Saturday, January 9, 2010

Legalese induced coma

{I advise my loyal readers to skip to the final paragraph; it is all you really need to read here.}

Today I spent an hour hacking my way though some legal documents that got posted to the world wide web. And honestly, they almost put me into a coma. They made my day at jury selection look like a cakewalk.

I found these documents though a post that David Griffin did. I read them because I felt obligated to read them; nobody else in my lodge is going to bother reading them.

None of us got involved in Golden Dawn, nor any Golden Dawn-based group just so that we can read legal documents. Or at least, I hope none of us did. Then again, there are the writings of Waite...Crowley and Mathers are not much better...and I do know a couple of people who have read the Talmud. Well, I still hold out hope that none of us joined up to read legal documents.

And what did I learn that I did not already know? Just one thing. I am not completely wrong when I refer to Robert Zink's Order as the Hermetic Order of the Morning Star International (a habit I developed during my first encounter with its membership which feels like a century ago).

{Disclosure: I have never been a member of the HOMSI, nor have I ever been a member of Griffin's A&O.}

Reading the documents, I found myself thinking once again that the trademark dispute had nothing to do with esoterics, and everything to do with business.

Of course, let's be honest: My well of thinking is poisoned here. My father started a produce business under the name Farmland Produce. He had to change the name of the company because it was too close to the trademarked name of another company (does anyone really need me to give them a free plug?).

And my advice to anyone who choses to read these legal documents, Griffin's and Zink's postings, or anything else related to this dispute is to read it though the lenses of money making and business. Just presume that all statements are about increasing one's own ability to gain members while decreasing another person's ability to do the same. This statement is not completely true, but I feel that enourgh of the smoke and thunder is directed towards that purpose to justify the advice. {Disclosure: I am writer; part of my income comes from pageviews; do I need to say more?}

Correction notice: 13 January 2010: After reading a comment by VH Soror FSO, I decided to change "make money" to "gain members" in the previous paragraph. Reading her comment, I realized that the non-profit Orders are after members, and not money; hence the correction.


Soror FSO said...

*sigh* Normally I try to avoid commenting or being involved in these type of posts, but as I am directly affected by it... I feel like I must comment. No one in the EOGD (HOMSI) makes money off of the Order. In fact all monies go to Temple upkeep, and usually the Adepti of the Order donate their own money to keep things running smoothly because we don't charge enough in dues to keep all the Temples open. Our dues are $10 a month. We do this so that everyone has the opportunity to learn the Golden Dawn system, even if it is at a sacrifice for ourselves. I know it sounds crazy when you see Robert Zink selling c.d.'s and doing workshops etc,...but how much do you think it costs to run five full Temples? We're talking rent for warehouses, bills for electricity, water, gas,trash, supplies, repairs, websites, and Temple furnishings...not to mention the week long event, Power Week, that we host every year which racks up quite a bill. My husband and I are both Adepti and we sacrifice a lot of time, energy, and money so that others can learn the Golden Dawn system, have Temples to be initiated at, have proctors on call etc. This is very personal to me because I budget our groceries like a champ and shop at consignments stores, and do "toy trades" with neighbors so that we can make sure people have a Temple to have classes and initiations at. No one asks us to do it but we do it happily because we have been blessed by the personal growth that occurs in this system and want others to have the ability to experience it as well. The only thing that rankles me is to hear about how greedy we are after I've watched so many families sacrifice in this Order for the sake of others.

As far as the legal proceedings are concerned, they were mostly initiated by Chic (bless his heart, and his pocketbook) so that the Golden Dawn name would not be controlled by any one person...a privledge that the smaller Orders enjoy because of the legal battles that Chic and HOMSI endured for years. You did not have to pay one cent to protect the Golden Dawn name...we had to raise/donate money in our Order, and Chic gave over $40,000 out of his own pocket! I understand that the smaller privatly run groups often think the bigger groups are trying to "take over" but really we were just as small as you once, and just happened to be blessed with the opportunity to grow, and our size allowed us to have enough people to raise enough money to make sure the Golden Dawn wasn't taken over in the United States. So when people search "Golden Dawn Denver" and find your website...its because of the sacrifice that us "Big Name Orders" had to make.

My hopes are that I have not offended, but instead been able to give you a little bit of a different perspective on this situation.

May Adonai Bless You,

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

Ok, you are was a bad choice of words. I should have said "members" instead.

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Cara et V.H. Sor. F.S.O.,

Reading your blog I have come to respect you truly as an Adept. Also I do believe that you and your Temple are doing a wonderful job of transmitting L.V.X. and creating a better world through doing healing, as I have come to understand reading your blog. I really commend this and admire your work, and the work of your Fratres et Sorores.

Therefore it saddens my heart when you lately have passed off comments on your blog and here on Morgan's where my Order (the HOGD/AO) are being misrepresented as some sorts of Boogy Man Order of the Golden Dawn. And that my Fratres et Sorores, myself and my Chiefs, constitues "bad apples" in the G.D. community. Do you really believe that this kind of reasoning will help the G.D. all?

And in this latter respect I won't even repeat what you already have said regarding the efforts made by you and your husband, and your Temple, etc. What you have said may be used as a good description of how Golden Dawn Temples are run, or are supposed to be run, regardless of organisation.

In short, we in the HOGD/AO are doing our part in the Great Work of raising the sparks of God, as you are, and Morgan's Temple as well.

Behind of whatever you may have come to understand regarding our Order through the Internet, there is a cadre of members who are doing more than what should be expected of any member of any Order. In short, we all (you, me and Morgan) carry our crosses to Save humanity and our Planet.

So let's end this finger pointing against each other once and for all. I will be honest now and say that I have held grudges against the HOMSI/EOGD and its Chief in the past. But this is the past.

People like yourself have made me change my mind. Even if I differ in many respects with you and your Chief of how the Golden Dawn should be represented in this new millenium, I honestly believe you actually are doing a fine job in doing the Magic of Light. Thank's to you, and you should be proud of this.

But also to be honest, I'm sick and tired of hearing theese simplistic explanations as of lately. Are you seriously believing that we ever were or wanted to be in a position to refute people like Morgan and his hard working private Temple to use the Golden Dawn name? C'mon!

Our Order have never filed any suit against anyone private Temple or small Order for using the words "Golden Dawn" in their name, and never will. On the contrary we encourage people devoted to the Golden Dawn to join forces and start their Temple right away. Personally I believe that a very important part of the future Golden Dawn lies in the hands of these private and small Temples. And I will personally devote time to counsel anyone group starting their work, if asked to do so.

Remember that it was actually the HOGD/AO who were sued by another party, which your Order (HOMSI/EOGD)support. So the only Golden Dawn Order who were threatened by the original suit were the HOGD/AO. All we have done is to defend the right to use our name.

So one of the biggest misrepresentations of this whole legal battle is that it was done to protect the little guy from being "taken over" by the HOGD/AO.

Contrary to this belief the HOGD/AO believs in the plurality of the Golden Dawn community.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe
V.H. Fra. S:.R:.
Imperator of the Alpha et Omega Temple No. 9 in Sweden (HOGD/AO)

Soror FSO said...


I agree with what S.R. says...there really are no simplistic explanations for the situation. There are so many layers to it, so many far-reaching ripples in the pool. Because of this and our weariness of the situation it seems our experiences, impressions, and beliefs are exerting their control over us when really as magicians we should be seeking to have control over them. I think this blog proves how exasperated we all are at even the thought of this mess.I say, let's return to what we do best, and what we enjoy (scholarly research and practical magic), and leave our personal feelings to ourselves... or express them in private to each other. I respect you both as colleagues and would much rather interact with you as such enjoying watching the fruits of our labors blossom in the growth of ourselves and others. Let's seek to understand rather than to be understood and if that doesn't work...let's seek to not give a shit anymore :)

With Deepest Respect,