Recently, I have been following a discussion on the existence, or non-existence, of the Secret Chiefs and the Third Order on the Golden Dawn Group (a Yahoo forum). And occasionally the conversation slips over to what the rest of Inner Order and beyond (Adept Minor and beyond) would look like.
I actually have some knowledge (or is it experience) of this subject. When Bast Temple formed, I was one of the members that had to ask what were the limits of the new lodge. How far were we going to go?
One starts out with questions, then one tries their best to come up with reasonable answers. And if you are wise, you periodically re-ask the questions.
Here are a few of the possible questions that one may want to consider if one is trying to figure out what the rest of the Golden Dawn system looks like.
What knowledge and talents are currently available?
Are the roots of Golden Dawn high or low? Is the baseline of the higher Grades based based on the material already in the system? Or is the baseline of the higher Grades contained in rituals that we do not have already?
What admission badges are being used (if any)? What godforms?
Where does a group draw its authority from? Can a group give itself authority?
What are the myths of Inner Order?
Is secrecy absolutely necessary? What is secrecy's true purpose?
Is Golden Dawn about spiritual development? Or about practical magic?
Are the Orders (Outer and Inner [and Third Order if you insist] truly separate?
Why are the higher Grades invitation only?
What is the ultimate goal of the system? And if it is to "become more than human", exactly what does that mean and how do you get there? Why go there?
Should the membership be limited? Or should it be open to all (just like a religion)? Is there a reason for the Order to be only for the elite?
What research and academic standards should apply to the Order?
Can information and rituals from other systems be grafted on?
How much can you change the system and still have it be Golden Dawn?
Do the Secret Chiefs exist? And what form do they take? Is there really a Third Order?
Can ordinary members actually contribute to the system? Or do you have to be "special" to contribute to the knowledge pool of the Order?
Should the subGrades of Adept Minor be reinstated?
Who and what is necessary to initiate a member into the higher Grades? Is astral initiation possible? How about self-initiation?
Are the higher Grades working Grades? Or purely honorary?
How do the rest of the Grades fit into the Four World system? Do all the Grades belong to Assiah?
What benefits come with the higher Grades? What obligations?
What role does simple lodgekit have? Who is supposed to make what decisions?
Are the higher Grades Christian? If so, what form? Hermetic? Gnostic? Thelemic? Pagan? Roscrucian? Egyptian?
Are the higher Grades concerned with magic? Virtues? Alchemy? Psychology? Religion? Parapsychology? Metaphysics?
As you can see there are many questions to be asked. This by the way is just the tip of the iceberg. And if you are serious about developing the rest of the Grades, you must have answers to them, even if they are wrong ones.
(Do like me: reserve the right to change your mind later and make sure people know it. At least that way, you will have a starting point.)
Plus, if you are considering joining a group, you should consider if their opinions are suitable to your needs (there are no absolute answers possible with these questions and your needs will change over time).
(My own current answers will be posted on an irregular basis on this blog. Plus I am betting dollars to doughnuts that other people will wade in with their own blogs and webpages if they have not already shouted their opinions to all who will listen to them. And they will all say that my opinion is wrong; it does not matter as long as my cats still love me.)
Remember to keep your robe handy; the Light is coming for all of us.