Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part 5

This particular post may not seem to fit into the set of The Roots of GD, but it really it does.

Yesterday, I was listening to Common Sense With Dan Carlin: Show 134---Instant Gratification. The theme of the show was that our urge for instant gratification is wrecking havoc with the political system (USA) and with the economy.

The idea of the show, Carlin got from someone else who said that if Obama wanted to really make an impact in Washington, then he should openly commit to just serving one term in office. This way he can just focus on getting things done. As it stands right now, a newly-elected President only has about a hundred days in office before he has to start worrying about the next election for his political party, mid-terms, and his own re-election.

Carlin related this to our current economic mess, the stock market and the shady loan bubble. He talked about how CEOs no longer focus on the long-term health of the companies that they run, but on short-term gains to make the stock holders happy.

Ok, what does this have to do with Golden Dawn? Especially its roots?

So this got me to thinking. I have witnessed several dozen people come into Golden Dawn chasing a short-term goal; quite often, it is to make the Inner Order Grade of Adept Minor. But what if making a certain Grade is not the actual goal that Golden Dawn is set up to fulfill?

How long is the ideal membership span for a member of Our Tradition?

In my mind, the ideal membership is the lifetime membership; someone who joins and remains a student of the tradition for the rest of their life is the ideal member. This is my opinion.

Now, as an elected officer, I have always been lucky that the long-term goals of my lodge has always been the priority. The one advantage that I envy of the Secret Chiefs, and those who are non-elected members of the hierarchy is that they can focus on the long-term goals without have to worry about people wanting instant gratification, and voting them out of office when they don't get it. Unfortunately, I have seen the abuses that an unelected hierarchy can lead to; hence my opinion that the entire hierarchy, including the Secret Chiefs, need to be elected and re-elected periodically.

Nevertheless, an important question we have to consider when examining the roots of Golden Dawn is how long a member is supposed to be a member. If it is merely short-term, then it makes little difference about how bad Orders and their leaders act; you only have to put up with it until you reach the goal. But if one is supposed to be a member for life, then it is funny that there is not a way to remove bad leaders and officers from the system.

I told you that it had something to do with the roots of Golden Dawn. I don't have any answers, but I feel that the question did need to be considered.

To read a review of Common Sense with Dan Carlin, click here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trollish behavior

Over the last few days, I have been watching a troll on one of the Yahoo groups that I am a member of. I am positive that it was just a troll.

It started off when someone mentioned that someone was selling Ambramelin oil on eBay. Now, I am sure that the first post was merely a sales pitch, probably by the eBay seller themselves; but perhaps not, those of us in the esoteric community do tell others of our discoveries of decent priced material and tools.

One of the responses was that one should not buy oil from someone that they do not know, with a catty comment that "I suppose that you buy your magical tools also." And they signed it 93 (this whole story, sadly, is an example of the behavior that the worst of Thelema produces).

At this point, I got involved because yes, I have brought tools and oils from other people. I asked if he grew his own food, hoping that he would see the point that I was trying to make.

Yes, I forgot my father's advice of not arguing with drunks and fanatics. He never said anything about trolls, but I suspect that they fall under the fanatic category.

There was a couple of moments of quiet. Then the troll came back that they did grow all their food and meat, and that no real magician uses tools that other people made. He also made some comments about women only having one purpose---shades of Crowley.

And I dont need to describe the rest; experienced group members can fill in the rest of the blanks.

But it always worries me to see this type of behavior. What if a true Neophyte (someone who knew nothing about Golden Dawn, or Thelema, for that matter) saw this? What if this type of behavior was your first exposure to Our Tradition?

There were some that thought that my responses should have been more impolite, or at least not so subtle. But when I saw how they were signing their posts (93), I knew that indulging in anger would accomplish nothing. And I promptly suspected a troll to boot, someone whose true purpose of posting was to cause trouble.

Now, I know some fine Thelemics, who are very smart, very skilled at magic, and who seek to enlighten others. This person was not one of those. And I refused to stoop down to their level.

So that is my complaint of the day: I hate internet trolls.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Denver 2008 Witches Ball

The Seventeenth Annual Samhain
Witches Ball
(and free midnight Samhain Ritual)
Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Highlands Masonic Center
3550 Federal Boulevard
Denver, CO
(at 35th and Federal - West Entrance)
7 pm until midnight
Adults $15, Children 6 to 12 $5,
Children under 6 are free.
Wear your finest costumery! (costumes optional)
Presented by Living Goddess LLC

Friday, October 17, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part 4

And while we are considering terms that people assign different meanings to, and then forget that others are using other meanings for the same term, which causes a great deal of arguments, let's look at the term: Secret Chief.

In Golden Dawn, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding this term. Whether or not, an Order has made contact with the Secret Chiefs, or even believes in their existence, is the source of much of the opinion in the Golden Dawn community about whether or not a particular branch, or leader, is legitimate or not.

There are those who use the term Secret Chief to talk about entities that exist on the astral plane, who have evolved past the point of needing bodies, or perhaps never having a physical form in the first place; these entities are said to guide and inspire the Orders from a higher plane. Exactly when an entity becomes a Secret Chief and not just a random entity (angel, saint, demon, god, muse, old dead guy) is unclear. Aleister Crowley is the most notorious individual who claimed such contact, but he is definitely not even close to being the only one to make such a claim.

Others use the term to describe members of the ultimate esoteric secret society, so secret that even those they contact are not allowed to know their real identities. They are Uber-Adepts, of at least the 8=3 Magister Templi Grade, and more often than not are members of another esoteric tradition. They tend to be from regions that birth new esoteric traditions and movements.

A big point of concern among those who care about such things is whether or not these Secret Chiefs have actually crossed the Abyss or not. Some say that only those who have crossed the Abyss can be Secret Chiefs. Others say that it is not crossing the Abyss that counts, but the production and use of the elixir of life.

These are the two most common definitions of Secret Chief.

(There is another definition that rests solely on function, but you are unlikely to run into anyone that seriously gives it the time of day.)

The problem with both of these definitions, and their variations, is that the access to the Secret Chiefs is so terribly restricted that only a single person in any particular generation, or time period, can be in contact with them. And when more than one person, or Order, claims to have access to them, one has to presume that someone is lying, or perhaps delusional.

(There is also the slight matter of higher fraud: how can you be sure that your "Secret Chief" is not lying about being a Secret Chief?)

In the end, the only advice I can give is to beware of the disagreement in how people are using the term, and judge leaders and Orders solely on their usefulness to you personally.

~~~To Be Continued~~~

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remember to vote

The other day, on one of the many discussion forums that I am a member of, someone said that the way to rise above the slime of the political system, to not be affected spiritually by politics, is to not to take part in the process; in other words, just do not vote if you care about the state of your soul.

To me, this was a good joke.

If you believe that politics, with its commericals and mud-slinging, dirties your soul, by all means, feel free not to vote.

But let me buy you a hint, you and your soul are affected by the political system. Choosing not to pay any attention to the system does not elevate your soul; in fact, it might actually put it in more danger than actually running for political office would.

I understand where the nothion that politics is damaging to the soul comes from. And yes, it can be, provided that one's experiences in life helps to quicken or hinden the development of the soul.

But this particular extreme comes from the idea that the spiritual is always good, and the flesh (matter) is always evil.

Of course, what really worries me is that the writer advocating this idea was a pagan/wiccan. They might need to go back to Wicca 101.

As a pagan/wiccan/ceremonial magician that has some knowledge of kabbalah, rosicrucian philosophy, hermetics, and alchemy, I know that the body itself is part of the soul.

Maybe after you are dead, perhaps then you will no longer be affected by politics. But as long as you are living, your body and mind are affected by politics, hence so is your soul.

Those who did not vote when the German tyrant was running for office did not do their souls any favors. Not voting for the other guy was only slightly better than supporting the tyrant.

Those who say that we should not get involved in politics, that we should not vote, forget that it is evil to allow evil to grow unchecked.

(Not that I think that anyone running this term is evil, but one must admit that they will be in a position to cause a lot of misery.)

They think that by not acting, it somehow makes them holy. And if they do not want to take the responsibility to become an informed voter, it is a welcome excuse, (these are probably the same people who cast money spells and do not go fill out job applications and then blame the gods for not getting them work).

And so their soul rots from inaction, having missed the opportunity to help get one part of the world a step closer to redemption.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reiki circle 15th of October

There will be a Reiki Circle on Wednesday, the 15th of October from 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm at the Capitol Hill Community Center (1290 Williams St, Denver, CO 80218).

One needs to be cautious about where they turn in this neighborhood; it is easy to make a wrong turn and end up driving around in circles in Cheeseman Park.

It is free to attend, and it is kid friendly.