Friday, January 25, 2008

Secret Chiefs and the Golden Dawn

One of the things that has been part of the Golden Dawn since its original formation is the Secret Chiefs. Basically, the Secret Chiefs are beings that are considered to be the true rulers of the Golden Dawn system.

If they exist, I am quite sure that they do not like me. I have been in too many occult groups where the leaders have dodged behind the ruse of communication with the Secret Chiefs to claim to be able to do whatever they wanted to without any regard to the health of the group. To say that I am a loud protester is perhaps a understatement. Quite simply, I believe that whenever a Officer invokes the authority of the Secret Chiefs, things have gone very wrong and perhaps it is time to flee.

How did the concept of the Secret Chiefs get wrapped up in the system of Golden Dawn? Quite simply, they were a method (most likely a fraud) to justify the formation of Golden Dawn. Even today, there is a belief that only someone with a lineage and enlightenment can run an occult Order. Golden Dawn is based on a Cipher Manuscript; it does not actually give anyone the authority to start an Order based on it.

So Golden Dawn started off without any charter or warrant. The founders had no authority to start a new esoteric Order. Without a charter from a Mother Lodge, they needed something to be able to satisify the demands of the members for some form of legitimacy. What they decided to use was a old trick.

Today, we are more likely to associate the concept of the Secret Chiefs with Theosophy. But that is only partially true. The concept of enlightened beings, who are hidden from profane view, is a part of the beliefs of many spiritual systems. The Kabbalists have the thirty-six righteous, who guard the existence of the world (there are similar concepts in other systems).

And more importantly, for us, is the fact that certain branches of Freemasonry (such as the Strict Observance) included the concept in their systems. While many say that the concept of the Secret Chiefs come into Golden Dawn from Theosophy, I suspect that it is equally likely that the founders lifted the concept from Freemasonry.

So do the Secret Chiefs actually exist in Golden Dawn? Yes and No. Odds are that if you hear a leader saying that they are in contact with them, that things are already going bad (leaders who tend to invoke them are notorious for abusing their power). On the other hand, the concept of the Secret Chiefs does explain certain phenomena that one can encounter when using the system; though claiming authority from them is like building a system on the advice of the Qlippoth.

My personal advice to all is to treat the Secret Chiefs as a myth, and nothing more. If the Secret Chiefs really exist, they would chose vessals that are hidden, or at least more humble than those who shout their contact with them at the top of their lungs.

My recent inactivity

For information about how I have been inactive lately, check out my writer's blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pooling resources

One of the most important reasons for lodges to exist is to allow their members pool resources.

Historically, this motive was behind the large numbers of lodges that existed a century ago. The purpose behind many of them were the type of social safety net that we now expect our government to provide. My grandmother belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America, which was basically an insurance company with lodge rituals. And when the government started to provide the safety net, the lodges numbers started to drop.

But providing a social safety net is not the only goal that lodges can pool their resources towards. Like for instance, in Golden Dawn, a full set of lodge equipment can be time consuming and expensive to assemble. Plus many of the more valuable texts are out of print. A lodge can assemble to collect library resources for its membership, or to exchange reading material and lessons with one another.

And it is not just old books that are expensive. Some of the newer books can be expensive also. I was reminded of this fact the other day when I brought a copy of Steve Nichols "Enochian Chess Four Board Set." Privately published though Lulu (a Print On Demand Service), it is expensive (in part due to the fact that copies are made one at a time, rather than in the big lots major publishers use). In my review of the kit (the above link), I had mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I could see the reason for it to exist (it provides a quick way to make an Enochian Chess set). And the other hand, it is so expensive that I am not sure if it is good enourgh to justify the cost of it. Now if a lodge brought it, the entire group could use it and the per person cost would be lower.

So it is something to consider if you belong to a lodge; perhaps you want to pool resources together in order to defray the cost of assembling a decent library and set of tools.

(The issue of how to adminster such a library and tool set I will discuss another time.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not much going on

So far this year, I have not accomplished much. I have put up some articles (book reviews actually) up on Helium. I have done some scrying of some of the Enochian squares. I have continued my THAM coursework (Theroricus Adept Minor). Basic things, and barely worth noticing.

The two big projects that need to be done this year, the redesign of the lodge's website and the fleshing out of the correspondence course, have generally been going slow. If you look at the actuall progress made, you could say that progress has been nonexistent. I won't go that far, I know how I work--things get done in their own time.

For instance, at the moment I am brushing up on my HTML. Or more rightfully, learning the important bits for the very first time. That has placed the redesign of the website on the backburner. My freelance writing has not helped there either (I didn't expect something to occur that did--it may or may not result in some actual income for me).

And the whole membership drive needs to be revived sometime in the future. But I am not worried--yet--things look normal in my universe; and while things may be moving slow, it is to be remembered that a journey of a thousand miles occurs one step at a time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Book Review: Magical Pathworking: Tecchniques of Active Imagination (Nick Farrell)

In our modern age, many of the secrets of practical occultism, also known as magic, have been partially unveiled by writers. One of these secrets is the use of the imagination to create internal and external change.

Nick Farrell, in his book "Magical Pathworking: Techniques of Active Imagination", talks about using the imagination as an active tool for personal change. And tool it is; Nick Farrell goes into detail about how to use it to create change in both one's own inner world and in day to day life.

To read the rest of the review, click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

So far this year...

So far this year, I have accomplished nothing. As I was noting on my writer's blog, I just got done suffering from my wife's winter break which brought all the writing to a screeching halt. By now, I intended to have made some progress on redesigning (actually, it is more rewriting) the lodge's website.

I have made no progress on that project, or any of the others that are on my desk as a lodge officer. I would ask how the lodge's members feel about this, but I am afraid to.

Oh well, hopefully, I can get some of it done before the semester starts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year Resolutions

As I mentioned in my writing blog, I believe in New Year's resolutions. This year, I have just the one resolution (to increase my writing income). Or at least, that is the one I committed to at the moment.

I know that many occultists go for occult goals (attaining certain Grades, increasing lodge's membership, developing certain powers). I frown on goals that are exclusively occult related. I happen to live in a world where one needs to have one foot in both worlds (the occult and the ordinary). Because of that I tend to favor the ordinary type of resolutions (lose weight, make more friends, run a successful business), goals that fit into the so-called "real world" (exactly how real the "real world" is a whole different issue).

The reason for me to favor mundane goals ties into what I consider to be the purpose of Golden Dawn--infusing Light into the day to day world. We must not only gain a greater share of the Light (or rather awareness of the Light), but we must also learn to ground it in the world of Assiah. As a freelance writer, one of the Assiahic areas that I operate in is the running of a business (all good freelance writers are business people). If we can not bring our spirituality and magic to bear on pragmatic goals, then what is the point of us living in the material world?