(Note: Some readers may have read this already. I thought that the issue is important enough that I shared it on one of the Golden Dawn forums.)
A common event during the birth years of Orders, especially those which arise out of schisms, is the founder of the Order writing a document(s) that states why their Order is different and better than the other Orders that one could join. Part of the reason for this is economical politics (all Orders of a certain type and style tend to draw off the same possible membership pool), and partly is due to ego issues (the founder of a new Order is normally doing it because he thinks that he is more capable of running an Order than the people he just broke away from).
That is what we see happening on the surface level; but there is something else going on that many people may not be aware of, which is how this is affecting the egregore of the group.
Now the term “egregore,” in the oldest references that I have been able to trace it to, referred to the occult theory that each nation had an angel (god) which was its patron and guardian. This term and concept later ends up being applied to a mystery of the esoteric Orders.
Now the truth of the matter is that any group of people that gathers together will generate an egregore. Book clubs, businesses, military units, soccer fans, football fans, in fact any gathering of people will create an egregore. Most egregores are temporary things; unfortunately, they are the most primitive and the most dangerous in many ways. Riots tend to be caused by primitive egregores which is why trained Adepts tend to avoid large crowds.
It is possible for Initiates to keep themselves out of spontaneous egregores, and to be able to stand back and observe the effects of the larger ones. It is a skill like any other and can be taught; the base line information on how to do it is hidden in basic lodgekit.
Now in Golden Dawn, we use our egregore all the time. We use it for extra power during ritual, use it to help guide us, and to store excess energy for later. Call it a god, call it an angel, call it an energy bank. Except that we are not all using the same one.
Each Order has its own uber-egregore (I am open to suggestions for revision of this term, but it says what I want it to say) which acts as a template for the egregores that its daughter lodges create. This is one of the first things that an Order creates, knowingly or unknowingly. (This is not to be confused with the Arch-egregore that sits above all of them, and supports the tradition itself.)
And the founders of Orders do their part to differentiate their uber-egregore from the others. In part, this is done though changing the name of the Order, its rituals, and teachings, so that it doesn’t match other Orders.
The reason for this differentiation is that every time a member of the Order generates excess energy in a ritual, the egregore absorbs it. Think of it as a direct deposit device. It knows what energies to absorb and which to ignore by how the energy was generated. And members of Orders learn to generate energy in very specific ways.
(This is by the way one of the reasons that lineage and hierarchy is important; lineage is the wiring of an initiate to send excess energy to a specific egregore based on a specific uber-egregore, and one’s position in the hierarchy helps determines how much access that one has to the energy that has been previously stored.)
So for instance, when Paul Foster Case issued his statement that Enochian led to bad things, that statement helped led to the BOTA egregore ignoring the energies raised by Enochian methods (provided of course, that all the Enochian has truly been removed from the system) and not storing that energy. It would lead to a certain amount of paranoia about the energies in later members (which makes me wonder about Case himself).
You can also see differentiating statements in the works of Mathers, Fortune, and Crowley. I, myself, wrote a couple of statements at the beginning of Bast Temple that ended up affecting the system.
The differentiation of the egregores and the Orders leads to all types of interesting effects. But the most important is that the energies raised by my lodge do not flow into the energy bank of another group.
Now, I would like to explain why I have been thinking of this lately. There has been a lot of noise about differences in techniques and ethics practiced by different groups (in fact, the Denver community now has three lodges, all with a different opinion about the matter). And some people think this is a bad thing.
It is not. I am grateful for these differences. As long as these differences exist, everyone interested in Golden Dawn can find a group suitable for them. It is only when these differences disappear that we will end up with a monolithic single Order, and a whole bunch of people will be excluded from the tradition. Ironically, I would be one of the ones excluded, due to my pro-gun, pro-militia, pro-choice, and semi pro-death penalty opinions. There is also the issue of my big mouth. And quite honestly, I like being part of Golden Dawn.