Friday, January 29, 2010

Testing and Exams in Golden Dawn

Last night, I was reading the blog of Frater AIT; he was talking about how he feels about the strict tests that the Order that he belongs to does.

(I believe that he is a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Alpha and Omega.)

Anyway, I wanted to post a comment on his blog that I have never been completely sure what the purpose of the strict testing was. I couldn't; even using the shift suggestion that someone mentioned, the "prove that you are a human being" submit button is inaccessible to me.

Of course, by the time I woke up this morning, my mind had dragged out the fact that perhaps the testing and exams that I have undergone are not any less strict than the exams he is undergoing. The difference is that I did not have to submit a written exam until I hit Portal.

But in the terms of strictness, now that I stop to think about it, I am not sure that I escaped with anything easier.

Now I am about to make an assumption about the HOGD/A&O here (or whatever branch that Frater AIT is a member of). If I am wrong...well, then I am wrong.

The assumption that I am going to make is that they are doing the strict paper examinations because they can not test everyone in actual lodge. Therefore, everyone gets tested though a strict written examination instead.

The joke that the HOGD/A&O makes is that they are the Harvard (or is it Oxford?) of the Golden Dawn tradition. I believe them. Sounds too high class for my tastes.

I have came from the Community College/Technical School branch of the Golden Dawn system. Our exams were not written; they were conducted in lodge at the drop of a hat.

Let me stress that point: testing was done in lodge and at random times. There was no cramming for your Grade advancement exams because you had no clue when they were actually going to be conducted.

You had to prove that you had a sufficient level of knowledge about the Grade's knowledge lecture, the Grade ritual itself and the practical working assigned to that Grade. (Those in Bast Temple will recognize the system; it is the same one we are still using.)

You did not have to be perfect, but you had to roll up your sleeves to pass.

(I think that the reason that it did not have to be perfect was simply that you were going to be tested in the form of a pop quiz involving actual power tools. You did not have time to make it perfect; you had to do the work using only what was actually inside your head. Sounds like real life almost, doesn't it?)

Given what I went though, I think that I might have optioned for the strict written examinations if I had the choice. But don't get me wrong, in hindsight I do not neglect being able to pass my exams the way they were conducted. After all, I am more of a magical mechanic than magical scientist/scholar. That is by my very nature, and has nothing to do with the loddges I have ended up in. There are reasons why people like me are barred from Harvard and Oxford; quite simply, I am not a good fit for that type of system (think of me as being just one step away from white trailer park trash).

Frater AIT, on the other hand, seems to be a good fit for the Order that he is in. I am willing to bet that a decade from now (if he is still involved in Golden Dawn) that he will be proud of the way that he was tested; and even if he can not put it in words, he will see the value in the way he was tested.


Unknown said...

Care Fra Morgan,

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out this commenting issue, that only seems to effect a few people.

Are you a Mac user, perchance? I haven't tested in Safari, perhaps my theme needs to be adjusted.

Thanks for letting me know.

Now...I'm not quite sure whether you're insulting me or not in that last bit....but find this post entertaining, one way or the other.


Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

No, I am a Windows PC user.

I have yet to run though all my browsers to see if there is one that likes the formatting there.

No insult intended.

One, we are in a free-market economy; we end up (hopefully) in the Orders right for ourselves. Can you honestly imagine me in the same Order as you?

Two, I have seen people drop out of GD suddenly, and I have no clue about why they dropped out. I have learned not to place bets. Some of the dropouts I did not see coming at all; on the other hand, I have seen people continue with the work that I figured would be gone in a flash. That particular statement was just a habitual CYA statement.

As for not being able to put the value of something in words, I have seen some of the best not be able to explain in words the value of various parts of the system. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that this is one part of the system that you have to live it to know its value and no amount of words can properly describe it.

Unknown said...

Damn. I'll have to try a different direction to figure out this issue.

I certainly could see you in the same Order as myself-I've never heard of a GD Order that wasn't full of clashing personalities...I think that comes with being a bunch of Magicians.

Something about herding cats seems about right...=)

Having read your blog, and knowing what I know about power structures, I'm a bit suprised you are active in any Order, let alone an Officer in one. Pleasantly suprised, mind you.

(This is not an insult, and is entirely a reference to your ideas about free speech and journalism! You aren't naive about how structured, secretive organizations tend to feel about That. I'm sure you are a fine temple member.)

I may not agree with all of your views, but find it positive that you are allowed to express them without political danger from within your Order.

Perhaps I have been too subtle for my own good, and read nuance where there is none-while I wasn't actually offended, I take back any implication that you meant to offend.

I agree with you about the difficulty of finding the right words...especially for these parts of our complicated, multi-varied system.

Unknown said...

In case you run across this, A.I.T., I'm having the same issue on Firefox on my Mac, despite all the tabbing and shifting I've tried.

Oddly enough, Safari on Mac works out just fine. I'll try both on my Windows computers when I get back to them next week

Unknown said...

Thanks for the heads up, Justin! It may be time for a re-design, anyway.