The Society of Rosicrucians   11 comments

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Avete Fratres et Sorores!

So lately I’ve had this growing urge to seek membership in the S.R.I.America.  And I recently found a blog written by a Jewish member of the S.R.I.A (he doesn’t say which branch) that inspired me to share my own thoughts here with you good folks.  :)

For those who don’t know, the S.R.I.America  is an irregular branch of the original S.R.I.Anglia – and more specifically of the S.R.I.Scotia.  That’s a lot of initials to sort out, I know, but you can read more about these groups and their history here:

Societas Rosicruciana

My interest lies mainly toward the “…in America” branch – which I called “irregular” because they broke away from the larger family when they decided to admit women and (therefore) non-Masons.  I am, myself, a non-Mason so it’s really my only choice.

Why would I chose this particular route?  Well, I’m sure it is in no small part because the founders of the original Golden Dawn – Westcott, Mathers and Woodman – were themselves members of the S.R.I.Anglia.  In fact, all three of them held the position of Supreme Magus in that organization at different times.

My understanding is that they wished to put their Rosicrucian knowledge to practical (that is, magickal) use – but the S.R.I.A was mainly an academic society that studied Rosicrucianism as an historical curiosity.  So, they created the Golden Dawn as a kind of “occult version” of what they were already doing in the S.R.I.A.  The two Orders use similar Grade structures and terminology.  But the Golden Dawn had an in-depth corpus of occult teaching and practice that the S.R.I.A itself wouldn’t touch.  (That’s where the Cipher Manuscripts, the Theosophical Society, Anna Kingsford’s Hermetic Society and all of that stuff came into play.)

Another reason for my interest is surely because I happen to know the Supreme Magus (Imperatrix) of the current S.R.I.America – Tabatha Cicero.  She’s a hell of a lady, I must say, and I’ve been most fortunate to have her (and her husband, Chic, of course!) as a teacher in the Golden Dawn for the past 15 years.  It has been in the back of my mind for a long time now that she heads the S.R.I.America, and I’m very curious to know “what’s up” on that side of the fence.

I’m sure some of you must be thinking:  “But, Aaron, you’re a famous Pagan.  Why would you try (or even want) to join a Christian-only Order?”

Well, as for “trying” to join such an Order, I’ve seen no resistance at all from Mrs. Cicero to my proposed membership.  In fact, she was quite pleased when I voiced my interest – and she knows very well my stance as a modern Pagan with Neo-pagan origins.  In fact, she herself has an interest in Babylonian Paganism (as we can see in her Babylonian Tarot deck) – and that just so happens to be the ancient Paganism that most influenced my own path.  (If you’ve known me long enough, you might just remember my early work with the Enuma Elish, the 50 Names of Marduk, the Seven Annunaki, etc.  Before I joined the HOGD, I called regularly upon Marduk, Ishtar and the rest of those Gods more regularly than upon the Archangels.)

But I’m digressing…  The second part of the above question deserves the closest consideration:  why would a Pagan even wish to join a Christian Order?  We’ll leave aside the above-illustrated fact that – as Christian Orders go – it’s pretty friendly to Pagans and Neo-pagans.  More important is my own stance in regard to Christian ritual and symbolism.  As a member of the Golden Dawn, I’ve already encountered my share of Christian-based symbolism.  (Especially in the Inner Order.)

And, as a Solomonic mystic I’ve also delved deeply into esoteric Christian belief and practice.  As I described in Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, some of the greatest teachings I received (aside from what I learned from the Santo Ochani Lele) came from a Russian Orthodox Priest named John.  He was as instrumental in my ability to make sense of the grimories as Ochani was.  In fact, it was John from whom I obtained my Solomonic censor – it having been used for several years in his Orthodox Christian ceremonies, several of which I had attended myself.

Yep – you heard me right.  I attended several of John’s masses.  I received his blessings.  I bowed down and touched my head to the floor when the name GOD was sung in the Psalms.  I took the Holy Communion from him.  And all this while I was a practicing Wiccan!

I have always said that religious “hang ups” are a burden one should strive to eliminate from one’s mind and spirit.  The Divine is not found in any single place or tradition.  It is found as surely in Christianity, Judaism and Islam as it is found in Wicca, all forms of Paganism, Shamanism, Sorcery, the Golden Dawn, Masonry and everywhere else human beings have sought it.  And you should be able to enter any Church, any Synagogue, any Mosque, any magickal Circle, any Lodge, any sacred space of any kind and experience the Divine.  You should be able to visit these places, participate in their ceremonies and mean it with all your heart.

If you find yourself in these places and are repelled by their symbols and the names they use for God, then the problem lies within you – not them.  I understand that some of us have had bad experiences with so-called followers of many mainstream religions.  But we’re not talking about them here.  They don’t represent God or Goddess no matter how much noise they make.  You should be able to look past them to the faith they claim to represent.

This is what the Golden Dawn means when its ceremonies say “Hold all religions in reverence, for there is none but contain a ray of the Divine Light which you seek,”  That’s not something to which you should just pay lip-service.  It is a profound Truth – and it is something each of us must strive to achieve.

So, folks, go out there and participate in a Mass.  Attend a Passover meal.  Dance naked to the beat of drums around the bonfire.  Vibrate words of power.  Discuss mathematics and physics with atheists.  Seek the Truth from each and every source you can find – because the Truth can only be found through all of them together, not by restricting yourself to just one tiny part of the Truth.

As for me, I think I’ll go see what these S.R.I.A folks have to teach.  It’ll be fun.  :)

In LVX and BB

Aaron

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Posted July 10, 2012 by kheph777 in golden dawn, rosicrucian

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11 responses to “The Society of Rosicrucians

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  1. It’s “Supreme Magus.” You’re getting confused with “Grand Nagus” who rules over the Ferengi in Star Trek.

    • Thanks Alex. That was really strange – I made that mistake twice in the same blog post, even though I know perfectly well it should be *Spureme* Magus! LOL

      Maybe my mind WAS being polluted with the Feringi references from my Internet Piracy post. lol

  2. Hurray – I agreed with you 100% and it is such a wonderful and free place to be at. Sometimes I know it’s not easy to get there, but if one can rise above what you said about the symbols, names and yes sometimes the people. It is a profound Truth and the Truth shall set you Free…Thanks Aaron

  3. Yes i agree Christian and other religious symbols can all be integrated into one’s Wiccan, Pagan and Magickal paths for sure, as i have confessed to recently also.
    http://blausternschlonge.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/witch-priest-reveals-secret-devotion-to-jesus-and-mary/

  4. This post clearly demonstrates the difference between religious “tolerance”, i.e. being willing to put up with whatever other people want to believe and practice, and religious “solidarity” which recognizes and celebrates the religious experience in its numerous forms and permutations. Sometimes when I am in real trouble and down to my last reserves, I have prayed in seven or so different religions, jointly and severally, meant every word, and gotten immediate relief – even the occasional “miracle” of one sort or another.

    But – and there has to be a but, this is the Internet after all – a cautionary note. One must also recognize and respect the boundaries that define religions as distinct, internally consistent traditions. An approach that freely mixes and matches elements from many different religions is better than no religion at all, but it misses two very valuable aspects of the religious experience: There is a level of power and balance that comes from working with one internally consistent program of theory and practice, that has been tested and refined over many generations of practice. There is also the support of a committed community with extensive experience with the methods and results of the tradition in question.

    People who think they understand “religion” but only consider one to be valid or worthwhile can at best understand “a religion”, and the lack of a larger context makes them much more likely to fall prey to the traps and pitfalls that exist alongside the value and benefits conveyed by any real life religious community. At the other end of the scale people who are religious but do not have “a religion” to call home will be very limited in their understanding of “religion in general” because they are on the outside looking in, without the experience of working with a fully developed tradition as part of an engaged community.

    Finding a suitable religion to call home can be a prolonged quest. A lot of the sorting can be done easily by identifying religions one is simply not interested in. It might help to consider that any religion that is not native to one’s own language and cultural heritage is not a candidate: Religions are built to operate in the context of their native cultural mind-set, and even have a corrective impact on that specific set of shared ideas, habits and assumptions. Conversely, some people want a “safe” religion, in the sense that it won’t actually change them internally; these folk are well served to adopt a religion native to a culture, language, and physical environment they have never lived in. Those who want a “real” religious experience should look closer to home. When likely candidates turn up, one must be aware that “trying it once to see what it’s like” takes months of full immersion – unless on first exposure the clear message is “Get me out of here!”

    Anyone who has read Aaron’s work will not imagine that he thinks it’s a good idea to “make religion up as you go along” by picking out one bit here and another there – he knows what Tradition with a capital T is for and why it is valuable. Nor will they imagine that he thinks any one religion is inherently “better” than others, and as the post above demonstrates he has found powerful content in many religious communities – not just in theory, but by going there and doing that. In regard to the S.R.I.A. as a Christian organization, that should be no problem for a NeoPagan who is not stuck in the frame of reference that “My True Religion” is also the “One True Religion.” Jesus Christ is no less a killed and resurrected Savior than Osiris, and anyone who has done their homework on Jewish mysticism understands that the “real” Trinity is a nameless, genderless undivided God, creating God the Father and God the Mother and through Them, the manifest Universe. What’s so Fascist and Patriarchal about that?

    • Well said, Frater. :) I’ve often made a point that folks should never confuse my essential eclecticism (my ability to engage in various traditions and paths alongside one another) with the kind of “mix-n-match” spirituality that became popular during the 1990s. Each path is a gem unto itself, and one must engage it fully in order to truly experience what it has to offer.

      Of course, even that shouldn’t be taken to an extreme. There are proper times and places for syncretism as well. There are places where one tradition has obvious influence upon another, or where one can usefully inform another.

      As in all things, there just isn’t any clearly defined “black or white” position to take.

      Zorge,
      Aaron

  5. I’ve often pointed out in discussions that it’s almost impossible to identify the Golden Dawn/RRetAC as being confined to one religious tradition. Even leaving aside the modern extrapolations of the GD corpus (the Chakras incorporated by Pat Zalewski’s temples, the OSOGD folding in Thelema and Tibetan mysteries) even the “old Order” had it’s syncreticism. They included the Tattvas, based in Paganism of the Indian subcontinent, as an integral part of their studies. Florence Farr and the Sphere Group within the Isis-Urania Temple explored the Buddhadharma. The early Lodges were shot through with Theosophic influences. In other words, this is nothing new.

    The GD itself is a mixture of Christian, Pagan (various), Hermetic, Jewish, Chaldean, Neo-Platonic, Hindu and Theosophical traditions.

    In the original Pledge Form of the Isis-Urania Lodge, the Candidate signed off on this statement: “Belief in a Supreme Being or Beings is indispensable. In addition, the Candidate, if not a Christian, should be at least prepared to take an in interest in Christian symbolism.”

    It sounds to me that the SRIA (America) is basically expounding the same philosophy.

    I think the approach that makes the most sense is to “compartmentalize” whatever magical practice one is working at a given time. Like Aaron, I’ve attended lots of religious services that I was not personally practicing. I had an opportunity to go to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, for our neighbor’s son’s bar mitzvah (one of the few ceremonies an Orthodox synagogue will open up to non-Jews). It was all very traditional, with men and women on opposite sides with a partition between us, a tabernacle with a gorgeous Torah scroll between the Pillars, and most of it conducted in Hebrew. Drawing on my somewhat eclectic education in Hebrew through the GD (a source of amusement to my Jewish neighbor family – the father, Marshall, was a Cantor and often good naturedly corrected my pronunciations) I tried my best to follow along, join in the cants, touch my fingers to my lips and then to the Torah as it was carried up the aisle to the Tabernacle, etc. Some nice older men sitting near me, far from being dismissive of me, were impressed that the “goyim” was making the effort and helped me keep up with the text. (They even praised me for my Hebrew pronunciation – the tips I had gotten from Marshall paid off!)

    And while I certainly have my issues with YHVH in his “traditional” form, and all of the various atrocities committed by the followers of the “One God”, I still felt the Divine there, iconoclastic Pagan/Chaos Mage though I am.

    So this is the idea: if you’re going to take up a practice such as SRIA, then WHEN YOU ARE WORKING THAT SYSTEM, you conduct yourself as a full believer in that system. This does NOT mean you have to rearrange every aspect of your life OUTSIDE of that Work to behave as some kind of “true believer.”

    If you’re going to join in a game, you’re going to have to play by the rules of the game while you’re playing that game. You don’t walk onto a football pitch and expect to play by the rules of badminton. But this doesn’t mean you have to ALWAYS play ONE and ONLY one game. I believe a true Mage should be able to play by any rules as needed, because a Mage understands the reality that underlies them all.

  6. Thanks Aaron. I agree in full.
    The divine light is everywhere.
    I had this to me too as I use to go everywhere and the divine is present.
    Because this is common people think I´m with this or that group. I was deeper in many, but I can go everywhere god is in ;)

  7. Thanks for the props, Aaron. Great post and replies.

    YShY

  8. Pingback: Open Minded Musings from some Witches and Magickians blogs | blausternschlonge

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