Friday, November 28, 2008

Danger from Enochian

One of the things that you hear about Enochian magic is that it is dangerous. Most of this seems to stem from the belief of Paul Foster Case that it was dangerous to use; in fact, while the rituals of the Builders of the Adtyum are remarkably similar to Golden Dawn's, they do not have any Enochian contained in them.

Now, I am not sure that Enochian is death causing, but I am sure that it is dangerous---or at least, it is dangerous for me to practice.

I am doing another round of Enochian scrying to fulfill the requirements of the subGrade that I am currently working on. And one thing that I have noticed about the work is that it leaves me mentally and emotionally off-balanced.

I first started to notice this when I realized that some of my nastier responses on the GD forums were done after doing Enochian scrying. It is very easy to annoy me the day after I do a scrying. Doing a full set of banishings after the scrying session helps, but still my tongue is wicked and my brain is unwell after scrying an Enochian square.

I know the square that puts me back into the mindset I used to have in food service; you know that nasty one where you suspect that the cook is about to go postal on someone. If I didn't have to scry it to pass my examinations, I would go near it ever again.

Essentially, I think that the problem with that particular square, and with the majority of the squares is that they are not complete elementally. And add a mind that was programmed in childhood by a lot of abuse, and you end up with an uncomfortable, if not slightly dangerous, combination.

So while I have doubts about the Enochian system being able to just kill someone mysterious, I do know first-hand that working with them is like subjecting your brain to a chemical bath. If you find the right square, it would probably help. But considering that for the most part, there is little published yet about the mental effects of most of the squares, it is like gambling in a drug den.

Or at least for me, it sure seems that way. But then again, I am one of the people that working with the Golden Dawn system has actually helped improve the mental stability of. My proof? At one time, I wouldn't have even noticed the effect of the squares I am scrying.

At least, I am improving.

So if working with Enochian is helping me, why do I consider it dangerous?

Well, it is not the system itself that seems to be the biggest problem (though I prefer more elemental balanced systems) rather it is the people who are attracted to it. You know the ones: people who have skipped though the Outer Order work, or moved the Enochian to Outer Order, or insist that the Enochian is the crown jewel of Golden Dawn and that they are not stooping down to do anything of less importance (ego issues, it is called), or decided that they are going to do a different square every day for 156 days straight. In short, put lunacy in and you are going to get lunacy out.

For these people, it is the goal that is important; to arrive at the peak is the only important thing. To them, people like me who are taking our sweet time doing the work are the ones that have it all wrong. People like me think that we have a lifetime to do the work and as long as we are continuing to put one foot in front of the other, it does not matter how slow we are working.

Eventually I am going to get to the goal. After all, I have plenty of time to get there. And I would like to have some of my marbles left when I get there. So I think that I won't do more than one Enochian scrying in any given week, just because the system seems to make my temper worse for wear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reiki Circle tonight

Tonight is the Capitol Hill Reiki Circle. And like I have done the last few months, I will be attending. As many of my regular readers know, it is organized by a friend of mine, Jo, who is a Reiki III (Master).

Jo was the person that got me interested in Reiki. While my wife had a couple of books on the subject that I had leafed though, and only leafed though, I knew really nothing about the subject.

When I wrote a short article on the subject for CCD Campus Connections (the student newspaper of the Community College of Denver), I was starting from scratch.

[The Reiki article I wrote, I have since posted on Associated Content.]

I still don't know all that much about Reiki. Yet. But eventually, I plan on getting the first attunement. Perhaps the other two attunement also.

Honestly, it shores up a weakness in my own training as an Adept. We are a Rosicrucian Order in the Inner, except when you look at the Inner Order material, we have next to nothing on healing.

Perhaps, I should say nothing about healing; off the top of my head, I can't think of anything official in the RR et AC that deals with the subject, at least not openly.

So for awhile, if several of my posts and articles read like I am obsessed with Reiki this cycle, it is just that I am trying to figure out what should have been placed in this blank spot in the Golden Dawn lesson plan.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reiki circle 19th of November

The next Capitol Hill Reiki Circle is November 19 from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Location: the Capitol Hill Community Center annex located on 1290 Williams St. Denver, CO 80218.

It is free and kid friendly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Determining the Grades of lessons and new handouts

This post also was issued to the members of Bast Temple on their private forum.

During the midst of labeling one of the documents for the local Tarot class, I realized that perhaps I should say a few words about how the Grade of a lesson, or handout, is actually determined. Or at least, the way that I am doing it.

The Grade that a lesson/handout is labeled can be based on one of four things (though there might be more reasons that I haven't thought of off the top of my head).

1: Tradition---this is where the previous generations of GD leaders and instructors placed it. Some people are big on insisting that the papers be issued to only those of the proper Grade; personally, I am not a big supporter of this camp. And it bears no weight on how I label new stuff.

2: Ritual---the material is first showed to you in a specific Grade ritual of the system which creates a bottom Grade that it can not be issued ahead of. For instance, if you are introduced to geomancy in the Theoricus Grade (2=9), then you can not have geomancy papers labeled Neophyte (0=0) or Zelator (1=10).

3: Foundational---the material is Graded according to the steps that you need to learn it in. For instance, you need knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet, the Sephiroth, basic elements and astrological lore to understand stuff that you are exposed to in the Zelator ritual, therefore you are issued a lecture about these items in the Neophyte Grade.

4: Testing---the material is Graded for the Grade where you have to pass the test on it, or have to work with it and submit a report. Not all the material is Graded in that fashion, a lot of the material is introduced in an earlier Grade and not tested on until a later one.

So there you have it, this is how I decide the Grade for the handouts that I issue.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Roots of Golden Dawn: Part 6

Oral v. written tradition

One of the great debates that affect what we view as the roots of Golden Dawn is whether Golden Dawn is essentially an oral or a written tradition.

I must admit that I have a bias. Earlier in my magical career, I ended up in a group that was essentially an oral tradition group. And in my less than humble opinion, things had gone very wrong in that group.

The leader basically gave lessons to his current favorites; if you were not on that list, you got next to nothing. And to get and stay on his list, you had to give absolute obedience, homage (his opinion was the only correct answer) and lots of money. Women had to...ahem...lets not go there.

So for me, the whole idea of Golden Dawn being at root an oral tradition sets off loud alarms; I am biased against it based on previous group experiences.

But what if the oral tradition is part of the Golden Dawn system? really deep down at its roots?

The idea behind the oral tradition is that the most important parts of a system, if not all of it, are not ever written down. Ever.

Exactly how much of the Golden Dawn system is not written down is questionable. For instance, I have ran across several webpages for groups claiming to have access to the oral traditions that say that thousands of pages of information are not written down and only transmitted though the oral tradition.

Ok, the writer in me wants to know how do you know how many pages it is if it is not written down. I am a happy little cynic, ain't I?

The oral tradition supporters are naturally opposed to the members of the written tradition. The idea of stuff being written down seems to alarm the oral traditionists.

Members of the oral tradition point to Regardie and Crowley as examples of what can go wrong when most, if not all, your material is in written form. In all fairness to both writers, one needs to ask what they didn't publish---the answer to that tends to put them both in a more favorable light.

I must admit that the oral tradition is great for any system that depends upon absolute secrecy to exist. It is also great for those leaders who should not be leading in the first place, those who use their respective groups and traditions as sources of ego strokes, power bases, personal ATM machines, and for other perks that are best left unsaid even in the darkest of alleys.

And yes, supporters of the oral tradition are right when they say that all it takes to destroy a tradition that depends upon absolute secrecy is to publish the secrets.

But Golden Dawn was never a completely oral tradition, nor has everything been written down. Much of what we have of Golden Dawn are student notes; some of them are brief, and others are the full record of a lecture.

It is much like what happens in colleges and universities: students take notes during the lectures; some take down every word that the professor says, other merely jot a few keywords.

One of the best examples of every word being written down are the lectures on the symbolism of the hall pillars. These were just lectures that someone wrote down every word of. And if they wouldn't have, we would not have this information today.

But that is not the most important thing to remember. The most important thing to remember is that all oral traditions are just one missed heart beat away from extinction.

All it takes for an oral tradition to get weaker and less valuable is for the only person that knows a certain mystery to die before passing that bit of information onto someone else.

And ultimately, that is why I encourage people to write things down. It ensures that the knowledge is preserved.

I told you that I had a bias.

~~~To Be Continued~~~

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Remember to vote

I would like to remind everyone that is registered to remember to vote Tuesday. This election, no matter who you support, due to the issues is a very important one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Brief History of Golden Dawn

One of the GD blogs that I read, Mishkan Ha-Echad, today was talking about brief histories of Golden Dawn. So I thought that I would present here on my own blog, an attempt that I did a couple of years ago to compress the entirety of Golden Dawn history into just a couple of pages.

A Brief History of the Golden Dawn

The Order was founded in 1888 by Dr. William Wynn Westcott, a Master Mason and member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, with the help of two others, Samuel Liddell Mathers and Dr. William Robert Woodman. The inspiration for the Order came from a manuscript written in cipher that had came into Westcott’s possession. The Cipher Manuscript outlined a series of lodge rituals which Westcott fleshed out for his new Order.

Mystery surrounds the origin of the Cipher Manuscript. One of the most plausible theories is that it was written by Kenneth Mackenzie, the author of The Royal Masonic Encyclopedia. If Mackenzie was the source of the Cipher Manuscript, he probably meant it (the rituals) to be used by The Society of the Eight (another esoteric Order). Unfortunately, we will probably never know for sure if Mackenzie wrote the Cipher Manuscript. The mystery of the Cipher Manuscript would later play a role in the breakup of the Golden Dawn.

In late 1891, Woodman died, leaving just Westcott and Mathers. Due to the creation of an additional ritual (the Adept Minor [5=6]) by Mathers, and Westcott being forced to resign, the Order soon fall under the complete control of Mathers. This was not good for the Order. Mathers had moved to Paris, so he was ruling the Order from a distance. The membership started to became increasing dissatisfied with Mathers’ leadership, and the suggestion arose that perhaps it was time to disband the Order. Upon hearing this, Mathers alleged that part of the Cipher Manuscript (the pages that gave the Order its authority to operate) was a forgery by Westcott. This was the final straw for the members of the London lodge; they expelled Mathers, who in turn as Chief Adept said that they had no authority over him and expelled them.

From a historical viewpoint, this is the end of Golden Dawn. Twelve years and a little over three hundred members--yet Golden Dawn is the most influential esoteric group in modern history. In order to understand why one needs to remember that the Golden Dawn system didn’t come to an end when the remains of the Order abandoned the use of the “Golden Dawn” name. In reality, the Order split into several different Orders during the aftermath of “The Revolt of the Adepts.” The same thing would happen, after the death of Samuel Mathers in 1918, under the leadership of his wife Moina Mathers. The main divisions of importance were the Alpha et Omega, and the Stella Matutina. Golden Dawn material was also incorporated into the A.A. (Aliester Crowley’s organization--only members know what the name of his Order is), Builders of the Adytum (led by Paul Foster Case), and the Fraternity of the Hidden Light (formed by Dion Fortune). Ironically, it is not though the lineage of one of these Orders that the average student of occultism receive the teachings of Golden Dawn. Rather it though the work of Israel Regardie, an Adept Minor of the later Stella Matutina, that most people learn of the Golden Dawn and its practices.

Israel Regardie joined the Stella Matutina in 1933. Upon entering the Order, he was horrified to see the state of the Order; it was dying. The Chiefs seemed incompetent, and Order documents which were no longer understood were being removed from circulation. Believing that the system was about to be lost, Regardie decided to act. In 1937, he published the core documents of the tradition. There are many who villianify Regardie for revealing the tradition to the public, yet it was his actions that made Golden Dawn the most influential esoteric Order of modern times. Most applicants seeking out Golden Dawn do so after reading Regardie, or one of the writers that Regardie paved the way for; extremely rare is the member who makes contact without previous knowledge of the system.

Regardie’s publishing the material probably saved the tradition. By 1972, the tradition was dead in England; one offshoot lasted until 1978 in New Zealand before disbanding. Despite stories of unbroken lineage put forth by some groups, there is no evidence that supports such a claim; the facts are that all Golden Dawn descended groups either vastly changed the system, or went inactive before the 1980s.

The 1980s saw a revival of the system. In New Zealand, Jack Taylor (7=4) helped restart a branch of the tradition--some of his teachings making their way into print though the services of Pat Zalewski to benefit the greater tradition. Some of the papers of Frank Salt, another member of the same New Zealand branch, have made their way back into circulation among some of the newer lodges. And Israel Regardie helped initiate a new Golden Dawn lineage in the United States. Since then, the system has resurfaced in Europe, and found fertile ground in Canada and South America.

Today’s student needs to keep in mind that the tradition has recently been revived, and that no one holds Administrative Lineage tracing back to the original group. This fact tends to be unknown to (or ignored by) many of today’s seekers. A lot of Golden Dawn based groups today have no actual lineage at all; some only use the Golden Dawn name (their teachings having no basis on the original Golden Dawn material) to attract dues paying members. Fortunately for the student, the documents published by Regardie provide a baseline to judge what should be taught by a Golden Dawn based Outer Order, while Zalewski has published documents that serve the purpose for Inner Order.

What the future holds for the Golden Dawn tradition is uncertain. Can the Orders learn to get along, or will the mud-slinging continue? Can the new lineages survive or will they go extinct? What is certain is that the knowledge of Golden Dawn will continue to be important to students of the occult, thanks to the popularization of the Golden Dawn material by former and current students of the tradition.