Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hard copying manuscripts

In the good old days before the advent of the personal computer and the publishing of the Golden Dawn documents by Regardie, a member of Golden Dawn had to hand copy all the documents they wanted a copy of. It was simple. You filled out the form and the lodge (Order) loaned you the master copy of a document (ritual, lesson, address, flying roll, etc.) for a specified length of time, and you sat down and hand copied it.

It was slow and tedious, even in the days when people were still used to doing things this way. After doing it a couple of times, one begins to sympathize with the monks who did this for a living before the printing press was invented. One understands the marginal comments of relief, and curses uttered when someone damaged or stole a book.

And it is a thing of the past. Yet there are times that even today it serves a purpose.

I have personally ended up typing rituals and lessons out of books (for me, having something in Word makes my studies easier, especially the type of studies that one does in ZAM and beyond); it is tedious even now that I am better at typing. Despite the difficulty (I started out as a "Biblical typist"--"Seek and ye shall find"), it is worthwhile doing.

There are things I would have never noticed if I won't have been typing them up into Word. "Did he really mean to say this? And if so, why? What would be the point of doing it like that?"

Maybe I am the only one that needs to approach the material like this. If so, I apologize to those who brought the Revised (Three Officer Version) Neophyte Ritual.

There are some who consider the price tag on that book to be too high. And it is if you already belong to a lodge that has enough members to do the version that Regardie published. But there are some students of Golden Dawn who live nowhere near a functioning lodge, and do not know enough people to petition for a Warrant to establish one. It is for them that the modified ritual is meant for.

And I want them to type it into Word. I don't want the book to meet the photocopier, and I don't want numerous copies to be printed out UNLESS someone took the time to hand copy (AKA type) it. After they do that, I figure that they are going to run off copies for the three other people that they gather to work the ritual. At that point, I don't care.

The ritual is meant to be used. And considering that I am not personally there, I did what I could to make sure that some of the lessons that I learned would pass onto them. One of which is that handcopying a text helps you actually read what is on the page--not what you think is on the page, but the actual words that are there. The book is purposely expensive to make sure that it is easier for someone to type it up than it is for the other three to spend that much money on copies of the ritual.

And besides the ritual (as are all Golden Dawn rituals) is an "open document." It is subject to change as it is used. Over the years, the ritual evolved from the original version of it. I expect the same to happen as new groups of people start to use it. Each of us brings something new to the tradition, and our footnotes and comments should make their way into the texts of our tradition.

[Updated: June 21, 2013--Changed the link for the Three Officer version of the 0=0 ritual from the Lulu sales page to the Smashwords sales page.]

1 comment:

Andrew B. Watt said...

I love hand-copying documents and I love making manuscript or illuminated copies of the pages I need. I've been working with Frater RO's angelic grimoire lately, and I'm looking forward to making a manuscript copy with some illuminations.

I think adding art and design to a page actually improves magical results. But that's just me. I agree that typing or hand-writing out a magical ritual helps drive it into your brain more effectively, and makes it more successful.