I have been thinking a lot about "recognition" lately.
First, there is the ongoing drama in the EOGD. When news came out that Robert Zink was voted out of the EOGD, several of us came out and siad a few words. David Griffin (HOGD/A&O) came out in support of the vote. Nick Farrell noted that the EOGD was not set up to allow such a vote; he also stated that a new name and system was probably in order.
Bast Temple took a vote on it, and decided to continue with our current policy of recognition---we recognize individuals, not groups. (There actually some history beyond that policy; it allows us to avoid recognizing the bad eggs in good groups while allowing us to recognize good people in bad groups.) Needless to say, the Bast Temple vote pleased no one outside the pale of Bast Temple. Given the news coming out of the EOGD, I would still vote the same way---recognition to individuals and not groups.
Second, there is always the ongoing debate in Golden Dawn about who is legitimate Golden Dawn and who is not. A lot of that debate depends upon where you think the roots of Golden Dawn lay, and where you think it should be going. Needless to say, those who do not see eye to eye do not recognize one another.
Third and the subject of this post is a recent blog post about William Coon II, the Supreme Magus of the SRICF, saying that the SRICF of America and the SRIA of England have the right to decide which Golden Dawn Order is the "official Golden Dawn." Thumbs up to David Griffin for bringing that one to my attention.
[SRICF: Societas Rosicruciana in Civiatibus Foederatis; SRIA: Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia]
Do I believe that Coon said that? Yes, I do.
Especially if this is the same William Coon II, who is Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the USA. For an example of his authority, consider his opinion about another group that he consider to be an "invasion of terrority" threat.
The Great Priory of America is an unrecognized Templar Order operating within the United States of America, in direct conflict with Section 3 of the Constitution of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America. Accordingly, membership in the Great Priory of America is incompatible with membership in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America and any Grand, Subordinate, or Constituent Commandery under its jurisdiction or owing allegiance to the same.
For more about this situation, check out the Freemasons For Dummies blog.
Do I believe that he considers that the Golden Dawn is an "invasion of terrority" threat? Yes, I do.
But does the SRIA and SRCIF have any right to determine what Golden Dawn Order if the "official" Order? In my opinion, no.
I do understand their logic. Kenneth Mackenzie, Samuel Liddell "MacGregor" Mathers, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman were all members of the SRIA. Robert Felkin and Arthur Edward Waite were also members. All the founding members of the original Order, the (best candidate, IMHO, for) creator of the Cipher Manuscript, and leaders of two of the splinter groups were members of the SRIA. Logically, especially if you believe that Golden Dawn was started out as a forgery, the lineage of the first generation of Golden Dawn came from the SRIA.
Now, Griffin argued against Koon using the official history of the Golden Dawn as his Order (HOGD/A&O) tells it. Honestly, I do not have enourgh information to decide whether that history is true or not.
But I do have enourgh information to argue that the creator of the Cipher Manuscript (who I believe is Mackenzie) and the three founders of the Isis-Urania (Westcott, Mathers, and Woodman) had no intention of making the Golden Dawn answerable to the SRIA.
First, the Golden Dawn was formed during the mushrooming of the lodge system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There were Grand Lodges forming all types of lodges. It was a big business with plenty of potential members (by business, I mean that there is a certain economies involved that are best explained by treating the lodge system as a type of business model---not all lodges were created for profit). Most (if not all) Grand Lodges declared their independence.
Second, the Golden Dawn allowed non-Christians, non-Masons, and women to be members. At the time, these were charter-revoking acts if your group was SRIA---and probably still are (not being a member of the SRIA, I am guessing here).
Third, whether you believe that the Sprengel letters are legitimate or fake, the letters tell us that our roots are in Europe and that the Golden Dawn is on its own---we are not of the SRIA, and the parent body wants nothing to do with us. One of the purposes of the letters, whether they were created by Westcott or actually written by Sprengel herself, is to put the authority for Golden Dawn inside of Golden Dawn itself.
So can the SRCIF and the SRIA issue a judgment and decide who is the "official" Golden Dawn? Yes...(cue laughter)...but it will only be obeyed by the loyal members of the SRIA and SRCIF.
And for me, that is the biggest joke about Koon's opinion about the SRCIF and the SRIA being able to decide the issue. The only people who are going to obey the ruling are (maybe) SRCIF and SRIA members.
Oh, and whatever Golden Dawn group that they decide to pick. Which will be an all-male, all-Freemason, all-Christian group. In fact, I would be willing to bet that it will be the least magical of the Golden Dawn Orders. They will pick something that is little more than a study group with merit badges---not a single member will be able to hex their way out of a wet paper bag.
The leaders of the SRIA and SRCIF will pick the weakest link---a Golden Dawn group that is absolutely no threat to them. It will be all about the business of membership numbers---the membership numbers of the SRIA and SRCIF, not Golden Dawn's.
All the rest of the Golden Dawn community, however much we do not see eye to eye, no matter how much we distrust one another, no matter our beliefs about Golden Dawn history, no matter the differences in our adminstrative structures, will laugh when we hear the official proclaimation and continue to go about our Work. Bottom line is that the SRIA and the SRCIF opinion will be ignored by the overall Golden Dawn community (outside of whoever they pick). Me, David Griffin, Pat Zalewski, Nick Farrell, and Chic Cicero will all agree that the SRIA and the SRCIF have no business determining how official any of our groups are.
I have said this before, and I will say it again---as long as you and your fellow members think that your group is official, who cares about outsiders and their opinions? I don't and either should you.
Remember to keep your dagger sharp, your wand lit, your cup fulled, and your pentacle flowered---we are all in this together.