of formal defection from the Catholic Faith – the Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica – but is clear the process does not in anyway affect the status of the baptised person. This is because once baptised, always baptised. The act of baptism creates an indelible, eternal mark upon the soul. It can never be undone.

The same theological position is held, more or less, by the Anglican Communion (such as it is these days) and presumably by the Eastern Orthodox churches. In fact the Anglican Church does not have such a defection process as the Catholic Actus Formalis. In the latter a note is appended to the Baptismal role stating when and why the person left the faith. The Anglicans refuse to do even that, much to the ire of some secularists.

Now Baptism is a sacrament, which in Christian tradition are a class of rituals all on their own and largely viewed to have been instituted by Christ Himself. There are some interesting parallels as well as dissonances between sacraments and magical ritual. There is a body of thought that defines the difference between magical and religious ritual by the identity of the instigating agent. In magic this is the magician and/or her “higher self” and in religion it is the deity working through the priest/ess.  Often though the boundaries are blurred.

I am fond of quoting a western mystery saying that ‘a true initiation never ends’. Just like the sacrament of baptism. But how does all this work? How can the acts of baptism and initiation which are temporal and phenomenal actions create an eternal effect? In the case of baptism it is because as a sacrament there is an act of “inward and invisible Grace” occurring behind the scenes of the “outward and visible sign” of the ritual. In the case of magical ritual it is because of the inner workings which I harp on about all the time and which are the subject of (plug plug) my forthcoming book, “By Names and Images“.

I am far too timid to plumb the theological depths concerning sacramental theory and action but I can say a few things about the inner workings of Golden Dawn initiations. Of course, this is not the right venue to examine in depth the inner plane dynamics of the GD Neophyte ceremony but I wish to highlight certain principles often missing in its discussion.

Outwardly these initiations consist of a small group of women and men dressed in coloured sheets waving painted sticks around and solemnly intoning prose and poetry in the style of the King James Bible. Inwardly they are attempting to work enough transformation on the inner levels to change something – the initiate – forever. Well, at least that is what the initiating team are supposed to be doing, mostly however they are trying to get it all done correctly so to avoid the Hierophant’s displeasure and have never deeply thought about these issues. But, heck they are good rituals.

ctIn the ideal case though the Magic of the Light, a Golden Dawn group of formulae that finds its most visible expression in the Neophyte ceremony and it’s ‘Z Formula’ is correctly enacted to create life. Through initiation something that is dead is made alive once more, something that had non-existence is brought into existence, the darkness is made light. However, despite the publication of the bare bones of the formulae it really is not quite that simple.

Resorting to a modern subtle plane model let us examine a few things. Firstly, how is it possible to affect the initiate forever? To do so we must act upon the areas of the self of the initiate that last forever. There is no point in initiating the physical (Malkuth) body which starts to decay at the moment of death. Nor the Etheric  (Malkuth-Yesod) self which rarely lasts much longer. And shortly following death the astral (Yesod-Hod-Netzach) and mental (Tiphareth-Geburah-Chesed) aspects of the self transform and ultimately ‘die’. Anything below the Abyss is temporal, contingent and subject to change, transformation and ultimately death.

The Sephiroth of the supernal triad, functioning above the Abyss as a unity or singularly through connection to Kether are already beyond stain, disease and dysfunction. This aspect of the self, the Higher Genius does not need initiation, does not need bringing to eternal life. It already is.

I have found most esoteric and new age folk do not think much about this. We prattle on about ‘spiritual development’ and at the same time the ‘divine within’ that is perfect and God. So what are we ‘developing’ spiritually? We cannot develop the ‘divine’ within us since that, by definition is perfect, omniscient and eternal. And why would be want to try? So, are we developing our temporal selves which perish during the death process? If so, are we ‘reset’ in the next incarnation, all our ‘development’ having been wasted? (I’m assuming a belief in reincarnation here).

copy-of-pastoslid1Or do we have an interior aspect of self which is non-physical, that survives bodily death and which while not eternal, perfect and unchanging is in contact with our eternal ‘god within’? This aspect of self would then be a vehicle and a bridge between the eternal and the temporal, and its development would allow this eternal-temporal contact to be clear, strong and unhindered. If so, in the Qabalistic schema this aspect must relate to the mysterious sphere of Daath, Knowledge.

The Golden Dawn and the RR et AC, like much of western esotericism is divided in opinion: some factions think such an aspect of self exists naturally, others that it does not exist but needs to be first created by temporal actions of the ‘lower self’. Once created it can then serve function as the link between the temporal and the eternal. Again, in modern esoteric speak, we are here talking about the creation of the higher subtle bodies. Personally, I am in the latter camp – we need to create our own vehicle between higher and lower.

This state of existence is the awakening human, symbolized in the Golden Dawn as the Risen Osiris, Lord of Life Conqueror over death. Here the Golden Dawn draws on esoteric Gnosticism and its message is clear – the resurrection of the self needs to happen before not after death. From the Gospel of Phillip:

Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.

lisasimpsonangelOr more prosaically from Lisa Simpson:

But you know, Bart, some philosophers believe that nobody is born with a soul – that you have to earn one through suffering and thought and prayer, like you did last night.

The Magic of the Light within the GD Neophyte ceremony is the first stage of this process of building a method of connection with the Higher. It creates on the Daath level, and all true initiations function at that level, a ‘structure’ which is later added to and developed further. This ‘structure’ is connected to our eternal, undying aspects. It survives bodily and subtle body death not being of those levels. In any subsequent incarnation (if we believe in such things) it waits in the shadows as it were, in potential ready to be reactivated and function once more as a bridge between higher and lower. As non-initiates (and I use that word loosely as we do not need physical initiation to unfold and serve the One) we may get impulses and glimpses stemming from this ‘structure’. However, until we from our own ego based self open and surrender to the One with altruistic motivations we cannot access the structure as vehicle to the Higher.

We see here then a crucial requirement for the Magic of the Light to work – we need to be open to receive them from the higher motivations of the self. If we are not open then the initiation will not work. It is only our desire for Gnosis in order to serve that will create this opening. This is because true altruism and service is non-personal in nature; it enlarges our sense of self, opening us to the other. Of course within the various GD papers this is pointed out, but still many people miss it and wonder why they do not unfold as ‘promised’.

From the other angle, those initiating on the outer levels, the women and men must be open to these higher levels also. This is why initiates are required to initiate. Also – and this such a crucial factor I feel like making it stand out – for a Daath level structure to be created there needs to be true and pure action on the Chokmah-Binah level. Each ‘plane’ is ruled by the plane above and nothing can be created on an inferior plane without action stemming from the superior.

anubis3How is this accomplished in the Golden Dawn? The Magic of the Light is again clear on this, though once more it is often missed – it is through the action of the Gods and the One. The clothing in Godforms within the GD is more than an astral tool for directing energy. Rightly done, Godforms are vehicles whereby the blessings and grace of the Gods can move into the ceremony and at the higher levels interact to create the Daath structure we are discussing. In the Neophyte initiation the creation is given outer poetic expression in the journey of the candidate through the darkness and his restoration to the light and particularly through the words, “there are always two contending forces and a third eternally uniting them”.

Therefore for the Golden Dawn initiations, and indeed all forms of the Magic of the Light, to be successful, the Gods must be related to and opened to in the correct manner. There is a contemporary approach which views Godforms, and indeed Gods themselves, to quote John Michael Greer as “a formula”. This is not the customary approach and is another degeneration of tradition stemming from modernity and exacerbated by psychology.

So, I am back on my old theme – the need for a more reverent, religious and traditional approach to the Golden Dawn. Without it I am afraid we, as a community will be doomed to more manifestations of the flame wars, lineage stealers and dysfunction so prevalent at present. For reports of the latter go here. For a more traditional approach…well a sacramental church may be good place to start, even if you’ve already been debaptised. 🙂

Currents and Templates of Transformation within the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony.

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

Primary Currents

§    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.

Secondary Currents

§    The Osiris Current (specifically Asar-Amenti, Osiris of the Netherworld)

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.

By Names and Images – November release

This is duplicating information on the new page (above), but there is no function for tags on New Pages (why, WordPress, why?). So here this is:

Today I received the closest possible confirmation date for the publication of my long delayed book on the Golden Dawn, By Names and Images: bringing the Golden Dawn to life. My excellent publisher, Thoth Publications (a veritable David amongst the Goliaths) has given the time frame of, I quote “November”. I have been waiting so long for this to occur, it hardly seems possible and I guess I will believe it when the book is in my hands.

But it is exciting news. Despite the years of delay, for the first time the Inner Workings of every major Golden Dawn ritual will be available in print. The vast majority of this material has been kept secret for years or existed only in the Oral tradition. It will remain to be seen how the magical and esoteric community reacts to the book – if at all ) As long as there is not any lurid, “Golden Dawn Secrets Revealed” hype, I will be happy. The book has been written solely to allow people already practicing the Golden Dawn ritual to do so more effectively, and thereby be blessed by the amazing spiritual blessings the rituals offer.

I will be updating this page, By Names and Images regularly (I hope) on updates to process of publication – including (when appropriate) how to buy the book – naturally ) In the meantime, feel free to email Thoth Publications and encourage the speedy publication. Really, after the delays I could have gone elsewhere, but Thoth is simply one of the most respected publishers, and Tom works very hard. The book will be there in Thoth’s catalogue amongst my sources of inspiration like Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight. I am all giddy inside.

For those interested, below is a synopsis of the book can be found on the new page By Names and Images.