Saturday, August 29, 2009

Enshrining Regardie

Pat Zalewski, over on the Golden Dawn Group yahoo forum, is busy taking another tilt at convincing people that Regardie had a limited view of Golden Dawn.

I doubt that he is going to succeed in convincing anyone to change their mind.

Outside of a couple of people who have reason to see Regardie as a vemonous toad who broke all possibility of them being able to milk members for the privilege of seeing the Outer Order material (stuff that most of them would not have obtained if it wasn't for Regardie in the first place), most of us view Regardie as a beloved Frater of the Order who has became the unofficial Godfather of Golden Dawn.

And either you enshrine the man for saving the system, or you shrug your shoulders and get on with the Work.

Those people who enshrine Regardie hold his books up as the limit of what Golden Dawn and the RR et AC can be. For them, the rituals beyond Neophyte have no corresponding godforms despite indiciations that Adepts always perform the Work with the aid of godforms. For them, the last Grade of the system is ZAM (Zelator Adeptus Minor 5=6).

(There are also people who enshrine Mathers, Crowley, and the Secret Chiefs; all this enshrining limits what Golden Dawn can be.)

Those who just shrug their shoulders and move past the limits of what Regardie thought have learned already that his viewpoint was limited. It is a matter of experience. Those who are experienced know firsthand that there are things past the limits of the Regardie material.

In my own case, I got lucky. My first encounter with Golden Dawn was with a group of people who saw Regardie as a human being complete with flaws and warts. This group would have gotten along with Pat---scary thought as that is. I never even got a chance to enshrine Regardie.

As someone pointed out in an online class I attended today: Regardie only attended ritual seven times.

Read that again: seven times.

My cat has attended more rituals than Regardie did. My cat probably also has a better understanding of the rituals than Regardie, or Mathers for that matter, ever did.

It is one thing to read the works of Regrdie, but one should use a grain of salt when using them as Holy Writ; they are not a true indiciation of what Golden Dawn can be.

I wish Pat luck in his windmill tilting session. But I am not going to hold my breath that he is going to succeed in convincing a single person to change their mind.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gauging the state of Golden Dawn

One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that people gauge the overall condition (state) of Golden Dawn from a very limited perspective.

It is not surprising that we do this. After all, Golden Dawn is a secret society. It is not like we record our meetings and post the entire proceedings on the internet.

But one needs to remember that we are only getting snapshots of what is going on in Golden Dawn today. We have limited information to base our judgments about the health and general condition of the system.

And this is true of the past, as well as the future.

What caused me to openly realize this is recently I ran across someone talking about the state of Golden Dawn in the nineties...the Golden Dawn they remembered from the nineties was not the Golden Dawn I remembered.

And why not?

For one thing, we belonged to different Orders in different parts of the country. Hence, we had different leaders, different memberships, and different concerns.

You can not judge the entire system, and whether it is dying or not, based solely on your local scene. Nor can you base it on the postings of a single internet group, blog, or member.

Even if you read all the internet postings on all the public forums, you still would not know what was going on behind closed doors.

In order to know the full state of Golden Dawn, you have to know everything that is going on...and no one can accomplish this (not even the Secret Chiefs).

You can not say that the modern Golden Dawn is no longer painting fish blue unless you know everyone in Golden Dawn and what they are doing. There may very well be a group (or member) that is still painting fish blue.

On the other hand, you can make guesses. Certain members ask questions that provide good indications of what they are currently studying. Certain leaders telegraph what is going on behind closed doors with their broadsides. But please keep in mind, that these hints are still just snapshots and not the whole picture.

So the next time that you think Golden Dawn is dying, think again. The same holds true if you think it is growing. Your opinion of the state of Golden Dawn (as well as mine) is just an guessimate.

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Ten) Saturn Wall

This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is the Saturn Wall of the Vault. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the day: Lindholm on Mom and Pop Orders

[T]here are hundreds of small groups with grand-sounding titles that have few members and that come and go like people through a revolving door at the bank on payday. Someone may decide one day to unilaterally announce the existence of the Glorious Hermetic Order of the Paisley Doodlebug with himself as Grand Exalted Poobah and Master of the World, and eventually, by means of correspondence and computer networking, he will work around to having as many as half a dozen members worldwide---if his dues are not too expensive. Having come that far, he may publish leaflets, pamphlets, even books outlining the philosophy and practices of the order. In spite of the fact that there has never been a meeting of the order, beyond informal gatherings of two or three friends at the local pizza parlor, one gets the impression of vast temples and tesselated pavements, with robed acolytes lining the cloisters like extras at the opera. Somewhere in a hidden enclave are the secret masters of the order, running the show---and perhaps the world---from their arcane hideaway. Then, two years later, everyone has lost interest and forgotten all about it, including the Poobah himself.

This scenario is not always true, however. Sometimes the group will survive for many years while maintaining this mysterious and impressive reputation---but with no members at all except for the founder and his wife.


Heads of orders will please not now contact the author or publisher to complain that their group has been unjustly defamed. How do you know it's your group we're talking about---unless you have an uneasy conscience? Maybe it's somebody on the opposite coast.

From Pilgrims of the Night (1993) by Lars B. Lindholm

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Announcing that I am God's gift to Golden Dawn

Hear yea! Hear yea! I am God's gift to Golden Dawn!

Just kidding.

As those of you who also read my writing blog know, earlier this week (Thursday), I recieved the nastiest email ever from one of my relatives. Combing though the explosion, she said that I am wasting my time in college, mooching off my wife, and have no potential to be a writer or teacher.

She also said that I brag about how important I am to Golden Dawn.

Really? Do I brag about being important to Golden Dawn?

I thought that was Fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-enemy's job.

I will admit to being proud of the fact that I am currently a Practicus Adept Minor (PRAM/PAM 5=6) in one training program. And I do play an important role in my local lodge, Bast Temple. I also have a pretty impressive Adminstrative Grade (someone thought I would reach the highest of Grades someday).

But I don't remember bragging about it.

I will admit that I am self-centered, selfish, emotional-crippled, and perhaps my father would hate my life decisions I have made if he was still alive.

But I protest being called delusional. As should everyone reading this blog; then again, I presume that you believe in magic.

(If not, why are you reading this blog?)

Nevertheless, I am kicking around the possibility that I have been bragging about my involvement in Golden Dawn. Or perhaps I am kicking around actually doing some bragging. I am not sure which.

I will admit that the email hurt. A lot. Especially the fact that she does not think that I have the potential to be a writer because I do not have a full range of emotions.

She is right. For several hours, all I wanted to do was dunk her in a toliet. It took me a whole day to realize that I still love her despite what she thinks of me.

Reading the email, I think her biggest problem with me is simply that I am not even remotely matching what she believes a big brother should be like: supporting, nuturing, all that jazz.

Hades, I am not even remotely like what Fill-in-the-blank-with-your-most-hated-Golden-Dawn-expert thinks a Neophyte of Golden Dawn should be like, not alone an evolved human being. And I think that I am important to Golden Dawn, bragging about it even. Egads!

I would like my relatives to accept me for who I am. The lazy, opinionated annoying pest that I am. But that is my ideal relative. My actual relatives, who I still love despite not accepting my flaws, have a lot of warts.

As do all my readers.

Just kidding.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Nine) Floor of Vault

This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is the floor of the Vault. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

OMG! I know some Biblical history

Well, today is the second day of school which is a lot more fun than justifying my book reviewing methods for the umpteeth time.

(By the way, I am not sure I feel like justifying my book reviews to someone who can not spell my name right. It is NOT Morgan Drake Epstein; it is Morgan Drake Eckstein. It is a subtle difference. My last name means "cornerstone"; I have no idea what Epstein means. All I know is that none of my work shows up on a goggle of Morgan Drake Epstein.

(As for my posting book reviews on Associated Content and having Adsense on my blog, I happen to be a freelance writer. I realize that the world view of occultists says that writers should give all their copyrights away, and never make a dime, for the good of humanity. But I believe that the divine wants me to have a roof over my head...and considering writing and annoying people are the only two skills I have...well, you get the picture.

(Furthermore, going back and changing a book review when my opinion of the book has not changed...I am sorry...are you trying to control the free press? By the way, research by book publishers has always indicated that bad book reviews do not hurt book sales. The key to book sales is "buzz"; even a bad book review is helpful.

(And there is a long list of writers who think I reviewed their work wrongly...get in line. Nobody is getting a rewrite; your personal opinion of my motives are no more important than my friendship with the other writers that I have trashed.

(I am not sure if any of that was helpful, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Now back to the regular scheduled blog post.)

So this semester, my third at the University of Colorado at Denver, I am taking:

Chemistry for the Consumer
Colorado History
Gothic Literature
and The Bible as Literature.

It was during The Bible as Literature class that I realized that I am not a normal student. And not just in the nontraditional sense (remember I became a freelance writer and a college student because of unemployment).

Now, I am taking the Bible class because I am not terribly familar with the Bible. Occasionally, I can spot a Biblical reference when I run across it; but most of the time, I will have no clue where it is from. Not good if you are a Literature major, or a ceremonial magician for that matter.

As a kid, my background in the Bible was the Big Little Book of Bible Stories. My parents did not agree on religion, so I was raised with none with the exceptation of the forementioned book. The little bit of religous training I got was from my aunt: a Garderian witch. I did some exploring and browsing of various religions in my twenties before coming back to Wicca, though I adopted a different flavor to call my own.

In the nineties, I found myself in Golden Dawn, which for some reason does not seem to be the same branch or culture as some other people experienced (could it be that they told the hierarchy where to go for a reason?); this is where I picked up my initial Kabbalah training.

(I was also influenced by Modern Magick, which despite being published by a certain book company, was actually a working textbook, as in it was attempting to teach practical magic.)

And as everyone who studies Kabbalah eventually learns, it is rooted in the Bible. Which is how the son of a Catholic went back studying the lore of his ancestors who decided to become Catholic to avoid being burned at the stake for being Jewish.

(I am not sure how they would feel about me being pelted for writing terrible book reviews...but I am not changing my opinion, thank you very much.)

Though the course of studying Kabbalah, I picked up some history of how the Bible came to be (I love history, hence my minor). That and I have tied some of the history classes I have taken to waht I already knew.

So I knew I had some knowledge about the history connected with the Bible.

What I did not realize was that my peers, my fellow class mates, had no knowledge of how the Bible came into being. We were doing the scaffold exercise (the professor borrowed the idea from Carl, who I had for Greek history two semesters ago). Basically you are given ten events in a random order that occur in the period of history you are about to study. You try to put them in order. (I did better with Bible history than I did with Greek history.)

These ten events became the scaffold (or in my case, a ladder) that you plug the rest of the dates into. It is the big picture, much like plugging things into the Tree of Life.

But I can not help worrying about my fellow college students. I presume that they are representive of their generation. No sense of history, no sense of literature. And most of them, informal poll, seem to be communication majors.

It is obivous that my bad book reviews are not the only thing that the world needs to worry about.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why Golden Dawn officers frown on the use of drugs for magical purposes

There is something that needs to be stated about why Golden Dawn lodge officers (this includes the RR et AC and mythical Third Order) frown on drug use for magical purposes. Not only are drugs illegal (as an organization, we do not like having any meeting end with a police raid), drugs lead to random illuminations at best, delusions that you are spiritually advancing at worse.

It does not matter if drugs kill brain cells.

What matters is that drugs sensitizes the energy bodies, leaving one open to suggestion from any wandering entity that comes by. If you are lucky, they are higher in the chain than you are; if you are unlucky, they are less evolved than you are. Drugs also inflate the ego and lower passions.

Golden Dawn is about bringing a person to a certain energetic and spiritual place. The use of drugs in magic and spiritual development randomizes this process, and works against what Golden Dawn is trying to accomplish.

Our Magic is about control. It is not about visiting random spots in the universe, nor is it about making you feel better. Our Philosophy concerns controlled evolution. Randomness and the lack of controls works against what we are doing.

This is my official opinion as a lodge officer.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quote of the day: Waite on the Fool

A. E. Waite, a member of Golden Dawn said, in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, that “Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in [the Fool], which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.”

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Eight) Jupiter Wall

This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is the Jupiter Wall of the Vault. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Occult price index

I was just reading a blog (Luke Sidewalker) and realized that I do not remember the last time that someone mentioned the consumer price index on the news. Sidewalker, whose blog is mainly about picking up loose change, is starting a new monthly feature on his blog where he tracks the price changes of twenty items. He feels that this is a better indicator of inflation/deflation than using car and housing prices.

For those who took economics, this is a "price index" and the set of items that is tracked every month is referred to as a "basket". (Yes, I took a couple of economics classes over the past couple of years.)

Reading his list, and the suggestions of his readers, I realized not only do I gauge the state of the economy like this, but I have some weird things in my basket. Besides the normal milk, eggs, bread, cat food and printer ink, I also have occult books, candles and incense that I also buy on a regular basis.

I know that I am using them in my own personal index, besides complaining about the rising cost of cat food all summer, I think everyone has heard my complaints about the rising costs of occult books.

But it made me wonder what type of things would end up in a basket for an occult price index. What types of things do all occultists pay for on a regular basis? Incense? Candles? Tarot decks? Lodge dues? Virgin chickens?

The world may never know.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who is my audience?

Lately, I have been kicking around the question of who is my audience. A little bit more than I normally do.

Part of it is the fact that I am starting another semester of writing for Campus Connections, the student newspaper of the Community College of Denver. And we just switched editors, so it is time to refocus what the paper aims for.

Now, a lot of this refocus for me is cleaning up my astrology column based on what I learned last year. But some of it is simply trying to figure out who reads the college newspaper in the first place. Outside of myself and a couple of friends I do not know anyone who reads Campus Connections. (And I read anything, especially if I am bored, so I am not a typically reader. Plus I am a non-traditional student.)

But the question extends past the newspaper. Who exactly is reading my stuff?

I think the high point of pondering the mystery of my audience came recently when I was writing an article on money spells to post on Associated Content. Should I aim for people who know something about magic and money spells (why are they reading AC if they already know something) or should I aim for everyone who does not know the first thing about magic?

In the end, I tossed another item on the stack of beginner's material, doing just a simple money spell that in theory anyone can do. It boiled down to a pageview answer. I just don't think that there are that many advanced people out there to justify writing something complicated (I could be wrong).

What I would really like to see is a market study of the pagan/wiccan/ceremonial magic readership. One that does not rely solely on guessing the audience profile based on the number of books sold (if you go just by the numbers, only beginner pagan/wiccan and new age books and articles should be written). But I am betting that if such a study existed, it would be a trade secret. Alas, I can dream.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Affliation and bias

Recently, I was reading a post on the Golden Dawn Forum from someone involved in setting up a Golden Dawn group in Massachusetts. They want an unbiased explaination about the differences between the various branches of the Golden Dawn system.

They are not going to get one.

It is impossible to know the differences between the various branches of the system and not have a bias. If you have an association with a branch of the system, you are biased. If you are not affliated with a branch, but can percieve differences between them, you have a bias.

The reason that they want an unbiased opinion is so they can figure out what branch to associate with; they did not state that they wanted an affliation, but I suspect that they feel that they must have a connection to one of the existing branches of the system to be legitimate.

Now everyone who knows me knows my personal bias.

I feel that a group should actually start out without an affliation. Each Golden Dawn group (lodge) is different. Each group has their own working style. Each group has their own way of dealing with the hierarchy and administrative side of things.

And often, when left to their own devices, a group doing the work (working the system) will discover that they are happier not answering to anyone else. Or at the very least, that their opinions of the right way of doing things does not match any existing group.

Charters, Warrents and Affliations (Associations) come with rules. One should know what makes them happy before burdening oneself with a bunch of rules.

That is my opinion.

If a group decides after a couple of years of work that they want to affliate with one of the Big Name Orders, or even one of the smaller ones, then at that point they should feel free to do so. At least then, they will have a benchmark to compare the advantage (if any) of belonging to a Grand Lodge.

Color and Vault study 2000 (Part Seven) Side of Pastos

This is part of a study of the color scales and the Vault of the Adepts that was done in 2000. It was not the world's best study, nor is it the best scan on earth. This is one of the sides of the Pastos which contains the image of the founder of the RC Brotherhood. Original is drawn in color pencil on the back of a large index card, and is part of my personal baseline (however wrong that is).

Posted the last two astrology articles

Yesterday, I finally got around to posting the last two astrology articles I wrote last semester for Campus Connections, the student newspaper of the Community College of Denver. Outside of these, I only have one article left that I plan on posting on the web; and it is a Halloween themed one, so I am going to wait until October to republish it.

(There were a couple of other articles I wrote for the paper; but they are either really bad or very narrow audience, so I am not going to republish them.)

I definitely wanted to post these last two before I started reprinting the ones that I am going to be writing this year for the student newspaper.

One of the reasons that I have been at so many of the staff meetings for the paper is that I wanted some format changes in the way I was doing the astrology column. That and the little fact that I have already seen the schedule for the writers' meeting, and I am in class during them: hence I am going to miss a lot of meetings this semester.

The biggest format change that is going to happen is that I am no longer going to be writing an introduction (editorial) section for the astrology column: just the sun signs are being read according to my informal reader survey. There were other changes, but they were all print media related.

If anyone is curious, the last two articles were about pet peeves of college students and a sun sign career guide.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Geocities is closing

Geocities is closing in October and honestly I could care less, both as a writer and as the webmaster of my lodge.

There is the option of transferring the pages to Yahoo webhosting for eight dollars a month (a whole year at a time). But the lodge related pages never got any traffic, nor did my pages as a writer. That is why I quit adding pages to both sites.

No traffic=massive waste of time and energy.

I can find the geocities pages on a search engine, but only because I know what words to search with. No one ever finds these pages unless they are purposely looking for them.

And I have no idea why anyone linked to them (a couple of people did for some reason beyond my ability to reason out), despite the fact that my blogs right here on Blogger (or at least two of them) and the Bast Temple website (done with Microsoft Office Live) were better examples of the work being done by me and the lodge.

So let us wave goodby to geocities; I am sure not going to miss them.