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:
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