Saturday, January 28, 2012

How much diversity is healthy for GD?

One of the questions that periodically surfaces in my mind is: How much diversity does Golden Dawn need to remain healthly?

Various things cause this question to arise in my mind. The most frequent cause is when I watch someone claim that diversity is a good thing, then instantly get upset when someone openly disagrees with their opinion about something---we all have a short list of these people, right?

Last night, the resurfacing of the question came when I read Griffin's weekly Golden Dawn news wrapup, including the part about his Order now owning a website (domain) that was previously controlled by Robert Zink. I am not surprised that the domain switched hands, nor am I surprised that Giffin's Order snapped it up; after all, it is business. I knew that someone was going to take over that domain name, simply because it was too good of an opportunity not to. (Heck, I wished that I had the money to take it over---which says a lot about the size of the opportunity that it represented.)

And let's be clear here---I am not against someone taking over the domain. That is not what this post is about.

What this post is about is that looking at a couple of pages there last night, I realized that I had read those pages before---that what I was seeing was a clone of pages from another site. This change in domain control represents a loss of diversity in our community.

Again, let's be clear here---I am not against Griffin's Order cloning pages to populate the site; I would have done that myself.

What I am kicking around is how much diversity does the Golden Dawn tradition need?

Every once in awhile, you run across someone who says that Golden Dawn needs to unify behind one leader. Of course, I always shook my head when that statement is said, for the simple reason that I would so cease to be a member of the system at that point (why? read this post---the very fact that I ask the question says why). And that is the ultimate result of a lack of diversity in a community---one leader, one voice, one correct opinion.

Now, I will admit that I am not sure how much diversity the Golden Dawn community needs. But I know that it needs enourgh where everyone can find a lodge led by someone that they are comfortable following. And let's be honest, there is no one in the Golden Dawn community that everyone will be comfortable following.

So I throw the question out to my readers---how much diversity do we need in the Golden Dawn community?


Peregrin said...

Thanks for this interesting post. I too saw the cloned pages but never got so far as asking myself this question. It is a tricky one. Ideally, I think there would be a dynamic balance between two ends of a spectrum. One on end there is the Golden Dawn pretty much as it was in the classical GD era, 1888-1918 or so, with its lineages, charters, belief in Secret Chiefs and not as much redaction as today. On the other end we have the possibility of any group of people putting their hands up saying they are a Golden Dawn group, even if they rely very little on the classical Golden Dawn texts, methods and organisations. There was a group in Sydney in the 70-80s that did bugger all actual GD work (preferring mostly Wicca and sex rituals) but still styled themselves ‘Golden Dawn’.

I think our diversity should be such that most GD groups are recognisably somewhere between these two extremes. We are no longer an English Victorian tradition, but I do think there needs to be some adherence to traditional methodology, rituals and currents to be within the GD tradition. Ideally there would be an even spread of groups along the spectrum, with perhaps no group taking the utmost extreme of being a fossil or simply using the GD name.

Now on a much larger scale, the same essential questions have been (and still are) being played out in the Christian community. Before the Reformation in the West, it was really clear what a Christian church was. Just as it was really clear what made a GD temple before the Rebellions against Mathers. And just as now any person or group so inspired can grab the Bible, have a pow-wow with God and declare themselves a Church, so too can any group grab the published GD materials and make themselves a temple. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

However, following the parallel, there are so many varieties of Christians doing completely different things (snake handlers, Sunday boring, mystics, lamb sacrificers, white extremist racial cleansing) it becomes meaningless to even use the word ‘Christian’ in some ways. And of course many Christians would not accept the ‘other’ folk as ‘real’ Christians.

Similarly in the GD: there are some in the GD community that have so radically altered its structure, practices, Gods and rituals that I wonder if they are still working the same current as our Order. And, as said, there are some that use the name but are more interested in...other things. So perhaps we should start talking about Golden Dawns plural, not the Golden Dawn as a singular community/tradition? Too hard a question for me to answer, really :)

Unknown said...

I think that the GD only ever had one leader in its first ten years of existence. You could argue that the fragmentation of the system actually encouraged the growth of the GD as a movement.
For all its faults, Zinks site did have some good resources on it. I hope that was is there now will be replaced by something more tasteful and informative.
One thing that Zink should have taught the esoteric community is that you can't run the Golden Dawn as a business. Sure you can run esoteric training courses, but Orders should not be heavily marketed. They should say "we are here. Here is the sort of information we provide and that is it.

Frater Yechidah said...

Diversity is a good thing. As Nick mentioned, the original schism helped the GD to grow in many different directions under many different rulers. In some ways modern schisms also reflect that. While obviously there are a few bad apples within the tradition, that's normal and to be expected of a growing, thriving tradition. Thelema and Wicca, for example, have similar problems.


lux_infinitas said...

I really like the direction of this question. It reminds me of your earlier blog about accepting someone into your lodge from another branch of the system. And while I do enjoy diversity, I cannot partake of it as freely as I would like. Not for some moral reason, but for the same above reason. Since I'm not of your ilk (in the immediate, even if we should say we have a quasi-fraternal bond through the G.D. system).
I would love to be a witness to a 0=0 throughout all of the orders. I would love to see the similarities and disparities, but not to the degree that I would have to join another order to do so. We all know the hard work it is to be a member of one order.
I don't agree with the Highlander method myself, but then there's the rub I suppose.