Thursday, September 25, 2008

And then revised yet again

Earlier I revised the page about the disappearance of the Thelemic Golden Dawn webpage. Then I revised it yet again.

About the first revision, my opinion still stands; but I had friends in the Thelemic Golden Dawn (at least until I left), so I decided to revise it yet again. So if you read the second version during the couple of hours that it was up, I still think that not having a redirect page or making sure people knew that the site moved was a mistake.

As I said: Do not move your website without telling people that you moved it.

Of course, the most interesting thing about this revision cycle is that I checked my email after the first revision (which I wrote between classes today), and found a message from David Ch. about the first version of the page.

I am glad that he read it. At least that way, he knows that I, and many others, thought that the Order actually disappeared (like so many others have).

It was one of the reasons I considered the second revision. While David and me will never see eye to eye, I have the ego of a writer after all, I would like to think that we don't have any particular malice towards each other.

The other reason is that I realized that my ego was getting the better of me in the second version. Dislike it as much as I do, my ego is a mirror of my mother's which is a nasty piece of work. When I notice my ego acting up, I do try to rein it in. Not always successful...but David Ch. and most of my friends know that it is a big beast.

And after thinking it over, I decided to give TGD a courtesy link. I have found the information useful, and was more annoyed about the absence of the site and the lack of information about its apparent disappearance than the ego issues that made me leave the TGD.

I wish the TGD luck at rebuilding their google search rank.

Page update: Concerning the Disappearance of the TGD website

Updated the page on the Disappearance of the Thelemic Golden Dawn website.

I have never claimed to be a nice person. And personally, I think that someone should have announced the website address change to the rest of the esoteric communtiy. At the very least, it would have made better business and SEO sense than not announcing it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part Three

Let’s take a look at the word “lineage.” It seems to be a clear-cut word, and people who use it tend to act as if it has a precise definition.

It does not.

Looking it up in the dictionary, one would think that it only would have one use in esoteric circles. The dictionary says that lineage is the “1. lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or extraction. 2. the line of descendants of a particular ancestor; family; race.”

And while it is true that lineage in esoteric circles does mean “lineal descent from a source,” what makes talking about lineage is so frustrating is the fact that there are (at least) three different things that people are tracing the line of development of (or lack thereof) and refer to by the term “lineage.”

I realized this a few years ago after a particularly heated internet discussion. Taking a step back, I realized that what person A was saying about lineage was not what person B was talking about. And either one of them seemed to be thinking of lineage in the same manner that I was.

At this point, I started to research the term and how it had been used in the past. I discovered that the confusion about the term had existed since the formation of the modern lodge system in the 18th century. (The confusion might predate the eighteenth century; my own sources only go back so far.)

It was like the internet discussions except that one did not have the luxury of being able to ask a writer how they were defining the term.

Even worse, some writers seemed to be using the term in more than one sense.

And the cherry on top? I realized that I, myself, was using the term lineage to describe more than one thing. This offended my Virgo Sun and Leo Mercury.

So I sat down and looked at what I was using the term to describe, and then proceeded to coin some clarification terms to make it clearer for others to understand what I was trying to say.

(It is with some pleasure [yes, I have an ego] that I have stumbled across other members of the Golden Dawn community using the same clarification terms to clear up the confusion about their own use of the word.)

So what are the three kinds of descent that the esoteric community uses the term “lineage” to describe?

The first kind of descent is “Administrative Lineage.” This type of lineage refers to the right to run a group under the approval of a parent organization, and have its members recognized as legitimate and true members of that parent body.

The second kind of lineage is “Initiatory Lineage.” It is the type of lineage referred to when we talk about person X initiating person Y, who in turn initiated person Z.

The third type of lineage is the tracing where the ideas of a system come from; this type of lineage I refer to as “Memeonic Lineage.”

Possessing one type of lineage does not mean that you automatically have, or are entitled to, another type of lineage.

It is best to remember that one only knows for certain who gave oneself their authority, who was in the same room when you received your initiations, and where one got the inspiration and material for one own ideas and opinions; everything else you are told by other members, including your leaders and teachers, is merely hearsay. If you were not present for the event, you can not be sure that it actually happened the way that you were told it did.

~~~To Be Continued~~~

Monday, September 15, 2008

Denver Reiki Circle

I have learned that there will be a Reiki Circle on Wednesday, the 17th of September, from 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm at the Capitol Hill Community Center (1290 Williams St, Denver, CO 80218). It is free to attend, and it is kid friendly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sorry about the formating

I would like to say a big sorry for the formating of the previous post. Try as I might I can not get the system to stop removing the lines breaks when I hit post on that entry. I guess the system does not want anyone reading about the Tarot.

Coloring the Tarot: XIII Death

One of the more interesting tasks of the Inner Order, in my less than humble opinion, is the making of one own Tarot deck. I was first exposed to this concept, individualizing the Tarot, when I was a member of Hathoor Temple; in Portal, one had to produce several cards to prove that one could do the entire deck if called upon to do so.
It was a small task. Much easier than the way it was originally planned in the original Golden Dawn (RR et AC) which wanted its members to make an entire Tarot deck, a task that fell by the wayside. (Due to the task being hard to accomplish, and natural wear and tear, we end up with only a few decks actually being made, or so it would seem based on the information in my possession.)
There are a couple of reasons why the original Order wanted its members to do this task. The first being that Tarot decks were rare in England at the time; most of the decks that could be brought were of Italian origin. The other, and more important reason, is that the Golden Dawn Tarot differs from other Tarot decks, especially in the Major Arcana.
Yet the weight of the task ensured that it would be one that fell by the wayside when corners started to be cut. But it never disappeared completely.
The BOTA version of the Death card.
For instance, Paul Foster Case, the person behind BOTA (Builders of the Adytum), had the members of BOTA handcolor a outlined Tarot deck. It is a compromise between doing the entire deck and not attempting the project in the first place. Case was a former member of Alpha and Omega (AO), the branch of Golden Dawn that Mathers controlled after the revolt of the Adepts. Case himself would have troubles with Moina Mathers, an event that led to the formation of BOTA.
Quite frankly, I have never been completely happy with the BOTA deck. For instance, Case issued an exact color scheme for each of the cards. Looking at the current card that I am studying, the Death card, I find that it has way too much red for my individual tastes. I understand its place, but I think that it is emphasized too much.

Fortunately, I have never been a stickler for obeying instructions. Even better nowadays, I have another deck option, thanks to Richard Dudshus and David Sledzinski.
Several years ago, when the Ciceros published their Golden Dawn Tarot deck, I moaned "Why couldn't they issue a version in black and white?" I liked the deck at the time; since then, I have grown a little leery of it considering the differences between it and the results of my own studies.
For instance, on the Cicero version of the Death card, they have a fish and a scorpion. Inside a Golden Dawn setting, is it really necessary to include these symbols.
After all, the card is associated with the Hebrew letter Nun (the name of the letter means "fish") and is assigned the Zodiac sign of Scorpio. If you know your correspondences, you really do not need the hint on the card. (The Thoth deck also has a fish on it, but that deck is used in a different setting.)
So why go to all the trouble of coloring one own Tarot deck?
Case believed that coloring the Tarot helped make it part of your mental furniture, that it helped one make a connection with the symbolism of the cards. I agree with his conclusion. I just wished that he used a deck more in line with the Golden Dawn symbolism and a different color scheme.
But as I said, I do have another option today.
When coloring the Tarot, one should notice what one thinks about. For instance, when coloring the classical version of the Death card (a task that is assigned to the Adept Minor Grade by the Inner Order teachings that I follow), I found myself wondering whether the hanging tatters on the skeleton were the remains of a robe or whether it was the remains of decayed flesh. In the end, I decided that it is probably both.
And it is little thoughts and questions like that make coloring, or outright creating from scratch, your own Tarot deck worthwhile.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part Two

“Where is the foundation of Golden Dawn? What are its roots? What is the essential core of the Golden Dawn system?”

At fist glance, these questions may seem to be the same question, but they are not. I am not talking about a single question, but rather a set of highly related issues that dovetail into each other.

One thing that causes no small amount of confusion and grief in Golden Dawn, and other esoteric circles, is the way that initiates use words and language. One thing to bear in mind when reading the writings of initiates, or talking to them, is that language, and the subtle ways to use it, is one of the hidden tools of the mystery traditions.

I remember a conversation that I had with a Soror a few years ago. She was reading a book by one of the famous initiates. Encountering words that she had never seen before, she exclaimed that the initiate was making up words. I asked her what words she thought he was making up, then I reached for my dictionary (ok, I admit that I never heard of these words either). Behold, he was not creating new words; the words were in the dictionary.

Some Adepts use words very precisely. The Adepts of previous ages were also the product of classical education, with better vocabularies than we tend to have today. They choose their words carefully with a purpose in mind. And there is often more than one layer to a lot that they say. Many of us initially have difficulty coming to grips with this fact.

This habit of carefully choosing words is more apparent in the circles where secrecy is given more weight, but it can show up in any esoteric environment.

One of the side-effects of secrecy, if you truly embrace it for an extended period of time, is that you start to become aware of the words coming out of your mouth and pen (keyboard). You have become aware of the possible subtle meanings that might be hidden in the words of others. It makes listening to politicians, oh so very interesting.

But there are drawbacks to this precise and subtle use of language. One of which is the trap of thinking that everything that comes out of someone’s mouth is precise and/or was purposely chosen; other drawback is mistakenly believing that other people are defining their words in the exact same manner as you are.

My most used examples of words that might not mean what you think they mean are the names of the elements (Spirit, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth), angelic names (not all entities named Michael are the same), and the word “lineage.” To this, you can add anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth.

~~~To Be Continued~~~

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part One

The Golden Dawn system of attainment is unfinished; I mean this in the sense that all living spiritual and magical systems are being constantly added to by their members. Hence they are growing and changing, expanding and evolving; the instant that a system stands still, it becomes fossilized and becomes a relic of the past.

In the case of Golden Dawn, it could be also argued that is unfinished because there are vast sections of it that have been lost, hidden, destroyed, or never revealed. There is also the little issue that some of it truthfully hasn’t been finished unless you believe in the existence of a Third Order that holds the rest of the system, and do not believe that the system is a product of its own members and officers.

I obviously have my own opinions about this matter.

Exactly how much of the system should be revealed is also a matter of some debate. There are some people who look upon the writing of Israel Regardie, Pat Zalewski, and Nick Farrell as pure blasphemy. There are others that believe that the only sure way to ensure that the tradition does not disappear as so many other Orders have in the last hundred years is to publish the heart of the system.

The responses to the vast amount of material that has been published about Golden Dawn have been varied. Some treat all the published material as if it now belongs to the Outer Order (insisting that the Inner Order must be absolutely secret); others still make their members take a vow of secrecy about the entire system, despite the presence of the published material; and others just smile and go about their business knowing that it does not matter a whole lot about what is published and what is not because until you complete the work of the system, there will always be mysteries and secrets that you do not understand about the system.

I have been a member of many groups. I have seen each one of these reactions up close and personal. I have my own chosen favorite reaction that is based on my own experiences; most people who know me are well aware of my personal opinion about the issue.

(A note of some small historical interest: A lot of people believe that David Griffin and his branch of the Golden Dawn were the first to move everything that has been published into Outer Order; they were not the first to do so. That reaction actually predates the internet; Griffin’s Order is merely the best known modern advocate of that response to the vast corpus of published Golden Dawn and RR et AC material.)

Which response to the published material is the correct one depends upon the answers to a handful of questions:

“Where is the foundation of Golden Dawn? What are its roots? What is the essential core of the Golden Dawn system?”

The answers to those questions, whether one actually knows the answers or merely believes that they do, will determine one’s response to the published material, secrecy, and whether or not Golden Dawn is a finished or unfinished system.

~~~To Be Continued~~~

Open Full Moon Dates for 2008

Hearthstone Community Church
Open Full Moon Dates
for the rest of 2008
September 12
October 10
November 7
December 12

Meets at the First Unitarian Church
at 14th and Lafayette, Denver Colorado
Doors open at 7 pm.
Ritual starts at 7:30 pm.