Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bast Temple Curriculum

The subject of the week seems to be curriculum.

First, Pat Zalewski posted a posting about change in Golden Dawn on his forum: Golden Dawn Group. That is a curriculum issue for as he states, "With the various GD groups using [new] material to fill the void at the Inner Order level, an entire infrastructure is needed to support it." Well-defined steps and levels are necessary according to him to prepare people for the new material. In other words, a curriculum.

Then today, I was talking to someone who wanted to know our curriculum. Which is hard to describe considering that lately we have been focused less on paper lessons, and focused more on Temple Ritual work. I have yet to figure out how to describe the importance of Temple Ritual, other than say it ties into our Inner Order curriculum.

This is not a new problem. I could only show the first intake of members the importance of the rituals by making them practice. The same is still true today. It is fair to say that I teach the way that I was taught. Doing was more important than theory.

The closest thing Bast Temple has to an official curriculum is the summary that was done for the original contact sheet (public flyer). It said:

Neophyte (0=0)"newly planted"
Learns the basic symbols of the elements, astrology, and kabbalah. Also learns basic lodge protocol and lodge-kit.

Zelator (1=10)"zealot"
Continues studying of astrology and kabbalah. Starts the study of alchemy. Learns about the various elementals, Earth of Malkuth in Assiah, and Malkuth of Malkuth in Assiah. Studies the theory of geomancy.

Theoricus (2=9)"student"
Continues studying of alchemy and kabbalah. Also continues studying of astrology, including how to erect astrology charts. Learns about the various kinds of spiritual entities, Air of Malkuth in Assiah, Yesod of Malkuth in Assiah, and the Moon.

Practicus (3=8)"practitioner"
Continues the study of kabbalah. Learns about the lineal figures, magic squares, sigils, Water of Malkuth in Assiah, Hod of Malkuth in Assiah, and the planet Mercury. Starts the study of the Golden Dawn Tarot.

Philosophus (4=7)"lover of wisdom"
Continues the study of kabbalah, alchemy and the Golden Dawn Tarot. Learns about Fire of Malkuth in Assiah, Netzach of Malkuth in Assiah, and the planet Venus. May chose to study the electionals of isopsephos ("Greek kabbalah") and the tattwas.

Today, that summary is a little out of date. It was written when the lodge had deeper ties (reciprocal recognition of Grades) with the Hermetic Sanctuary of Maat (Hermetic Order of the Stella Matutina). We were trying to match our requirements with theirs. Today, it is more of an issue to figure out how to properly stage (prepare members) for the incoming changes of the Inner Order material.

Naturally, given the fact that I am involved, a lot of the changes are written on the backs of pieces of paper. Some of the material already exists in our documents (there are currently over two hundred and fifty items that have been issued to at least one member of the lodge); other parts of the material are still deep in the planning stages.

Like for instance, the following planned lessons for the Forty-two Assessors:

Adept Minor Neophyte (5=6 AMN): Z documents
Adept Minor Zelator (5=6 ZAM): Assessors' placement and purpose in ritual
Adept Minor Theoricus (5=6 ThAM): Enochian attributes of the Assessors
Adept Minor Practicus (5=6 PrAM): Coloring of the 42 Assessors
Adept Minor Philosophus (5=6 PhAM): [nothing has been noted for this subgrade yet]
Adept Minor Adept (5=6 AMA): Assessors' use in minor talismanic work
Adept Major (6=5): Use in "Justice" workings
Adept Extemptus (7=4): Use in "personal development" [spiritual] alchemy
Magister Templi (8=3): Comparsion between Outer Order and Inner Order judges

It will be awhile before most of these lessons are written. For one thing, as much of the seven layers (Physical, Etheric, Astral-Emotional, Lower Mental, Higher Mental, Causal {Archetypical}, and Spiritual) information as can be gathered must be assembled before the lessons can be written.

In the end, I think my problem with being able to sum up the curriculum rests in its scope and how much of it has yet to be charted out. Hopefully, I do a better job of it the next time the question arises.

[Updated--June 21, 2013--removed the link to the Hermetic Sanctuary of Maat (HOSM), for it was a dead link to a group that no longer exists; the HOSM still exists; it is merely the self-initiation web support site that no longer exists. Eventually, the BIORC will provide some support for self-initiates.]


Andrew B. Watt said...

I think temple work is a lot more important than anything in the curriculum you lay out here. I'd rather spend an hour in temple with a group of magically-inclined friends than an hour of solo work.

In fact, I will. There's a group of us who will do a variant on the GD equinox ritual quite soon now. We rotate our officerships (largely because I insisted), we'll have collation afterward, and we'll remember Osiris Onnophris with bread and wine, incense and rose. None of us are GD initiates, exactly, nor OTO nor any variant tradition. We decided to do it, to learn more about the ancestries of the magical traditions we now practice, and found something rich and meaningful in it. We do the work because it's useful to do together... but the curriculum? Eh. Maybe, maybe not.

Morgan Eckstein said...

What is not apparent from this curriculum example (which is even more out of date today) is that for advancement, a third of the test is based on the Grade ritual.

The curriculum exists because one of the hallmarks of Golden Dawn and RC groups is that they teach. On the other hand, ritual is not a hallmark of an RC group, despite it being so important.

And so it goes.