Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unified Golden Dawn, is it even possible? Part One

Over the last week, since the posting of several Golden Dawn videos posted up on YouTube by the Hermetic Golden Dawn (Alpha et Omega in the Inner), I have been thinking about the possibility of an unified Golden Dawn.

[For the record, I have absolutely no idea how to make a trademark notation on this blog; the group that I am talking about is the one that holds the European trademark, and they are big on making sure that everyone knows that they hold the trademark. Unfortunately, I have never figured out exactly what is trademarked, and what is a violation of their rights as a business.

Some of my readers will know that I am sensitive to trademark issues. My father had to change the name of his business due to a flawed trademark search (back in the '70s); it caused a lot of problems. And it is the reason that I react to the whole issue as if it is all about money, and money only.

There is a little bit more at stake than just money as the rest of my thoughts may show. At this point, I would like to apologize to everyone that I am about to make upset. This is an impossible post to write; after all, it is going to upset everyone.]

The conclusion that I have came to is that we are as far away from an unified Golden Dawn as we were in 1901 after the Revolt of the Adepts. For those who have not studied Golden Dawn history, there were several rival Orders that came out of the Revolt; none of which really got along with one another and all claiming to be the only one really working the system properly.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

This last week, several of the Golden Dawn forums and blogs have been busy talking about the errors and merits of what was presented in the videos. Some mud was also slung. Part of it is merely because of past wounds earned during the struggle to be the last Order standing in modern times; the other part was actually based on differences in training and experience.

In the end, everyone has agreed that if you don't agree with their opinion, you are wrong.

Or almost everyone.

And this makes me think that the internet and legal battles have insured that no peaceful co-existence is possible among the Big Name Orders, and that the little independent lodges should prepare to be destoryed.

I so hope that this is merely the paranoia whispering in my ear like a bloated toad.

[For those who do not know, I have been involved in several battles in both the ceremonial and wiccan communities that boil down to "I am the only legitimate XXX in the entire state"; it makes one a touch paranoid, especially one has been expelled merely for not giving absolute obedience to a leader.]

At this point, any call for an unified Golden Dawn is going to be shouted down. I am open to being proven wrong. But in order to have an unified Golden Dawn, or even one where people get along peaceful with the members of the other Golden Dawn Orders, trust has to be possible. And this last week has proven that trust is a rare item in our community.

[Proof that I don't have a large stock of trust left can be showed by the fact that I am concerned that I can get sued for not giving proper trademark notation. If I can not summon enourgh trust to come out and just say what I want to say, and end up spending fifteen minutes trying to make sure everyone know that there is a trademark involved, how likely is it that I will ever trust anyone from the Big Name Orders enough to actually sit in the same room with any of them?]


golden-dawn-hermetic said...


Knowing all that I know from my direct experiences, let me state...

Brother, you are being paranoid a tad. Go ahead and ask the people involved, if you are worried. Remember 'fear is failure'.

The legal battle wasn't a battle for the trademark. It was merely one of the theaters of operation in which the war itself is being fought. When it isn't fought in that sphere, it is fought in the blogosphere, yahoo forums, book reviews, and even youtube.

Don't ever be fooled that there are good guys and bad guys in this conflict or that this conflict only exists because one person is a trouble maker. I know from direct experience that this isn't the case and I once had audio evidence to prove it and leave egg on a few big-name faces. Suffice to say, every one is fighting because they WANT to.

The reason for this conflict is because of the following:

a) The Golden Dawn *is* a business.
b) The Golden Dawn potential pool of customers is limited, leading to a zero-sum mentality. If they join order b) they will never join order a).
c) The size of the pool itself is dwindling.

Let me be clear that while there was once good money in the Golden Dawn, it isn't the case any more and it hasn't been for a long time. Back in the mid-1990s, a flourishing Golden Dawn order could expect to see 10k a month easily. These days 1k is tough going unless you have something to sell your already existing members, like DVDs.

The trademark isn't about money at all. It is about one thing and one thing only: 'recognition'. That is the actual purpose of the trademark. It is meant to ensure name recognition in the marketplace.

Every one of the major group wants to be recognized as THE Golden Dawn. It isn't because those folks are on some power trip. It is because they understand that it is what YOU guys want. People in the majority want the REAL Golden Dawn and not just a Golden Dawn group. They can't afford to appear to be anything but.

Each group goes about it differently. There are the 'in your face' trademarks. There are the more savvy marketing slogans and memes like 'foremost'. There is gain by association - putting pictures of famous figures on a front page and tying them directly with the group's own activities and foundation.

This may all seem silly to you, but keep in mind b) and c).

There are two other reasons for why unity isn't possible and I believe that these two are at the moment insurmountable.

A) Leadership is static. The only time Robert Zink will not be the head honcho in his order is when he is dead. He was never voted in and will never be voted out. I have used him as an example and I wager you will find that the centers of power in other orders are just as static. This means that any loss of power is a 'personal' loss. It also means that the conflict is a 'personal' conflict and the rest of each group's members are drafted through expectations of loyalty without ANY personal gain from victory.

B) Those centers of power invest a lot more time in management and politics than in focusing on spirituality and progress. It obviously differs from person to person, but doing all this is so time consuming that few can maintain an elevated state of higher focus. More so, I'll wager honest investigation would show that few have done as much outer order work as was required for their lofty grades.

This isn't hard to observe and notice. Just because someone knows at what angle you should hold a sword doesn't automatically mean they have done the necessary work. Lots of rare paper hunting goes on behind the scene. The rest becomes easy root memory and application. Real magical practice requires work that few have done.

The same case applies to the original Golden Dawn. Mathers, Westcott, and Woodman and later on Crowley, rushed through the grades or just jumped them. The common element is that all of those figures didn't work the system sufficiently enough before 5=6. Membership in the SRIA and Freemasonry doesn't equal GD experience. Therefore, it is fair to say that these folks were capable creators but needed to return to 0=0 and work their own system, which they haven't. I wager modern contemporary GD leaders suffer from similar ailments of rushing too fast up the ladder or jumping steps outright so they can invest time creating a vessel for others. In politics, it is a known fact that revolutionary leaders make the worst leaders in time of peace. Yet in every instance, they are unwilling to step down and let someone more capable take over.

Yes, the vase is broken and shattered and right now each shard PREFERS to be broken from the vase. However, you are missing the mark if you believe it could not happen.

Keep in mind b) and c) from earlier. Each of these centers of power is vulnerable right now. They can't risk losing more of their own members and will fight tooth and nail to keep them. This means that if the members of each order were to stop thinking in terms of factions and approached the leaders and demanded unity it will be hard to resist. If they backed this up, by joining or attempting to join EVERY Golden Dawn group out there at the same time, so that all orders had members in common, that would create an immense bargaining power. The game would be over and there would be more to gain from peace than conflict.

Will it happen?

I have better odds at Vegas because most members of the Golden Dawn do NOT care about the Golden Dawn. They are more like customers. All they want is the best service :)

Peregrin said...

Dear Morgan and other poster,

thank you for this post and the comments. I wait eagerly for part II.

I have been pondering this same question myself and blogged a little about it also. It is all very sad to say the least. At this stage I must admit to feeling pessimistic about GD unity or even mutual respect.

That said I believe it can be accomplished, what was broken can be repaired and even if unity never prevailed historically we can create it now. We are all born from the One, from Unity and share in divinity. Peace, respect and unity have been achieved in all sorts of conflicts, from war downwards. So we can do it also.

That said, I agree with much of the analysis of Hermetic Observer. I think one of the keys to any possible reconciliation is the use of the traditional lodge system. If done correctly this solves many of the problems outlined.

Leadership is therefore not static, it is rotational. Once this is changed there cannot be as much ego as leaders constantly change and in effect there will be no Griffin GD or Zink GD or whomever GD, there will only be the particular Order.

The lack of adherence to the traditional lodge system was one of the main problems with the original GD and those Orders which have survived the long term often adhere to this system.

I also agree that leaders need to periodically review their own system and start from scratch. In the Constitution of our traditional Order it is clear. A person may start a new Temple when commissioned and stand in stead for the Inner Order, effectively making them the ‘leader’ of the temple. However, once there are three Inner Order members of the new temple, they must resign any offices they hold and once again begin the initiation sequence. This is so they may experience the initiations within the temple (with the particular presiding deity) they helped create. In this way they are initiated into the new temple as much as anyone else. They also have less scope or encouragement for ego development.

When it comes to money … well no definite answers. Maybe there is still a way to allow larger Orders to be commercial enough to pay administrative staff. These however could be anyone from the Order, again perhaps rotational or simply the best qualified. There is no reason that the ‘leader’ of an Order should profit from it for simply being the leader. Equally however, practical and real work should be rewarded. I am sure with enough good will, intention and openness there will be ways to develop structures to allow the current leaders to make (or contribute) towards a living by teaching workshops etc, while still being a regular member of a proper Order with rotational leadership. After all people should be motivated to attend their workshops or purchase their products on their intrinsic strengths, not because they are created by a ‘leader’ of a group.

Again, thanks for the post and I hope we as a broader community find our way through this mess.

Imperator David Griffin said...

Care Frater Morgon,

Please note that we have just added a link to your blog from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn blog.

I personally do not think that any sort of a "Unified" Golden Dawn is a good idea. Do you not want your Bast temple to remain independent and autonomous?

But there is another model and paradigm that I think many of us in the community will be able to get behind.

As you are well aware, I have been very concerned by the rapid, spontaneous, and unpredictable appearance of so many independent Golden Dawn temples and orders. I was concerned by temples going off in Thelemic directions and introducing strange thing like Astral Initiation.

It will surely take you a while to get used to the change in my thinking but this tide seems to be gaining momentum. This does not mean that I think Astral Initiation is a legitimate alternative to physical temple initiation. I don't think anyone will ever be able to convince me on that one.

But the rapid and spontaneous formation of new Golden Dawn temples today gives the GD today the possibility of becoming in the 21st Century what Freemasonry was in the 18th Century. By actively encouraging this tendency, the Golden Dawn may yet have a far greater spiritual impact in the new Millennium than we even dream may be possible.

New temples need not be hindered. They should be given encouragement, guidance, and support, and their autonomy and independence should be respected.

However, for this dream to become a reality something needs to be done about the constant defamation. I trying to reason with the anon bloggers, even those who think they are helping our order with what they are doing. They are not. If they want to help, then they should zip their lips.

I notice that you let a comment by from the anonymous troll Tommy from the pro-EOGD anonymous blog, the Golden Dawn Insider. I would greatly appreciate the assistance of the rest of Golden Dawn blogging community in isolating the anonymous defamation troll bloggers, no matter which order they are trashing.

I know you were initially suspicious of our order's effort to create peace in the community. That is OK. Trust takes time to build. But I am not going anywhere.

But perhaps you will also have noticed that the Alpha et Omega is pushing forth our efforts to end the defamation on all sides even though certain other orders have used our peace initiative as a signal to declare open attack season on the HOGD/AO and its members.

We still do not need a united Golden Dawn though. I believe it is much better to have hundreds and hundreds of independent, and autonomous Golden Dawn temples emerging spontaneously. I do believe that we need as a community to take a united stand against defamation and personal attacks in the Golden Dawn community, however, no matter who they are directed towards.

Still, with diversity comes philosophical differences - and discussion of these differences can be a very good thing. The internet offers an amazing opportunity for this. But there is no need for petty personal attacks.

The HOGD last Equinox set out on a new course. We are still on that course despite the non-stop attacks on our order continuing on certain fora and related anonymous websites and blogs. I believe that we can still put an end to this nonsense, however, an set a higher standard for healthy discussion and debate.

Let the merits of the philosophies of the various temples and orders stand on their own merits. They do not need to be propped up with a lot of nastiness.

The HOGD/AO is committed to this course and we are staying the course despite taking heavy fire from those who would continue to fan the flames and preserve old conflicts and destructive tendencies.

Perhaps I am naive, but I am convinced that, the longer HOGD/AO holds this course, the worse the people that want to keep the defamation fires burning are going to look until they will eventually look so bad that they will finally stop. It is already becoming rather obvious who is most invested in continuing with the old status quo of endless flame wars.

Whether you believe it or not, Morgan, we now have the opportunity for a fresh start. The Alpha et Omega is doing everything possible to give the community this fresh start. Our offer to clean up forum archives, blogs, and websites still is on the table on a reciprocal basis with other orders. We have already given two orders a list of things we think should be taken down. So far this initiative has been met only with intensified personal attacks against me and the members of the HOGD/AO. This can still change though.

To make this change easier for the community to palate, the HOGD/AO has even passed the reigns of leadership, sending a clear signal of a major change to the Golden Dawn community. G.H. Frater Lux Aurora, Jean-Pascal Ruggiu is now at the helm.

There is a great opportunity on the table. Let us not miss it.

Speaking of Jean-Pascal, he gave me a message this morning and asked me to publish it as widely as possible on his behalf. I will submit it following this comment, and ask that you approve it as well.

David Griffin

Imperator David Griffin said...

In recent days, several leaders and members of Stella Matutina derivative Golden Dawn orders have accused our order, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, of having changed A.O. symbolism due to the Golden and Red Enameled crosses worn by high grade members of the A.O. Nonetheless, since they have raised the issue, I have discussed the matter at length with our new Chief Adept, G.H. Frater Lux Aurora, Jean Pascal Ruggiu, and he has asked me to pass to you the following message.

Before you read the message from our Chief Adept, however, I invite you to have a look at a photograph of the two of us inside the Vault of the Adepti, as this is a rare glimpse inside the Vault.

David Griffin

Here follow the words of G.H. Frater Lux Aurora, Chief Adept of the Alpha et Omega:


Brothers and Sisters of all Golden Dawn temples everywhere,

I greet you in the name of your brothers and sisters of the Alpha et Omega from around the world. I wish to assure you that the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega wishes to develop and maintain harmonious and fraternal relations with all Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian orders.

I find it puzzling, however, that members of the Stella Matutina or derivative orders should presume to lecture the Alpha et Omega about what we do inside of our own order.

In recent days, several people have alleged that the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega has changed A. O. symbolism due to the Golden and Red Crosses that our Senior members wear. What these accusations actually prove is that our critics remain completely ignorant about the true Rosicrucian affiliation of the Golden Dawn.

Moreover, these accusations also prove that neither Robert Felkin nor the Stella Matutina either ever received the true Rosicrucian affiliation of the Golden Dawn. Perhaps Felkin did receive something from Steiner, but this is an entirely different matter.

The true Rosicrucian affiliation and esoteric transmission of Golden Dawn's 8=3 Grade of Magister Templi, derive directly from the Eighth Grade of Magister Templi of the Gold und Rosenkreutz Order of 1777.

Members of the Magister Templi grade, in all truly Rosicrucian orders at all times in history, in fact, have "always" worn this same cross, even long before the creation of the Golden Dawn.

The reason why G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis (David Griffin) and I, G.H. Frater Lux Aurora (Jean-Pascal Ruggiu) each wear this Golden and Rosy Cross cross is because we have each been regularly initiated in the 8=3, Magister Templi Grade of the Alpha et Omega. Moreover, we have additionally received the direct affiliation and esoteric transmission of the Magister Templi, 8=3, Grade as well.

I can understand that our critics may be confused about this symbol, because In the Stella Matutina, the Magister Templi grade is something completely different, since Robert Felkin never received the true Magister Templi Rosicrucian affiliation or transmission.

Nonetheless, I have no objection at all if a member of the Stella Matutina or of any other order wishes to call him or herself Magister Templi, even though in the Stella Matutuina this is a title only because it does not carry the Rosicrucian affiliation or esoteric transmission of this grade.

Again, I do not care what others do inside of their own orders. That is none of my business. I do object, however, when members of the Stella Matutina or other orders attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the Alpha et Omega, or cause me to waste my time explaining things because they prefer to behave like dogs barking on the internet than to behave with the dignity befitting Adepts.

The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega wishes to see all of the fighting end between different orders of the Golden Dawn.

This does not mean that we will permit attacks on the Alpha et Omega, however.

I promise you that we will strive, honestly and sincerely, to achieve peace between all Golden Dawn orders.

But I must also warn you that any attacks on the Alpha et Omega, whether magical, legal, or merely gossiping on the Internet will be dealt with most severely.

The Alpha et Omega is our order, not yours.

I pledge that we will give all Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian orders the respect and courtesy that you rightfully deserve. We expect the same from you in return as well.

Regarding the specific accusation that our order has changed the symbolism of the Alpha et Omega because of the cross of the Magister Templi, you have been mistaken. However, I would like to make clear that if, when, and where we do decide to change certain symbolism in our own order, that this is our right as Magistri Templi, and it is certainly none of the business of the Stella Matutina or of any other order.

In closing, I would like to remind you that the cross of the Knight's Templar was not merely adopted in the highest grades of the Gold und Rosenkreutz Order and in the Alpha et Omega, but also in the Strict Observance and the Swedish Rites of Freemasonry, by the CBCS in the Rectified Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and in the F.A.R.+C.

What are critics seem to forget is that the Alpha et Omega is not merely a Golden Dawn order but that we are first and foremost also a Rosicrucian one.

G.H. Frater Lux Aurora, 8=3
Chief Adept, Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
Imperator, Ahathoor Temple No. 7
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Soror FSO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soror FSO said...

Frater et Sorors,

I dont' agree with the concept of a "Unified Golden Dawn" but instead wish for a peacful and proffessional GD. Instead of trying to meld all Orders together, wouldn't it be more productive to get them together to share their knowledge? Every Order has its own current, each current taps into its own unique aspect of the egregore. Imagine if we could have a huge Golden Dawn conference every year, where everyone could present thier own personal take on thier studies and magic, so that each Temple and Order could leave, assimilating what they want, and leaving behind what they don't. Of course, at times this approach would cause conflict, just as any cicle of interest with differing opinions does, but if it were kept at a more proffesional level, just imagine the possibiites. In fact, from a scientific perspective, it would allow for some real research to be preformed regarding the true egregore of the Golden Dawn. It would also allow for some standardization of techniques so that the art could be more wholly preserved...I anxiously await this day, along with the other brethren of our path

Imperator David Griffin said...

Care et VH Soror FSO,

I could not agree with you more. I sincerely hope that you will be able to attend the Golden Dawn Harmony Conclave in Paris next Spring, hosted by the Ahathoor temple. You can find complete details on the HOGD/AO blog. Every Golden Dawn initiate is invited, no matter what order or temple they belong to. There is much more that needs to be done to promote Golden Dawn harmony, but at least this is a amall step in the right direction.