Sunday, June 30, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls - by the Golden Dawn Community

by Alpha Omega Imperator
David Griffin
"A valuable addition to the library of any Golden Dawn Magician"
- David Griffin

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn saw its beginning in its present form in 1888, when Isis-Urania Temple Number 3 was founded by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Robert Woodman, and W. Wynn Wescott. 

The order is a late flowering of a Hermetic and Rosicrucian initiatic center in Continental Europe, whose lineages and teachings were carried to England by Edward Bulwar-Lytton and Kenneth MacKenzie.

Count Apponyi of Hungary was a Rosicrucian, representing an extremely ancient and secretive Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers would later refer to as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen in German). Apponyi transmitted to MacKenzie certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions with which to found what in 1888 became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Britain.

Upon his return to England, Kenneth MacKenzie founded this esoteric society that would later become the Golden Dawn under the original name of “Fratres Lucis” or “Brethren of the Cross of Light.” MacKenzie’s temple was Number one, followed by the Bristol temple of F.G. Irwin as Number two. Isis-Urania therefore became Temple Number three when the Golden Dawn was "founded" in 1888. The teachings for this order were coded using Trithemius “Stenographia” as “Cypher Manuscripts” that were later obtained by Wescott from MacKenzie’s widow following the latter’s death in 1886.

Although the Golden Dawn never attracted great numbers of initiates under Wescott, Woodman, and Mathers, the publication of the Golden Dawn's teachings by Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie nonetheless caused the Golden Dawn to impact and influence nearly every aspect of today's Western esoteric tradition. 

As a fitting testament to the enduring power of the Golden Dawn, the tradition has managed to survive and thrive even unto the present day, despite over 120 years of persistent take over attempts by rival Rosicrucian order, the SRIA.

Not only has the Golden Dawn survived, it has flourished, blossomed and given much diverse fruit. From the earliest offshoots, the Alpha Omega, Stella Matutina, and Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, to the myriad diversity of orders and temples that make up today's Golden Dawn community.

It is precisely our diversity that is the greatest strength of today's Golden Dawn community. From fully independent, Pagan-led orders like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega to Christian oriented orders directed by SRIA - From Thelemic Golden Dawn orders to the smallest independent temples - From Magical G.D. orders like the A.O. who remain under the direction and protection of the physical Secret Chiefs in Europe to mystical orders that channel "Secret Chiefs" as "Astral Masters" - today's Golden Dawn community comprises greater diversity than at any previous time in history. 

As Peregrin Wildoak writes in his Preface to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls:
There are more Golden Dawn orders, groups, and magicians today then ever before and the tradition itself is in an exciting phase of development and growth.
- Peregrin Wildoak
Seekers today are able to approach Golden Dawn groups that emphasize vastly different approaches: from magical to mystical, Christian, Jewish, Egyptian, or Pagan, to Nonsectarian and Ecumenical. Despite this great diversity, all of these groups are united by common Hermetic and Rosicrucian roots, and a common base line spiritual technology to offer today's spiritual aspirants.

Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls is a volume edited by Nick Farrell and published by Kerubim Press, a publishing house belonging to Golden Dawn members, Nick Farrell and Dean Wilson. Commentaries a collaborative effort by a wonderful selection of authors from a vast cross-section of our G.D. community, each bringing forth their own unique experience and point of view. Commentaries represents a noble effort to present to the public a snap shot of the kaleidoscope of our rich G.D. diversity. 

The book is organized by the numbers of the Flying Rolls, which essentially translates into chapters, with each chapter including one or more articles commenting on the content by various authors in the Golden Dawn community. As the commentary is separate from the Flying Roll material itself, one may easily read only the original Flying Rolls to come to a unique and personal understanding of the material without the colorations of commentators.

Although many of these Flying Rolls have been previously published by Francis King in Astral Projection, Ritual Magic, and Alchemy (Aquarian Press: 1987), there are several Flying Rolls in this new collection that have not been seen in print before. Moreover, there is a great deal of valuable information to be gleaned from the commentaries themselves, based on individual research or personal magical experience of the authors.

The book contains a Table of Contents at the beginning and a short biography of each commentator at the end. In a perfect world, I would have like to have seen each commentary also listed in the table of contents together with the author to make it easier for the reader to find a particular author's articles.

In the Introduction, there are short biographies written by Nick Farrell of the various Golden Dawn Adepts who authored the original Flying Rolls. To enjoy this book, one need not agree with everything that every commentator writes. For example, in Farrell's biography of S.L. MacGregor Mathers in his Introduction to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls, Farrell writes that Mathers "developed the Second Order and its teachings by Inner Plane communication with an entity Mathers believed was the archangel Raphael and used the magical name Lux e Tenebris."

There are several problems Farrell's thesis that Mathers saw his contact with the Third Order, Frater Lux E Tenebris, as the Archangel Raphael - and that this proves that Mathers did not see the Secret Chiefs as physical persons.
  1. Mathers (in primary sources) claimed to be in contact with the Secret Chiefs both astrally and physically, so the two notions are not in any way mutually exclusive.
  2. Even if Mathers saw Frater Lux E Tenebris as the Archangel Raphael in 1888, this is long before Mathers (in primary sources) claimed to have established physical contact with the Secret Chiefs in Paris in 1891.
  3. Primary sources indicate that the notion of the Secret Chiefs as physical persons was generally accepted by various Adepts following the G.D. schism of 1903, including the founders of rival Golden Dawn offshoot orders, A.E. Waite and R.W. Felkin, who counted among Mathers' greatest critics.
For a complete analysis of these problems as well as of the weaknesses in Mr. Farrell's research methods, see my introduction to Sincerus Renatus' well researched article, On the True Nature of the Secret Chiefs, that you can read here.

As outlined above and demonstrated in detail here, there are serious problems with the historical reliability of certain of Nick Farrell's biographies in his Introduction to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Roles. Nonetheless, Nick Farrell still deserves much praise for the initiative he took to make this book a reality. As regular readers of the Golden Dawn Blog already know, the Alpha Omega has led the way for years in launching one initiative after the other to foster ever greater harmony in the Golden Dawn community.

For example, we invited every Adept from every G.D. temple and order of the entire Golden Dawn community to the 2012 International Conclave of Golden Dawn Adepti (here). This year, the 2013 International Golden Dawn Festival (here) was additionally open even to members of the outer order of every temple and order of the entire G.D. community. To foster true harmony, we deliberately chose to exclude no one.

It is therefore wonderful to observe Nick Farrell follow in the Alpha Omega's footsteps and spearhead a community effort which resulted in Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls. It is even more precious to witness such fine contributions from so many varied members of our richly diverse Golden Dawn community. 

Authors who contributed to Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls each deserve much recognition and much praise. Commentaries is packed with fascinating information.

For example, there remains a persistent misunderstanding in the Golden Dawn community that Golden Dawn training should be free. This is not true, since anything of spiritual value is also of material value. Nick Farrell clears up this misunderstanding, by showing how things were done in the traditional Golden Dawn, when he writes:
"The cost of each flying roll was between 2/6 (half a crown) and 7/-. ... In a time where an average worker made £10 per year, and you could buy a reasonable sized house for £500, half a crown represented two thirds of an average workers monthly wage. Owning a full set of flying rolls would cost a Golden Dawn member about £5. If a group were to charge the same amount of money in today's terms, you would be expected to part with £1,400 [$2130] for a couple of sheets of paper...

Membership fees were half a crown [two thirds of an average worker's monthly wage] and then on top of that they had to pay for their papers, which seemed to be a similar price to the flying rolls."

- Nick Farrell
Thus, Nick puts the question of Money and the Golden Dawn to rest once and for all by making clear that in the original Golden Dawn, merely owning a complete set of flying rolls cost Golden Dawn members half a year's wage for an average worker. According to statistics published by the U.S. government, this would equate in 2012 to $21,347. On top of this came membership dues and initiation fees, and members were expected to pay for their grade documents as well.

In my opinion, it is the spirit of fraternal cooperation underlying the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls project that matters most, and the resulting book is a worthy testament to the diversity that comprises today's Golden Dawn community.

The republishing of the Golden Dawn's flying roles in yet another edition, however, also underscores the major challenge the Golden Dawn community presently faces. The greatest problem before us today is that virtually all of the 1888 Golden Dawn material already been published.

The good news is that for several years the now physical Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn's Third Order have been transmitting vast quantities of supplemental Golden Dawn material that finally give our Golden Dawn community essential new teachings and spiritual practices for the first time in over a century. These materials reinvigorate the Golden Dawn from the lowest to the highest grades of the order.

For Fratres and Sorores longing for something more than the published 1888 Golden Dawn material, the supplemental teachings and spiritual practices recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs to the Golden Dawn community through the Alpha Omega are already waiting for you! As always, the Alpha Omega remains willing to share these teachings and practices with all orders and temples and their members in our Golden Dawn community.

All you have to do is knock, and the door will open for you. Why not come in out of the cold?

Here are a some original highlights from various commentators contained in Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls:

Lisa Llewellyn, from the Universal Order of the Morning Star, writes regarding Flying Roll IV:
"What is most interesting about this working [contained in Flying Roll IV] is that it is a vision of the Divine Feminine, of the Goddess. This was occurring at a time when most esoteric societies, such as Freemasons and SRIA had all male membership and spoke only of God as "He and Him." Here we have a working revealed in the words of Soror SSDD and Soror F (et R) "The Great Mother Isis, the Isis of Nature.
This was at a time when ... society was really quite patriarchal."

- Lisa Llewellyn
Frater Yechida (Dean Wilson) of the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Golden Dawn, co-owner of Kerubim Press together with Nick Farrell writes regarding Flying Roll V:
"The key to this paper is that imagination, the construction of a virtual form within the mind, is real within the appropriate realm of its existence (the astral and higher planes). It may or may not have a physical presence, but that does not diminish its reality. To the dreamer the dream is real."
- Dean Wilson
Frater YShY of Thuban Temple writes regarding Flying Roll VI:
"[The] few lines [of Flying Roll VI] actually contain one of the most useful and potent formulas in all of the RR et AC, which is to invoke the highest first in every operation. The suggestion is simple, when working with the color red, it is a symbol of Will and hence Gevurah and Mars, and one should always invoke Kether first."
- Frater YShY
Regarding Flying Roll VII, Rachel Walker, of the Order of the Golden Dawn: Collegium Spiritu Sancti, writes:
"Mathers frequently said "Invoke and Invoke often." This does not merely refer to engaging in ritual invocation, but more importantly to invoking the Divine into every activity that we may become  part of the "living tradition" of magic where every enterprise is a magical act and an expression of the Divine."
- Rachel Walker
Regarding Flying Roll IX, Soror AID, Deanna Bonds writes:
"The tree of life is a geometric glyph that represents the structure of the Universe and everything within the universe as a fractal pattern of the whole. The tree of life can be viewed as creation itself, God, man, or anything in between."
- Deanna Bonds
Regarding Flying Roll X, Samuel Scarborough of the Ordo Stella Matutina writes:
"[Apotheosis is] to raise oneself closer to the Divine, or in the case of the Magnum Opus, to unite with our Divine Self, thus becoming more divine and closer to God."
- Samuel Scarborough
 Regarding Flying Roll XI, Jayne Gibson writes:
"The magical visionary arts can lead the magician to realms of intense beauty and knowledge. The methods of skrying, travelling and rising on the planes take time to master, but there are great rewards to be had after the work is done."
- Jayne Gibson
Regarding Flying Roll XII, James French of the "Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn" writes:
"Any practical occult work that is of any use should leave the operator feeling exhilarated. ... If one is drawing on cosmic energies, as should be the case if the Adept is diligent with her practice,  the result, again, ought to be ecstatic, not draining."
- James French
Regarding Flying Roll XIII, Joseph Max of the Thelema oriented, "Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn," writes:
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" ... is the most famous maxim of Thelema, and Crowley drew a clear distinction between "Will" and simple desire. The maxim does not mean simply "do what you wont," but rather to spend one's life discovering one's True Will, and following it."
- Joseph Max
Regarding Flying Roll XV, VH Soror QQDAM, member of the Magical Order of Aurora Aureae writes:
"The Golden Dawn is not a religion, nor does it purport to be. That is very clear. It is a fraternity, the common ground of which is the acceptance of the 'Hermetic ancient philosophy; as expressed in the Ritual, and Pictorial and Symbolic representations' which are given at the different stages of progress."
- VH Soror QQDAM
Regarding Flying Roll XVI, Ian Cowburn (Frater L), member of SRIS and the order of Brigita Beatica Britanniae, writes:
"As to the etymology of the word Rosicrucian, several derivations have been given. The more reasonable derivation is from rose and cross. This was undoubtedly in accordance with the notions of Andreae, who was the founder of the Order, and gave it its name, for in his writings he consistently calls it the Fraternitas Roseae Crucis, or the fraternity of the Rosy Cross."
- Ian Cowburn
Regarding Flying Roll XVII, Eric V. Sisco, member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) writes:
"In the summer of 1891, S. L. (MacGregor) Mathers, one of the founders of the Order of the Golden Dawn took a trip to Paris, and allegedly, by serendipity alone, happened to make contact with a group of Continental Adepts in the Bois de Boulogne....
...How the Cipher Manuscripts, for both the Outer and Inner Orders, managed to find their way into the hands of Wescott and Mathers respectively, remains a topic of much controversy.
- Eric V. Sisco
Regarding Flying Roll XX, Aaron Leitch writes:
"The Microcosm--Man is one the most important documents given to students of the original Golden Dawn ... It was intended as an Inner Order essay concerning the practical application of Qabalistic Psychology within the Order's system of spiritual rectification ... it is a veritable guide to the Great Work of the Adept."
- Aaron Leitch
Regarding Flying Roll XXI, VH Frater Philomancer of Thuban Temple writes:
"Advancing through the Outer Order is no small task. Every grade is a milestone, each initiation a rite of passage, until at length the initiate has conquered all obstacles through perseverance."
- VH Frater Philomancer
Regarding Flying Roll XXII, VH Frater Iaodaf Oias Vooan writes:
"We can choose to remain in blissful ignorance, or we can pursue the path of the magician. It can be our will to attach ourselves to the material plane and base our existence upon the attainment of material wealth and nothing more. Alternatively, we can study occult science, practice a system of high magic and eventually surrender our wills to the grand design."
- VH Frater Iaodaf Oias Vooan 
Regarding Flying Roll XXIII, Christopher Bradford, Frater AIT, former Alpha Omega member who left the Golden Dawn to practice Palo Mayombe following the tragic death of his son, writes:
"The inner worlds are limitless--and without structure, a vision is meaningless. Mental masturbation, instead of useful travel. Inspiration is like a bolt of lightning, and structure is the conductor enabling the transfer of its power to the magician."
- Christopher Bradford
Regarding Flying Roll XXIV, Lauren Gardner of the Ordo Stella Matutina writes:
"For those comfortable and familiar with the horary method of astrological divination, perhaps the only benefit to be gained from studying the original Flying Roll is the opportunity to note certain minutia of the technique used by members of the Order while interpreting horary charts."
- Lauren Gardner 
Regarding Flying Roll XXVI, Frater AM Olen Rush writes:
"We learn quite a few things regarding the Planets, Tattvas, and Elements through Flying Roll XXVI. One of the most significant and revealing of which is the relationship to certain Compound Elements."
- Olen Rush
Regarding Flying Roll XXVII, Frater Goya of the Circulo Iniciatico de Hermes writes:
"Although ritualistic and showy, the Golden Dawn was able, thanks to the brilliant mind of its creators, especially McGregor Mathers, to remove many of the magical techniques that were almost standard in Europe that period. The Golden Dawn was the first group imminently magical, who dismissed in its rituals any type of sacrifices involving blood."
- Frater Goya
Regarding Flying Roll XXVII, Sam Webster of the of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn writes:
"Theurgy is the core of what we do. Invocation, the assumption of God-forms, oracular possession, and working with spirits are all used in theurgy to spiritually advance the practitioner and make us 'consorts of the Gods'. Handed down through history, from Iamblichus who explained it, to Agrippa who fused it with Christianity and Kabbalah, to the Golden Dawn where it was developed into a school, this ancient stream of spiritual practice underpins all we do today."
- Sam Webster
Regarding Flying Roll XXVIII, Morgan Drake Eckstein of Bast Temple writes:
"It is not the magician who must be perfect and not concerned with the world; it is the mythical being that the Order is meant to produce, a person who is more than human, who is perfect and above worldly concerns and connections."
- Morgan Drake Eckstein
Regarding Flying Roll XXXVI, VH Frater Amoun Ra of Thuban Temple writes:
"To visualize is to project an idea in anthropolomorphic and symbolic terms to have better clarity when studying anything from Yoga to Ceremonial Magick. ... The more one spends their time developing these techniques, the more one opens their mind to receiving information from the Akashic Record."
- VH Frater Amoun Ra
Remember though, for Fratres and Sorores longing for something more than the published 1888 Golden Dawn material, the supplemental teachings and spiritual practices recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs to the Golden Dawn community through the Alpha Omega are already waiting for you! As always, the Alpha Omega remains willing to share these teachings and practices with all orders and temples and their members in our Golden Dawn community.

There is no need to leave your present temple. All you have to do is knock, and the door will open for you. Why not come in out of the cold?

Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

EXPOSED: Gold und Rosenkreutz Order: Complete Secret Documents

Title Page from 4th Degree G+RC Grade Documents

by Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega
Imperator David Griffin

Most people are aware that the Rosicrucian order of Alpha Omega holds vast archives of the teaching materials and other documents of historical and contemporary Rosicrucian orders.

One such order that is of great interest is the Gold und Rosenkreutz order (Golden and Rosy Cross, Rose Croix d'or, Rosa Croce d'oro, etc.), of which no documents of substance have ever been published. 

Cypher Documents of the Golden Rosy Cross Order

I have possessed for over two decades an entire collection of the grade documents from this order as well a vast collection of alchemical documents which, even though I decyphered and translated them into English long ago, I have until now refused to publish any, since as a traditional initiate I do not believe that the documents of any legitimate initiatic order should ever be profaned.

Signature of 1777 G+RC Imperator Phoebron

Additional documents I obtained last week regarding secret practices of this order, have caused me to reconsider my position, however, because it turns out that the G+RC has a very dark side.

I therefore obtained permission from the (physical) Secret Chiefs of the Alpha Omega's Third Order to publish a complete exposé of the teaching and instructional materials of the Golden end Rosy Cross order, here on the Golden Dawn blog.

Stay tuned for stunning revelations about the Golden and Rosy Cross order. So astonishing revelations, in fact, that even Police in Continental Europe might become interested in the matter.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SHOCKING TRUTH: Paganism Under Siege!

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

I recently read graduate student, Carlolyn Tully’s, article in The Pomegranate "Pagan journal,"  entitled "Researching the Past is a Foreign Country: Cognitive Dissonance as a Response by Practitioner Pagans to Academic Research on the History of Pagan Religions." You can read Tulley's entire article here. 

Caroline Tulley

In the interest of full disclosure I should first clarify my position in this discussion. First off, I am not an academic scholar, nor do I aspire to ever become one. The academy, with its anti-spirituality, materialistic paradigm, its prejudices, and its skewed paradigm based at times on research results manipulated for political expedience, is simply not my cup of tea.

I am, however, both Pagan and an initiate of a living Hermetic Pagan lineage. Since 1994, I teach and initiate in Hermetic Science. I presently lead the world's largest, most innovative, and fastest growing Golden Dawn order. I additionally serve as anthropological informant and public exponent of a continental European Hermetic Pagan initiatic center that has been around for a very long time.

Despite my lack of any academic pretense, the above indeed gives me a unique perspective and voice on certain aspects of Pagan culture.

I have neither investment nor even interest in debating the historicity of Hermetic Science or the continental European, Hermetic initiatic school I represent, although Hermetic Science indeed descends from a spiritual science that flourished already in ancient Egypt. What concerns me as Hermeticist is not the antiquity of our science, nor the puerile debates of the academy, but the astonishing efficiency of Hermetic Science for spiritual development.

Many Pagans in today's community still have a naive trust of academia. Part and parcel of such naïveté is the belief that anthropologists are unbiased ethnographers merely studying cultures. Thus Pagans blindly trust that their cultures are merely being impartially observed.
"The goal [of ethnography] is to collect data in such a way that the researcher imposes a minimal amount of their own bias on the data." [Brewer, John D. (2000). Ethnography. Philadelphia: Open University Press. p.10.].
Many Pagans remain blissfully unaware that there is another branch of anthropology, called "applied anthropology," devoted instead to the manipulation of cultures. According to van Willigen:
"Applied anthropology is "anthropology put to use", in which specific work is defined in terms of the problem and not the discipline" [van Willigen, John. (1993. Applied Anthropology: An Introduction. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, p.7]  
"Applied anthropologists are often also implementers, mediators, coordinators, administrators, evaluators, activists, and cultural and political "motivators" (van Willigen 1993: 4-5; Hill and Baba 1997: 90).
Frequently, applied anthropologists are hired by corporations for:
"social marketing (research-based strategy combining commercial marketing with applied social science to assist people to change to beneficial behaviors. (van Willigen 1993: xiv; van Willigen 1993: 157-207).
For those unfamiliar with the discipline of applied anthropology, simply put, it is where an anthropologist enters a culture with an idea of what in the culture needs to be changed, for example, to increase profit for a corporation, or for the implementation of government programs.

One example would be an applied anthropologist hired by Marlboro. Such an anthropologist would study a target age group (age 23 to 37, for example) to figure out what that age group thinks is cool and desirable. Marlboro would then use the gathered information to develop advertising campaigns that would portray smoking Marlboro cigarettes as cool and desirable in terms that the target population identifies with.

It was an applied anthropologist who told Nestle that people in underdeveloped countries view those in uniforms as more trustworthy than even relatives, thus causing this massive genocidal effort to take place in the name of profit.

Nestle’ s marketing techniques were later accused of bribing doctors, nurses, and many other medical officials to help promote the infant formulas. “Milk nurses” who were professional salespeople often dressed in white went from door to door selling and “educating” the new mothers about the infant formula.

"One notorious example of such tragedies [caused by applied anthropology] was the malnutrition and infant death that followed Nestle’s introduction of infant formula in the developing world. Often, Third World women could not afford to continue to buy formula in the amounts recommended, nor could they ensure that bottles were sterile or that water to mix the formula was pure. 
Formula often was heavily diluted with contaminated water, leading to infant diarrhea, malnutrition, and outright starvation. Women who relied on formula instead of breastfeeding could not switch back to the breast, since their milk supply dried up when not used. Nestle was aware of these problems, yet would not withdraw the formula from countries where these problems were manifest, triggering a massive global boycott of Nestle products. (Baba, M. Anthropology and Business. 2006. Encyclopedia of Anthropology. H. James Birx, Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Pages 83-117., reprinted here, p. 13).

So what might Pagan culture under siege by applied anthropologists look like?

Whereas ethnographers studying Paganism would be interested in unbiased, impartial observation of Pagan culture, applied anthropologists would instead be interested in manipulating the culture - steering and directing it in specific directions using to specific goals to implement a well defined, predetermined agenda.

Questions that naturally arise are:
  • Towards what goals would applied anthropologists want to steer Pagan culture?
  • And in the service of what agenda?
  • And for whom?
One could, for example, encounter a situation where applied anthropologists come in to figure out where Pagans, especially those book-learned Pagans who don't yet have access to an initiatic tradition, are most insecure and unsure about their own faith. The applied anthropologist would then fill it in with information manipulating the thinking of those Pagans.

As a purely hypothetical, yet concrete example, one could easily imagine applied anthropologists hired by the Catholic church to steer Pagan culture in a particular direction. What "social problem" might such anthropologists be hired to solve? Since nearly every aspect of Pagan belief is an anathema to Christianity at large, a general agenda might be simply to inhibit the growth and expansion of Paganism.

One specific goal towards accomplishing this agenda could be to attempt to render Pagan culture dependent on academia for its identity. Another goal could be to remove all ecstatic states from Pagan culture, whether entheogen or sexually induced. Yet another could be to convince the culture their religion is made up out of whole cloth. Yet a fourth specific goal could be to deprive the culture of any roots from its history by convincing the culture that any and all belief in historical roots is primitive and irrational (e.g. "cognitive dissonance").

The achievement of these goals would not merely inhibit the growth and expansion of the Pagan movement, but would also greatly aid in the achievement of the centuries old agenda of the church to completely obliterate the previous religious paradigm.

Having looked at essential differences between ethnography as impartial, unbiased observation and applied anthropology as direction, steering, and manipulation of a given culture, let us now consider Caroline Tulley's article in detail.

Caroline Tulley writes:
"What Pagans either do not know or conveniently forget, however, is that this identity relied on academic scholarship in the first place."
No, Pagan identity did NOT rely on academic scholarship in the first place. On the contrary, the culture's naive over-reliance on academic scholarship that makes the Pagan culture easy prey for applied anthropologists. To what degree this dependence may have been deliberately engineered is a question that deserves in depth research.

One thing that Tully (and others like her) gloss over or fail to consider is that there are two camps of Pagans: 
  1. Those who are book-learned and taught by other book-learned Pagans and 
  2. Those who are initiates of a living Pagan tradition (of which, Wicca is by no means the only one.)
Perhaps what Tulley says above may be true for book-learned Pagans. It is most certainly NOT true for Pagan Hermeticists or for Initiates of other Living Pagan Traditions.

Attempting to render Pagan culture dependent on academia for its very identity would certainly make an interesting goal for an applied anthropologist with the right agenda,  however.

Thus I ask Ms. Tulley:
  • What happened to the ethnographic method?
  • Would it not behove Tully, as ethnographer, to actually impartially listen to what Initiate informants have to say for a change?

Tulley then uses repetition as a rhetorical tool to further steer Pagan culture towards her goal of rendering Pagan culture dependent on the academy:
"modern Paganism has always been dependent upon academic scholarship—particularly history, archaeology, and anthropology—in its project of self-fashioning."
Rather than making an unbiased observation, Tulley instead here clearly states the direction she wants to move the Pagan culture in!

Really? Was not the last time ethnographers so blatantly told a culture what they are, from the comfort of their Ivory Tower and without actually doing any participant observational field research in the Victorian Era?

Tulley continues:
"Thus the Pagan Studies scholar can act as a “gobetween,” connecting academia and Pagan practitioners, functioning both to defuse antagonism and to introduce hybrid vigour into modern Paganism."
Since when is it the role of the ethnographer to "introduce" their goals into the cultures they are studying? When were the ethics of ethnography replaced with the aims of applied anthropology?

Pagan Studies' stated goal of introducing new elements into Pagan culture makes it a perfect cover for applied anthropology to manipulate, steer, and drive Pagan culture towards specific goals in service of predetermined agendas.

Since the mid 1950s, anthropology has taught, from the earliest 101 class to the most advanced post-graduate seminar, that the position of the ethnographer is to remain neutral with respect to altering the culture being studied.  In the field, much time and energy is spent in preventing aspects from the culture of the anthropologist leaking over into the culture being studied and forever altering it in ways that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, lead to artificial culture change.

With Tulley we have an anthropologist loudly and proudly declaring her goal to "introduce hybrid vigour into modern Paganism."

Judging by Tulley's article, Pagan Studies should perhaps better be called the New Victorian Anthropology since it takes the same Imperialist stance that “We” know better than “They” and “We” shall save “Them” from "Themselves" by coming to a more clear historical understanding of "Their" culture than "They" have, and purposely drive "Their" culture in the direction "We" have identified as correct on the basis of "Our" historical research.

What I find most disingenuous about such deliberate "steering" of Pagan culture are the subtle manipulations of the weakest members of our Pagan community, who may be new to the faith, alone in their search, and have not yet had access to true initiatic science, but only to published materials.

Moreover, Caroline Tully is not the only anthropologist who has been steering Pagan culture towards "infused" goals either. Professor Sabina Magliocco, Chairperson of the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Northridge, has been spending a great time of late preaching to Pagans not only about the nature of their history, but also infusing fire and brimstone fear of Pagan Fundamentalism into Pagan culture as well. The question then naturally arises, towards what goals is Maglioccco steering Pagan culture - and in the service of what agenda?

Sabina Magliocco

Using the manipulative power of repetition, Tulley repeats Magliocco's fundamentalism meme when Tulley writes:
"The perception of academics as outsiders has resulted in fierce boundary-policing by Pagans, and resistance is framed in terms of protecting religious rights and the expression of outrage at what are perceived as offensive interpretations of a past that Pagans imagine is their own. Essentially it is fundamentalism and stems from fear of removal of a carefully constructed Pagan identity."
We here see Tully working in tandem with Magliocco's goal (here) of "infusing" (as Tulley calls it) fear of creeping fundamentalism into Pagan culture.

Is it fundamentalism when the Bongo-Bongo native stands up and says "Hey, quit trying to define our culture. If we like eating witchetty grubs and honey ants, that is our business!"?

Why then is it fundamentalism when Pagans tell anthropologists that we understand our culture in our own unique learned and shared way of thinking, feeling and behaving - and do not need applied anthropologists trying to define and change it for us - according to their own interpretations of what they think would be best for our collective culture?

What do Pagans need to do in order for anthropologists to treat Pagan culture in a manner ethically appropriate for responsible ethnography? Do we really have to start wearing bones in our noses?

Caroline Tully continues:
"I propose that trying to understand academic research in history and archaeology is, for many modern Pagans, akin to visiting a foreign country where the inhabitants speak an indecipherable language."
Is it the job of ethical ethnographers to attempt to convert a culture they are studying to the culture of academia? Here we see Tully's goal of making Pagan culture dependent on academia again. Why is Tully attempting to teach Bongo-Bongo natives to speak English, instead of herself learning to speak Bongo-Bongo?

Tulley continues:
"I argue that the new interdisciplinary category of Pagan Studies scholar—hybrid offspring of the academy and Paganism - is uniquely suited to bridge this communication gap."
This new so-called Pagan Studies is a perfect cover to covertly implement the methods of applied anthropology to more effectively manipulate Pagan Cultures - in the same manner applied anthropologists steer cultures in the service of Nestle and Marlborough.

The greatest problem I see with this newly invented Pagan Studies perspective is that the anthropologist no longer remains an objective observer and a neutral third party. Applied anthropologists deliberately manipulating and steering cultures can be as dangerous as any conquistador or missionary. Franz Boaz and Margaret Mead must be spinning in their graves!

Tulley continues:
"this paper will highlight examples of combative interaction between Pagans and academic researchers"
If there is antagonism between Pagans and anthropologists, isn't it because anthropologists, rather than listening to Pagans like responsible ethnographers, are instead busy "introducing" their own agendas into the culture?

It is NOT the job of the ethical ethnographer to teach the Indians how to grow corn! 

It is their job to LISTEN to what the Indians have to say about how they feed themselves. 

Tully next suggests that "cognitive dissonance" is what is causing Pagans to react negatively to new revelations about their culture by contemporary scholarship. Why is this anthropologist lamenting the fact that the Pagans are not behaving like good little savages and doing what the obviously superior anthropologist says?

"Why are those Indians hunting buffalo again instead of sitting on the reservation eating flour like they are told? I mean the nerve of these informants!  Participating in their culture and ignoring the anthropologists!  After all, anthropologists know best and the culture will certainly be better off once they start listening to our superior methods for living in this modern world!"

Tulley's comments about "cognitive dissonance" imply that Pagans know their belief system is wrong and are irrationally seeking ways to ignore academic research in order to bolster their improper learning. Frankly, it’s meant as an insult to Pagans. The term itself was first coined to explain the stupidity of UFO believers in light of conflicting evidence.

I thought that telling a Bongo-Bongo native what their culture "really means" went out of style with corsets and top hats, but it seems to have crept back into academic vogue in this new, applied steam punk nightmare of a reconstructed Victorian anthropology!

If someone wants to believe in the Jedi religion (now official in the UK), they will obviously experience cognitive dissonance as they know their “religion” is based on fantasy. However,  that’s their business and the role of social psychology is to understand these people rather than change them. It is the job of the clinical psychologist to help people deal with destructive beliefs, not anthropologists. What Tulley is expressing is a form of academic ethnocentrism.

I propose that, in reality, many Pagans are merely fed up with anthropologists trying to manipulate and steer their culture rather than listening to what actual Pagans from both camps have to say about themselves and their culture. 

"Let us civilize these poor, ignorant savages!"

Tulley continues:
"What Pagans either do not know or conveniently forget, however, is that this identity relied on academic scholarship in the first place."
No, Pagan identity did NOT rely on academic scholarship in the first place, although Tully and others like her seem obsessed with making Pagan identity become dependent on academia.

Tulley continues:
"When a situation arises in which Pagans do not like what they hear from academics, the conceptual spaces from which they can speak and be heard, and from where they produce their own counter-narratives, are primarily the Internet, self-publishing and the Pagan conference. Particularly in the case of the Internet, the material Pagans produce ends up being more widely distributed and easily accessible than academic texts can ever hope to be. It is at these sorts of sites that some Pagans have assumed the discourse of oppressing the perceived academic coloniser."
"How dare those ignorant Bongo-Bongo savages try to tell us how their culture is? These Bongo-Bongo have the nerve to actually insist on having their own voice in how their culture is defined. How dare they?"

Tulley continues:
"It is obvious that many Pagans, including those that so vehemently oppose Hutton’s work, are unaware of the evolution of witchcraft scholarship. Nor do they understand the rigors of historical methodology."
"Oh these poor ignorant savages. We anthropologists know what is best for them. They should just shut up and let "we who know better" steer their culture in the direction that we know better is best for them."

Tulley continues:
"Pagan opinion is influential because of the heavy reliance on the Internet with its disseminatory power, as well as the self-publishing boom."
"How dare those Bongo Bongo savages speak out and disagree with how I am defining their culture for them!"
Tully writes:
"Pagans risk being stereotyped as “noble savages.”
I can not believe Tulley really wrote that. But she did. Then she continues:
"Not all Pagans want to fossilise in a pseudo-primitivist mental utopia."
And here the other shoe drops. The above statements perfectly represent the arrogance of so-called Pagan Studies as New Victorian Anthropology towards Pagan culture.

Tulley even then repeats:
"Pagan Studies scholars have the capability to invigorate Paganism from within."
Since when did it become the role of the ethnographer to steer a culture from within according goals set by anthropologists? Tulley's hidden agendas seem quite transparent now.

Then, just to bring home her utter disdain for the ethics of ethnography, Tulley even repeats her desire to manipulate and steer Pagan culture yet once again:
"The Pagan Studies scholar infuses Paganism with hybrid vigour."
The time has come for anthropologists manipulating Pagan culture to finally be honest about what they are doing and quit pretending they are merely impartial and unbiased ethnographers. The time has also come for such anthropologists to state clearly toward what goals, for what agendas, and for whom they are manipulating Pagan culture. Or has the time not even come for such New Victorian Anthropologists to quit trying to manipulate Pagan culture all together?

After all, Pagans have been doing quite well without them for a VERY long time.
Dear Ms. Tulley,
Please understand: We Pagans that you treat like "poor ignorant savages" want neither your baby formula, cigarettes, nor even your genetically modified corn.
It is not your role as ethnographer to "infuse," manipulate, or steer our Pagan cultures towards goals YOU think are best for us. 
So please take your baby formula, cigarettes, and GMO corn back to your bosses at Nestle, Marlborough, and Monsanto and tell THEM to drink, smoke, and eat them!
We "noble savage" Bongo-Bongo Pagans are quite content drinking breast milk from our Great Mother and eating our witchety grubs and honey ants!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Personal Temples: A Personal Temple from Salt Lake City, UT

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

Most readers are already aware the Alpha Omega has for nearly a year led the way yet once again, by providing guidance for Individual Practitioners of the Magic of Light.

In the first phase of this initiative, the A.O. began fostering the creation of Personal Magical Temples across the world, with the goal of lighting "1,000 Points of the Magic of Light." This initiative was met with kind words and warm appreciation from across the entire Golden Dawn  community.

Here is what two of our readers are saying:
"I am just loving this project. Thank you Mr. Griffin for the resources that you are unveiling to us all :). Maybe I can feel little bit more comfortable about what I'm doing knowing that there are many others out there doing the same thing. Many times I forget that and kind of give up." - Brian Jones II 
"Good news for solitary practitioners! We are just waiting for more. Thank you!" - Frater C.F.

The"1,000 Points of Light" initiative has exceeded all expectations. We are continue to be inundated with photographs of Personal Temples from around the world. Rest assured that over time, each and every one of them will eventually be published.

This time, Soror S.A., from Salt Lake City, would like to share her Personal Temple with readers of The Golden Dawn Blog. Soror S.A. writes:
"Thank you for the opportunity to share photos of my personal temple with the Alpha Omega, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. And thank you Imperator L.e.S. for the work you have done and for the Order website, including the Contemporary Golden Dawn Articles/Hermetic and Rosicrucian Timeline.  
My temple (the first of which was in Kelly, WY) is located in Salt Lake City, UT. It is the result of regular and disciplined work with Donald Michael Kraig's, "Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts" beginning some thirteen years ago -a book which changed my life, my purpose and my understanding of all things in the most absolute way. Expressed briefly, the results were so effective that I deemed it prudent to put my work "on hold" for a period of time by limiting the nature and frequency of certain rituals... 
Once again, I send my deep appreciation for the opportunity to bring my own little temple into the light of the greater Golden Dawn community, and that of the Alpha Omega, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." 
Sorer SA
Salt Lake City

Keep up the good work, Sister!

We invite you to share your personal temple with our readers as well. You can send us a photo of your personal temple here.
(Please try to keep the file size somewhat small. Also, please let us know if you would like your name or motto to appear. Otherwise, we will include only the city. 
We further invite you to post your feedback and personal magical experiences in the comment's section below. Many of these will be featured prominently in future blog posts, as was the feedback from magicians above.)
The 1,000 Points of Light initiative is just one small way the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn are serving the needs of the greater esoteric community. If you can think of others, please do let us know! The idea for this marvelous 1,000 Points of Light initiative came from one of our readers from California!

We are here to help you meet the needs of your magical practice.

Remember, in the ...

Alpha Omega
We make Magicians!

Click HERE to explore our Outer Order, undergraduate level Magical training program, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn!"

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Golden Dawn Saga: Episode 15: Conclusion

by Golden Dawn Imperator
David Griffin

When I first set out to write the Golden Dawn Saga, many months ago, I knew I was entering into a dark and mysterious world, where no one could see what lay ahead. What I witnessed during the ensuing months changed my life forever.

I have always been a bit of an adventurer of the Spirit - an explorer of the Soul. But together with the positive side of the heroic aspect of my nature, there still remained dark corners for me to uncover. 

Now, at the end of this Saga, I have learned that I am no longer a restless lad of 20, ready to risk everything along the way in my spiritual quest. 

Having been displaced from my home due to this Saga last Summer and forced into hiding by death threats was a sobering experience. It taught me just how much I love both my wife and my son, and that putting them in harm's way is simply not worth it. Watching them suffer because of the revelatons of the Saga was just too hard to bear.

Some may think me cowardly for giving priority to the safety of those I love. 

This is the choice I have made though, and I am sure it is the right one.

So, gentle reader, the Golden Dawn Saga comes to an end with but a sigh in the happy knowledge that my family is safe once again.

And what the most important lesson I learned along this journey?

Are some things not best left in dark corners where no light shines ...

... and some things left unsaid?

The End.