Archive for the ‘chic cicero’ Tag

Respecting the Regardie Lineage   13 comments

Greetings fellow ‘Dawners!  It is time for a brand new rant!

Israel Regardie

Israel Regardie

Regardie-bashing has become a fad, and I’ve had quite enough of it.

This is a problem I have seen growing for a long time now.  But before I get into that, let me give some background:

The modern Golden Dawn movement got its start when Chic Cicero founded the new Isis-Urania Temple in the late 1970s.  Before long, he established contact with the man who – at the time – was believed to be the last living adept of the old Order: Dr. Israel Regardie.  Chic was building a new Vault of the Adepti, and he wanted Regardie to come by and inspect it for him.  In the end, Regardie not only inspected it, but also performed the Consecration of the Vault and the first initiations within it.  With that, the modern Golden Dawn was born, with initiatory lineage through Regardie back to the old order.  Chic dubbed his new order the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it stands today as the oldest, largest and most successful G.D. organization in history.  (It has far out-stripped the original order, which only existed between 1888 and 1903.  And will soon be older than the post-schism orders of Stella Maturina and Alpha et Omega – both of which had all but vanished by the Second World War.  There was also a third order that descended from the Stella Matutina and lasted much longer – but we’ll get to them later.)

HOGD Vault of the Adepti

HOGD Vault of the Adepti

However, keep in mind that Chic was/is an American occultist.  He wasn’t too interested in being a guru, handing down dogmatic mysteries to be consumed by an adoring and unthinking cult.  He wasn’t out to impress you with the deep mysteries he knows but refuses to share with you (due to “oaths”).  Instead, he wanted his order to grow and thrive and for the Western Mysteries to be available to anyone who takes interest in them.  To that end, he and his wife Sandra Tabatha Cicero (who would quickly become one of the Order’s three chiefs) have produced an impressive library of books about the Golden Dawn and Hermeticism.

Now over 30 years have passed, and the result of the Ciceros’ dedication and hard work are plain for all to see.  Beyond the many existing HOGD Temples around the world, there are now dozens of different G.D.-based orders or independent Temples out there.  Most of them have some connection to the Ciceros’ group – many were founded by former HOGD adepts, and/or are using the Golden Dawn name and system under our trademark.  (This is freely-given legal protection, so others can run their Temples without fear of lawsuits from those who would “own” the Golden Dawn for themselves.)  All of them have their own unique “take” on or approach to the system, but there is no Golden Dawn group in existence who has not benefited from the vast corpus of written material published by the Ciceros.

Chic Cicero and Israel Regardie

Chic Cicero and Israel Regardie

Tabatha Cicero and Israel Regardie

Tabatha Cicero and Israel Regardie (dirty old man!)

But this was supposed to be about Regardie, right?  It is true that none of us would be here talking about the Golden Dawn today if it were not for Chic and Tabatha Cicero.  Yet, if you ask them who they have to thank, you can bet the answer will be Israel Regardie.  Having initiated into the Stella Matutina branch of the order just before the War, he bore witness to its decline and eventual fall.  He knew that something drastic must be done to save the material from vanishing into obscure history – finally deciding to publish as much of the Order’s papers as he could gather.  The few members who were still hanging on were polarized by this action:  some of them were affronted that Regardie would break his oaths of secrecy and “profane” the Order’s secrets.  Others were actually happy to have a printed version of the Grade Lectures and other material that, previously, had to be copied by hand.  (To get a feel for this last point, just grab your copy of Regardie’s The Golden Dawn – yes, I know you have one – and imagine sitting down to hand copy the whole thing.)

Regardie’s book had a massive impact on the modern Western occult revival.  Long before Chic Cicero came along, the book was being mined by Neopagans, Thelemites and just about every Western occult or mystical group you could name.  (Margot Adler mentions this in Drawing Down the Moon.)  And, it was that very book that inspired Chic Cicero to build his own Temple.  Regardie came to see that Temple (and its newly-constructed Vault) and ended up giving legitimacy to what might have been little more than a camp of Thelemites and strippers in Georgia.  Regardie became the initiatory link between the new Order and the old.

Give all of the above, it might seem strange that anyone involved in anything Golden Dawn would feel it necessary to bash Regardie – and by extension to insult my entire Order and lineage.  Yet, it is happening, and I suspect it is mostly because the HOGD is so large and successful.  Given its authoritative position in the greater G.D. Community, it is sadly human nature to want to “take it down a peg.”  Some take the route of attacking Chic and Tabatha directly – though that’s a slippery slope because they are: a) beloved by nearly everyone and b) still alive.  Regardie, meanwhile, is just some old guy who died before many of you were born (or, in my case, when I was just a little kid).  He’s an easy target.  Thus, we hear much about what an awful oath-breaker he was, or how he didn’t really hold the Grade we thought, or how he had no institutional authority to found a new Order, or that he never participated in any rituals, or that he was once a jerk to some of his Temple chiefs, etc, etc.  Why I’ve even been told, point blank, that Regardie had no lineage to give!

And this is what I’ve been watching over the past few years.  Specifically, it seems to be the popular thing now to be a Golden Dawner but to eschew Regardie entirely.  He got it all wrong, they say.  We have the real mysteries, they claim.  They refer with disdain to the “Regardie upstart orders” and pretend that they represent the “real” Golden Dawn while the rest of us are merely children at play.  It is insulting – not just to Regardie, but to the Ciceros and to my Order.

One of my largest areas of concern lies with another Golden Dawn group – that third off-shoot Order I mentioned but failed to name above.  However, before I do I want to make something very clear:  I’m about to start talking about some good people, and I don’t want to give the slightest impression that I have a problem with any of them or all of them collectively.  For the rest of what you are going to read, please understand my tone is that of a brother bitching about his brothers – there’s nothing but love beneath it, and if you have anything bad to say about them we can step outside.  ;)  So, on with it:

The group in question is generally known by the name Whare Ra – though that was the name of the building housing their Mother Temple, while the temple’s official name was Smaragdum Thallasses (Emerald of the Sea).  This was chartered in New Zealand as Temple #49 of the Stella Matutina, and (after the collapse of the rest of the SM) became the Order’s Mother Temple.  Of the original Golden Dawn Orders (G.D., Stella Matutina, Alpha et Omega and Whare Ra), it can be said without question that Whare Ra was the most successful.  Unlike its sister temples it did not close during WWII (thanks to being tucked safely away in New Zealand), and in fact continued to operate until the late 1970s.  (Chic was building his Temple in America just as Whare Ra was closing its doors.)  Their only failing – and they likely didn’t see it as such – was that they never opened further Temples and eventually stagnated before closing.

Ware Ra Vault of the Adepti

Whare Ra Vault of the Adepti

Fortunately, we know about Whare Ra today because the Order’s adepts didn’t stop being adepts merely because their Temple stopped holding meetings.  Some of the elderly adepts continued to teach and share their mysteries with others who were pursuing the Golden Dawn tradition.  You may recognize a couple of their names – like Jack Taylor and Frank Salt.  While those men have long-since passed away, their students (even if never initiated into Whare Ra itself) have propagated their teachings.  Just a few short years after the HOGD was established by Regardie (who we only thought was the last living adept!), Pat Zalewski made it publically known that the Whare Ra lineage still existed.

That’s a good thing, right?  Damn straight it is!

But this leaves us with a bit of a problem: culture clash.  The Whare Ra people are not American, and they aren’t so fast and loose with information as the Ciceros and those who follow in their footsteps.  They enjoy that old-world feel for their mysteries.  They love their secrecy, and their adept links to the past (Salt and Taylor) never went public like Regardie did.  I would say that, for the most part, the Whare Ra people – folks like Pat and Chris Zalewski and Tony Fuller – feel as if they represent the last vestiges of the old Golden Dawn in the world today.

Before I continue, let me be perfectly clear yet again:  neither the Zalewskis nor Fuller are out there bashing Regardie.  That’s part of a larger trend that I think I covered well enough in the rant above.  No, my real concern with the Whare Ra folks is that I all too often feel an “us vs. them” tone in what they say.  Though never stated outright, they can come across as if they believe they are the “real” Golden Dawn while everyone else is “just following Regardie’s books” and can therefore be dismissed.  The Whare Ra lineage doesn’t seem to have any love to lose for Regardie (it was one of them who stated Regardie had no lineage to give) and it comes through in what they say and write.

As most of you probably know, there have been a few internet trolls out there who have spent the last couple of decades trying to convince us all there are “warring factions” in the Golden Dawn.  You’ve heard of “trademark wars” that in fact never happened.  You’ve heard of decades-long flame wars, though no one can ever find the culprits.  As I have stated over and again, this is all complete bunk.  True Golden Dawn orders do not compete for members, nor do they even hold recruitment drives.  (If you ever encounter a G.D. group that advertises or pressures you to join, just walk away.)  And as for “warring factions”, the fact is that in reality the various G.D. Orders work together nicely and even do projects together.  Yeah, I know that’s pretty damned boring in comparison to the fantasy that we are all powerful wizards having battles with one another in cyberspace and on the astral plane.  Sorry…

But now I am concerned that we could be witnessing the rise of two actual factions of the Golden Dawn:  American/HOGD and European/Whare Ra.  Ideally, these would simply be two schools of the G.D. (and for now they are), but I use the word “faction” because there is a very real danger we could end up enemies.  Not that I can imagine Pat Zalewski or Tony Fuller ever declaring themselves enemies of the Cicero school, but I do fear that if the “us vs. them” tone continues, we could see hostilities develop between the two schools within a generation or two.

I don’t believe for a second that the Whare Ra lineage represents the “real” Golden Dawn at the expense of the Regardie lineage.  And, quibble all you want over whether Regardie was ZAM or ThAM, I do not buy the concept that he had no lineage to give.  (Sure he wasn’t a 7=4 when he founded the HOGD, but then Mathers and Westcott weren’t 7=4 when they founded the G.D. either.  Hell they weren’t even 5=6 – but that’s another discussion.)  Regardie, flawed as he was, is our initiatory link with the old order – he’s our prophet or patron saint, if you will – just as Frank Salt and Jack Taylor are for the Whare Ra camp.

Let’s give all of these old dudes the credit they deserve – for without them what would any of us be doing right now?  And, can we please remember to respect each other and treat one another as brothers?  Yes, that means we’ll duke it out from time to time – but let us never ever allow it to become warring factions, or have one group look down its nose at the other.

If you want to see the Facebook thread that started all of this, see Regardie’s Supposed ThAM Grade by Tony Fuller.  (It’s tone irked me, but he really does make a good historical point about one of Regardie’s papers.)  Plus, Nick Farrell has also responded to this discussion with is own thoughts about Whare Ra and the dangers of factions arising in the G.D.:  Whare Ra and the Modern Golden Dawn.

Stay strong in the LVX, brothers!  :)

Zorge,

Aaron

RELEASED: Ritual Offerings : Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick   3 comments

Greetings fellow sorcerers!

You’ve been waiting for it… and waiting… and it’s finally here!

Nephilim Press has finally released the much-anticipated anthology:

Ritual Offerings Book Shot

Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick

Ritual Offerings:

Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick.

So grab your copy now while supplies last!*

Ritual Offerings Inside-Cover

Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick (inside cover art)

Spirits are not merely an option or tool to be utilized when the magician deems it necessary. Spirits are the very heart and soul of all magick. A consecrated talisman has a spirit attached to it that contributes to the talisman’s power, the incantations we use work because the spirits heard them and acted. We are not alone when cast our spells; our patrons and familiars are always present, casting the spells with us.

Throughout history, ritual offerings have been the central pillar of all magick and religion. Very often, a magickal ritual consists of nothing more than the making of a prescribed offering to a particular spirit in a specified time and place, yet here in the West, the making of an offering has been equated with the worship of the spirit receiving it. The act of offering a spirit something as payment for services rendered has a close association with the dreaded “pact with the Devil,” by which a magician surely sells his soul to damnation, but to the rest of the world an offering is intended to feed and empower a spiritual entity, and to pay it fairly for its aid.

The art of making proper offerings to the spirits is a complex one, rife with strict protocols and warnings, but if you take the time to learn this ancient and powerful art, it will supercharge your magick like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Strictly Limited to 900 numbered copies and filled with over 280 pages of essays and actual photos of authors’ ritual altars, Ritual Offerings unites twelve practicing occultists who share their knowledge and experience with this fascinating and important subject. Traditions from around the world such as Solomonic magick, Tibetan Buddhism, New Orleans and Hatian Voudou, Western Hermetic Theurgy and more are discussed in great detail. Regardless of your tradition, Ritual Offerings will guide you in feeding your patrons and familiars safely and effectively and contribute to our overall success and growth as a practitioner.

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

Contributors:

Aaron LeitchIntroduction: Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism and Liber Donariorum: the Book of Offerings

Zadkiel: The Elements of Making Offerings: The Offering as Sacrifice

Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)Whispers from a Skull: Lessons in Spiritual Offerings from a Conjured Familiar

Brother Moloch: Ancestors & Offering

Frater Rufus Opus: The Back Yard Path toward the Summum Bonum

Denise M. Alvarado: Ritual Offerings in New Orleans Voudou

Jason MillerSevered Head Cakes and Clouds of Dancing Girls: Offerings in Tibetan Buddhism

Nick FarrellOfferings In Roman Deity Magic

Sam Webster, M.Div., Ph.D., founder OSOGDOfferings in Iamblichan Theurgy

Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero: Ritual for the Declaration of Maa-Kheru

Gilberto Strapazon: Offerings in Ceremonial Magick and African Traditional Religions

(* – There are currently plans to release a paperback version of this book once the hardbound numbered copies have sold out.  Stay tuned!)

michael-offering-front

Offering Altar to St. Michael

Samael-Offering1

Offering Altar to Archangel Samael

 Click Here To Order

UPDATE: Ritual Offerings : Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick   Leave a comment

Greetings fellow sorcerers!

 

Ritual Offerings Inside-Cover

Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick (inside cover art)

 

Great news!  I have been contacted by Nephilim Press and informed that Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick has gone to the printer at last!

angry-mob

So calm down already! Sheeesh!

 

I have been told we estimate about six weeks for the book’s delivery.  This will be a limited edition (hard cover of course!), and Nephilim says we might be running a risk of selling out quickly due to the popularity of the individual contributors (see below) and the interest that customers have expressed in pre-orders.

 

Can We Pre-Order the Book??

No, I’m afraid that Nephilim Press still does not take pre-orders.  However, since you are cool enough to be a reader of this blog, you’ll have an opportunity to secure your copy before it is offered to the general public!

Just go to the Nephilim Press Homepage, and subscribe to their newsletter.  When the book becomes available, newsletter subscribers will be notified first – giving you first dibs on your copy of this groundbreaking new manual of magick.  According to Frank over at Nephilim:

“We only send out emails when new titles are available and people who get the newsletter are notified in advance of the general public so that they can be sure to get a copy before sell outs and such. Our subscriber list is 100% confidential.”

So there you have it.  In about a month and a half, if you act quickly enough, you can secure your own copy before they’re gone!

Below is some information and a few excerpts from the book’s introduction, in case you missed them in my last blog post:

 

Throughout history, ritual offerings have been the central pillar of all magick (and religion). Very often, a magickal ritual consists of nothing more than the making of a prescribed offering to a particular spirit in a specified time and place. Yet, here in the West, the making of an offering has been equated with the worship of the spirit receiving it. The act of offering a spirit something as payment for services rendered has close associations with the dreaded “pact with the Devil,” by which a magician surely sells his soul to damnation.

But, to the rest of the world an offering is intended to feed and empower a spiritual entity, and to pay it fairly for the work it does. We cannot expect the spirits to simply manifest what we desire out of thin air—it takes energy for them to accomplish your goals, and they need to get that energy from somewhere.

The art of making proper offerings to spirits is a complex one, rife with strict protocols and warnings for your safety.  But if you take the time to learn this ancient and powerful art, it will supercharge your magick like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

 

In Ritual Offerings, twelve practical occultists have come together to share their knowledge and experience with this fascinating subject.  Traditions from around the world are discussed – from Solomonic magick to Tibetan Buddhism, from New Orleans Voodoo and Hatian Voudou to Western Hermetic Theurgy and more.  Regardless of your tradition, this manual will guide you in feeding your patrons and familiars safely and effectively.

Take a look at the all-star line-up in the table of contents:

Aaron LeitchIntroduction: Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism

Aaron Leitch: Liber Donariorum: the Book of Offerings

Zadkiel: The Elements of Making Offerings: The Offering as Sacrifice

Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)Whispers from a Skull: Lessons in Spiritual Offerings from a Conjured Familiar

Brother Moloch: Ancestors & Offering

Frater Rufus Opus: The Back Yard Path toward the Summum Bonum

Denise M. Alvarado: Ritual Offerings in New Orleans Voudou

Jason MillerSevered Head Cakes and Clouds of Dancing Girls: Offerings in Tibetan Buddhism

Nick FarrellOfferings In Roman Deity Magic

Sam Webster, M.Div., Ph.D., founder OSOGDOfferings in Iamblichan Theurgy

Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero: Ritual for the Declaration of Maa-Kheru

Gilberto Strapazon: Offerings in Ceremonial Magick and African Traditional Religions

michael-offering-front

Offering Altar to St. Michael

 

Why Ritual Offerings?

Nearly every author in this book has reported that their magick was “supercharged” by the inclusion of ritual offerings in their spells. Likewise, their students have responded with similar results. Spells that used to take weeks to produce results suddenly happen overnight. Summoned spirits that used to appear weak or far away suddenly become strong and very much present.  Talismans begin to have their effect much faster. Why should this be the case?

Because spirits are important to your magick. Today it is quite common to see spirit work listed as a “type” of magick: To accomplish your goals you might choose (for example) a talisman, a spell, an incantation, or summon a spirit. However, this is not how magick was viewed in the ancient world.

Spirits were not merely an option, a tool to be utilized when the magician deemed it necessary. No, spirits were the very heart and soul of all magick. That talisman you consecrated has a spirit attached to it, who  accomplishes the intended goal. The incantation you used worked because the spirits heard it and acted upon it. You were not alone when you cast that spell; your patrons and familiars were present and casting the spell with you. And what about spirit summoning, like we see in grimoires such as the Key of Solomon or the Goetia? Those are methods of first-contact with the spirits, who will then teach the summoner how to do proper magick with things like — you guessed it — talismans, spells, and incantations.

In all of the above, spirits are the common factor. It is the shaman’s relationship with the local spirits that makes his magick work so impressively. He knows how to attract them, gains their respect, and uses ritual offerings to feed and empower them so they can protect the tribe.

Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism

Some still choose to view spirit-feeding as a symbolic act — a kind of earthy sympathetic magick whereby we use food to activate otherwise non-physical (spiritual) currents here on the physical plane. Others, like myself and many of the authors in this book, feel the Western gods, angels, and spirits have gone without feeding for far too long; thus, if you feed them as part of your magick, they respond in a big way. No matter how you choose to interpret it, the knowledgeable use of offerings will produce impressive results; they will “supercharge” your magick.

 

Samael-Offering1

Offering Altar to Archangel Samael

 

By the way, you can read the entire introduction in the current issue of Hermetic Tablet magazine.

 

 

Ritual Offerings : Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick   6 comments

Greetings fellow sorcerers!

 

Ritual Offerings Inside-Cover

Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick (inside cover art)

 

As many of you know, since I’ve teased it here and there over the past few months, I have been editing a new anthology for Nephilim Press entitled Ritual Offerings: Feeding Your Spirits, Empowering Your Magick.

Throughout history, ritual offerings have been the central pillar of all magick (and religion). Very often, a magickal ritual consists of nothing more than the making of a prescribed offering to a particular spirit in a specified time and place. Yet, here in the West, the making of an offering has been equated with the worship of the spirit receiving it. The act of offering a spirit something as payment for services rendered has close associations with the dreaded “pact with the Devil,” by which a magician surely sells his soul to damnation.

But, to the rest of the world an offering is intended to feed and empower a spiritual entity, and to pay it fairly for the work it does. We cannot expect the spirits to simply manifest what we desire out of thin air—it takes energy for them to accomplish your goals, and they need to get that energy from somewhere.

The art of making proper offerings to spirits is a complex one, rife with strict protocols and warnings for your safety.  But if you take the time to learn this ancient and powerful art, it will supercharge your magick like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

Altar and Offerings to Sachiel

 

In Ritual Offerings, twelve practical occultists have come together to share their knowledge and experience with this fascinating subject.  Traditions from around the world are discussed – from Solomonic magick to Tibetan Buddhism, from New Orleans Voodoo and Hatian Voudou to Western Hermetic Theurgy and more.  Regardless of your tradition, this manual will guide you in feeding your patrons and familiars safely and effectively.

Take a look at the all-star line-up in the table of contents:

Aaron LeitchIntroduction: Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism

Aaron Leitch: Liber Donariorum: the Book of Offerings

Zadkiel: The Elements of Making Offerings: The Offering as Sacrifice

Bryan Garner (Frater Ashen Chassan)Whispers from a Skull: Lessons in Spiritual Offerings from a Conjured Familiar

Brother Moloch: Ancestors & Offering

Frater Rufus Opus: The Back Yard Path toward the Summum Bonum

Denise M. Alvarado: Ritual Offerings in New Orleans Voudou

Jason MillerSevered Head Cakes and Clouds of Dancing Girls: Offerings in Tibetan Buddhism

Nick FarrellOfferings In Roman Deity Magic

Sam Webster, M.Div., Ph.D., founder OSOGDOfferings in Iamblichan Theurgy

Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero: Ritual for the Declaration of Maa-Kheru

Gilberto Strapazon: Offerings in Ceremonial Magick and African Traditional Religions

michael-offering-front

Offering Altar to St. Michael

 

The final edits have been submitted, and I expect the book to ship to the printer any day now.  Keep an eye on this blog as I will soon announce the release date.  :)  In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from the introduction:

Samael-Offering1

Offering Altar to Archangel Samael

Why Ritual Offerings?

Nearly every author in this book has reported that their magick was “supercharged” by the inclusion of ritual offerings in their spells. Likewise, their students have responded with similar results. Spells that used to take weeks to produce results suddenly happen overnight. Summoned spirits that used to appear weak or far away suddenly become strong and very much present.  Talismans begin to have their effect much faster. Why should this be the case?

Because spirits are important to your magick. Today it is quite common
to see spirit work listed as a “type” of magick: To accomplish your goals you might choose (for example) a talisman, a spell, an incantation, or summon a spirit. However, this is not how magick was viewed in the ancient world.

Spirits were not merely an option, a tool to be utilized when the magician deemed it necessary. No, spirits were the very heart and soul of all magick. That talisman you consecrated has a spirit attached to it, who  accomplishes the intended goal. The incantation you used worked because the spirits heard it and acted upon it. You were not alone when you cast that spell; your patrons and familiars were present and casting the spell with you. And what about spirit summoning, like we see in grimoires such as the Key of Solomon or the Goetia? Those are methods of first-contact with the spirits, who will then teach the summoner how to do proper magick with things like — you guessed it — talismans, spells, and incantations.

In all of the above, spirits are the common factor. It is the shaman’s relationship with the local spirits that makes his magick work so impressively. He knows how to attract them, gains their respect, and uses ritual offerings to feed and empower them so they can protect the tribe.

Magickal Offerings in Western Occultism

Some still choose to view spirit-feeding as a symbolic act — a kind of earthy sympathetic magick whereby we use food to activate otherwise non-physical (spiritual) currents here on the physical plane. Others, like myself and many of the authors in this book, feel the Western gods, angels, and spirits have gone without feeding for far too long; thus, if you feed them as part of your magick, they respond in a big way. No matter how you choose to interpret it, the knowledgeable use of offerings will produce impressive results; they will “supercharge” your magick.

 

By the way, you can read the entire introduction in the current issue of Hermetic Tablet magazine.

 

 

The ‘Golden Dawn Wars’ – Or ‘Much Ado About Nothing’   5 comments

Greetings Faithful Readers!

Nick Farrell recently posted a blog about the upcoming Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls anthology.  He called the post Flying Rolls Book Reveals Golden Dawn Community Secret.  The big secret he believes has been revealed can be summed up in this quote from the post:

Wading through [the list of contributors to the anthology] and the wide range of Golden Dawn groups that these people belong you start to realise that the level of cooperation that exists between these different orders must be considerably higher than many would have you believe.

If you’ve been around the various communities of the Western Mystery Tradition for the last 20 years, then you likely know what Nick is talking about.  I am sad to say that all too many people outside of the Golden Dawn have the impression that our Tradition is overflowing with arrogant jerks who would rather call each other names and accuse one another of outlandish crimes than concentrate on the Great Work. 

I’ve personally run into any number of dedicated occultists who proclaim they wouldn’t give a Golden Dawner the time of day.  Or even that there must be some something flawed in the G.D. system because it “keeps producing spiritually damaged people.”  Perhaps you even feel this way youself.

And that is a very sad thing – becaue the reality of the Golden Dawn is so much different than what you might have seen on the internet.  (Is that really a surprise?)  I’ve been involved in the greater Golden Dawn Community now for the better part of 20 years – and I have yet to see any of the hateful in-fighting that has been proclaimed so loudly on the ‘net.

Oh sure, there have been disagreements.  There have been expulsions.  There have been groups that split up due to irreconcilable differences.  I’ve even known individuals that flat out decide not to work with one another ever again.  All of this is expected from any movement of this size and scope.  But, what is the overall reality of the movement itself?  Is there really something “wrong” with the Golden Dawn?  Does it really produce an endless parade of overblown egos?

Not that I’ve seen in real life.  While the hate gets spewed around by a few trolls on the internet (most of them from outside the Tradition), I’ve seen the various Golden Dawn Orders and independant Temples quietly getting along, and largely ignoring what is going on in the cyber-world.  As Donald Michael Kraig recently posted on Facebook:

I’ve had the honor of knowing some of the people who have written for this [Golden Dawn Commentaries] book. It’s true. There really are no “Golden Dawn wars” today. There will always be those who try to invent them in order to develop an us-vs-them mentality—a common method used to create cults. There will also be disagreements—that’s why there are different GD groups. I take that as a sign of the vitality of the tradition and the passion of those who participate. But most real GD people I’ve met look at those trying to spark controversy and wars that don’t exist and think of what Puck said in Midsummer’s Night Dream: “What fools these mortals be.”

So Don feels the same way Nick and I feel – and we aren’t alone either.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that the true fraternity of the Golden Dawn community has been slowly seeping onto the internet.

Take, for example, the 30th Anniversary of the Consecration of the HOGD Vault of the Adepti  that took place last year.  A document was drawn up to offer congrats and thanks to Chic and Tabatha Cicero for their work and dedication to the Golden Dawn Tradition – and it was signed by dozens of folks from a host of different Orders, Temples and some unaffiliated individuals.

Later, a Facebook event was created for the same Anniversary – and what started out as dozens of well-wishers turned into hundreds as people from all walks of life added their names and thoughts to the list.  (Click on the link, and you can add yours as well!)

Most recently, the Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls anthology was announced – a book created by members and leaders of several different Golden Dawn groups, all working together to create something worthwhile for students everywhere.

And it isn’t going to stop there, either!  Even now there are projects in the works that transcend all Order affiliations and philosophical differences and illustrate that the Golden Dawn Community is working together in harmony toward the Great Work, with all of you in mind.  :)

So the next time you run into a Golden Dawner, before you jump to any conclusions about what kind of person he or she might be, consider the old addage:  “By their fruits shall ye know them.”

Commentaries on the GD Flying Rolls – New Anthology from Kerubim Press   1 comment

Greetings Fratres et Sorores!

Ok, so it must be the right time of year for new anthologies containing brand new essays from yours truly.  ;)  Kerubim Press has just announced an upcoming book entitled Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls by the Golden Dawn Community:

Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls - Front Cover

Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls – Front Cover

This new collection contains all of the original Golden Dawn “Flying Rolls” – which are extracurricular lectures and essays on a variety of occult topics that circulated among adepts of the original Order.  These Flying Rolls were written by adepts like Wynn Westcott, Samuel Mathers, Moina Mathers, Edmund Berridge, Florence Farr, Annie Horniman, J.W. Brodie-Inns and Percy Bullock.

But Waite!  There’s more!  ;)  Each and every Flying Roll is followed by a brand new commentary intended to elaborate upon the topic of the Roll itself.  Some of them serve to clarify what is in the Roll, while others add to it with updated modern views.  And the authors included here are no less impressive than the Flying Rolls’ original authors.  You’ll find plenty of recognizable names like Chic and Tabatha Cicero, Peregrin Wildoak, Sam Webster, Joseph Max, Nick and Paola Ferrell, Samuel Scarborough, Eric V. Sisco, VH Fra IOV, Frater Yechidah, Ian Cowburn and Morgan Drake Eckstein.  And many up-and-coming authors such as Deanna Bonds, Lauren Gardner, Jayne Gibson, Christopher Bradford, Liza Llewellyn and Rachael Walker.  Plus, of course, me.  :)

And that merely scratches the surface of the good folks who contributed their time and work to this anthology.  This book is the end result of one of the most massive inter-Order cooperative projects in the history of the Western Mystery Tradition.  Almost every major Golden Dawn Order – and a few smaller groups and private Temples – came together in a spirit of community and fraternity to make this book a reality.

Click here for the full announcement from Kerubim Press.

I have made two contributions to this project.  The first goes along with Flying Roll XX: The Elementary View of Man.  However, what I have written is not a mere commentary upon the Flying Roll, but is in fact an updated re-write of the original Golden Dawn lecture Ritual U: Man – Microcosm (which is necessary to read and understand in order to grasp the concepts of Flying Roll XX).  Man – Microcosm is an often-overlooked lecture that was part of the original adept curriculum, and contains some of the Order’s most important teachings on the human soul, qabalistic psychology and the Great Work itself.  My hope is to revive interest in this particular lecture, and re-establish it as a foundational study for all students of the Golden Dawn.

My second contribution is a commentary upon Flying Roll XXXV: On the General and Particular Exordium of the Z Documents.  The General and Particular Exordium is an introduction of sorts to the Z Documents – the secret wisdom and symbolism of the Golden Dawn’s Magick of Light revealed to Mathers by his spiritual contacts known as the Secret Chiefs.  They are possibly some of the most profound and useful pieces of received knowledge in the entire Western Mystery Tradition.  However, few Golden Dawn students understand what the Exordium is supposed to mean.  It is essentially a Gnostic poem intended to “set the stage” for all the mysteries revealed in the Z Documents.  Therefore, I break down the Exordium and explain what it means in Gnostic terms, and how it reflects on the mysteries of the Golden Dawn.

Fratres et Sorores, you do NOT want to miss out on this one!  :) :) :)

Ceremonial Magick Reading List   8 comments

Greetings to my students!

After I gave my Ceremonial Magick classes in North Carolina (six classes of material packed into two sessions!), one of my students asked me to take her to the store’s bookshelves and show her my best recommendations for further reading.  Now, back home in Florida, we are reaching the last few classes of the course – where we finally begin to take all the basic rituals, correspondences and theory and put them together in rituals of practical magick.  Once we are done, I suspct my current students are also going to want resources for further reading and study.

Even outside of my classes, I know many of you reading this blog are solitary practitioners.  And I’m sure you would also like to know which books I recommend to futher your understanding of the Western Mystery Tradition and the practice of Hermetic Ceremonial Magick.

So, I’ve made this blog entry for both groups of students and practitioners.  Much like the post I made concerning books about Babylonian and Semitic myth and magick, I will here gather the titles that I have found most useful in my own Ceremonial Magick studies – both when I was a solitary seeker and even still today.

We are very fortunate today, in that we have dozens of great resources that seekers in previous generations have had to do without.  I hope you will find this list useful in your studies.  :)

The Essential Golden Dawn : An Introduction to High Magic – Chic and Tabatha Cicero

A great general introduction to the Western Mystery Tradition as a whole.  It traces the historical development of the WMT and introduces the student to many of the basic theories and philosophies behind our magick.  Some of the basic rituals are also included.

Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts – Donald Michael Kraig

This is where it all started for me!  When I was handed my first copy of this book, I was already practicing my own intuitive forms of magick (much akin to Hoodoo, really).  But after just one look inside this book, I knew I had found something vastly important and powerful.  I made up my mind then and there to put myself through the (at the time) Eleven Lessons – and the rest is history.  This is not specifically a “Golden Dawn” text, but it does focus on Golden Dawn rituals and techniques, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to the practical side of the Hermetic Arts.

Self-Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group – Chic and Tabatha Cicero

The Ciceros created this resource with the solitary practitioner in mind.  They gathered a very large amount of the Grade curriculum of the Outer Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then expanded it with extra-curricular study material.  Then they created a ritual process of Self Initiation by which the solitary seeker can progress through the Grade material.  The Self Initiation rituals will certainly not make you a member of an Order, but they will introduce you to the forces invoked in each Grade of the Outer Order.  There are even quizzes at the end of each Grade, so you’ll know when you’ve incorperated enough knowledge to move on to the lessons of the next Grade.  This textbook is so useful, it is even used as a study guide by students of the H.O.G.D. itself.

Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple – Chic and Tabatha Cicero

There have been several different editions of this text under different names.  You can also find the material split between Creating Magical Tools and Ritual Use of Magical Tools.  The above-linked version is the one I found and used many many years ago – in fact I think it was the first Cicero book I ever owned.  It outlines in exhaustive detail how to build all the tools, furniture, robes, talismans and other ritual paraphernalia associated with Golden Dawn magick.  Though you certainly won’t have to build everything you find in this book to practice at home, it contains enough to set up a fully functioning Traditional G.D. Temple.  Plus, it gives you the magickal theory behind each tool along with the rituals to conscrate and use them.

The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot – Tabatha Cicero and Chic Cicero

This is a Tarot Deck, but it does come with a book.  If you’re going to get into Golden Dawn magick, you’re going to be using the Tarot.  And this deck is specially made for use in Golden Dawn ceremonies.   (I still prefer the Smith-Waite deck for divinations, but this deck can’t be beat for G.D. work!)

The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites & Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order – edited by Israel Regardie

This is where it all started – at least for those of us practicing the Golden Dawn today.  After 1900, the original Order of the Golden Dawn split into several different groups.  One of them became the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, which still exists today.  Another became the Alpha et Omega, which closed its doors sometime in the 1940s.  And another became the Stella Matutina – which was the branch joined by Israel Regardie.  The Stella Matutina closed most of its doors in the middle of the 2oth century.  (Only one Temple remained, but it had changed its name to the Order of Smaragdum Thallasses – better known as the Whare Ra Temple – and operated secretly in New Zealand until 1978.)  Before the bulk of the Stella Matutina Temples died away, Israel Regardie decided to save the Tradition by publishing the Order’s papers.  This decision was controversial, but most today agree that it saved the Golden Dawn.  This book is that publication – so you can see for yourself where it all began.  This was the book used by Chic Cicero to found his own Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – which is by far the world’s largest and most successful Golden Dawn Order today.  This book also serves as the “advanced manual” that takes you to the next step beyond the Ciceros’ Self Initiation… book.

The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic – edited by Israel Regardie

A good companion volume to The Golden Dawn above.  This book contains a lot of early Golden Dawn material that didn’t make it into the first book.

A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero

This is one of the books by Israel Regardie that the Ciceros greatly expanded and then republished for the modern student.  It is an excellent exploration of the Tree of Life and the magickal and Hermetic concepts that it embodies.  In my intro classes, I give you the basics of the Tree of Life – but this text will take you to the next level and beyond.  It includes guided meditations to introduce you to the energies, correspondences, angels and other magickal beings associated with every Sephirah and Path of the Tree.

The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic – Israel Regardie, Chic and Tabatha Cicero

The is another Israel Regardie original, expanded and republished by the Ciceros.  Without a doubt, this is one of my favorites.  It outlines the psychological aspects of Qabalistic and Hermetic practice – that is how the material interfaces with and changes your psyche.  While I am no fan of the “psychological theory of magick” that does not mean there is no psychology at all involved in its theory and practice.  I describe it this way:  Magick is not “a form of psychology” any more than an engine is “a car.”  Yet, without an engine a car is just a dead thing and doesn’t get you anywhere.  How magick affects your mind, and how your mind affects your magick, it extremely important to understand.

Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia – David Godwin

This is a wonderfully useful resource for anyone studying the Western Hermetic Qabalah.  Godwin has gathered every Hebrew name and term he could find, given them in English and Hebrew characters, their Gematira values and explained what they mean.  As an appendix, he has also included a copy of “Sepher Sephiroth” – which gathers even more Hebrew words and phrases according to their Gematria values.  (Kind of a 777 for the Golden Dawn crowd.)

Prometheus Rising – Robert Anton Wilson, Introduced by Israel Regardie.

And speaking of understanding psychology, this book is an absolute must-read.  It is an easy-to-understand operator’s manual for your brain – complete with exercises.  And the concepts it teaches are, as I said above, extremely important to your own spirutal development and your successful use of that thing called Magick.  ( I drew upon the material in this book in my own Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires.)

Ishtar Rising: Or, Why the Goddess Went to Hell and What to Expect Now That She’s Returning – Robert Anton Wilson

See above.  I consider this to be the second half of Prometheus Rising.  And, as the title suggests, this book focuses upon the sacred feminine within all of us – and even explains why magick and witchcraft have returned to our culture  in a big way.  Highly recommended!

(NOTE:  I will soon be adding a list of traditional Qabalistic texts to this list, such as the Zohar and Sepher Yetzirah.  Stay tuned.)

The following books were not part of my own early studies into Ceremonial magick, but I believe they are potentially useful to today’s students:

Experiencing the Kabbalah: A Simple Guide to Spiritual Wholeness – Chic and Tabatha Cicero

“Kabbalah, a spiritual system grounded in symmetry and logic, is rarely addressed in a format that is suitable for beginners. Experiencing the Kabbalah goes against the trend, however, by presenting both historical and practical information on the Kabbalah that focuses on experiencing this ancient spiritual system rather than just reading about it. Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero accomplish this through a sort of ritual drama that they call “Walking the Tree of Life.” It characterizes each Sephiroth (different aspects of the divine) of the Kabbalah as a person, from the stable Malkuth to the enigmatic Kether, granting readers a fuller understanding of the Sephiroth and the paths between them. Experiencing the Kabbalah is an innovative guide for beginners as well as informative reading for adept practitioners.”

Making Talismans: Living Entities of Power – Nick Farrell

“Discover the secret keys and practical techniques to turn mundane objects into “living entities of power,” bringing real change in your life. By pooling magical practices from shamanism, paganism, the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, and Dion Fortune, Making Talismans offers training and techniques for performing advanced magical talismanic operations.”

King Over the Water: Samuel Mathers and the Golden Dawn – Nick Farrell

If you are interested in the history of the Golden Dawn, this is a great place to start.  This book explores the life and times one of the founders of the G.D. without the usual lens of myth and legend surrounding him.  Spoiler alert!  Mathers was a fallible human being like the rest of us.  ;)

Mathers’ Last Secret REVISED – The Rituals and Teachings of the Alpha et Omega – Nick Farrell

The Alpha et Omega is the branch of the Order founded by Mathers after the original group split apart.  This book is a good companion to King Over the Water, as well as Regardie’s The Golden Dawn.  It contains the rituals used by Mathers’ A.O. before it closed its doors in the 1940s.  Here, you can see how things were done in the A.O. as opposed to what the Stella Matutina was up to on their side of the fence.

By Names and Images: Bringing the Golden Dawn to Life – Peregrin Wildoak

“The Golden Dawn (GD) system of magic is the main source of the esoteric and magical wisdom and techniques practiced in the West today. While the rituals and bare teachings of the tradition have been published for sixty years, the inner workings and esoteric keys that empower those rituals have largely remained unpublished or unexplored in contemporary works. By Names and Images remedies this lack by providing detailed and clear instructions for the visualisations, spiritual connections and energetic practices required for every major GD practice and ritual, as well as several unpublished techniques. Focusing on the meanings and use of sacred names and practical techniques of visualisation, the book thoroughly explores meditation and divination, purification ritual, invocation and evocation, grades of initiation, and direct experience of the inner realms. Also covered is an explanation of the Qabalah and its use as a magical framework. While the book is sufficiently practical and clearly explained to be of huge benefit to a newcomer to magic, its primary aim is to allow people already practicing the Golden Dawn system to do so more effectively, and to be touched by the amazing spiritual blessings the rituals offer.”

This list is certainly not exhaustive – I could have included many further books by authors like Pat Zalewski, John Michael Greer and others.  And I could have included even more by authors like the Ciceros and Donald Michael Kraig.  However, I think this list is certainly more than enough to give you a sound start and a well-rounded understanding of the Golden Dawn and its magickal tradition.  It will also help you to avoid wasting your time and money on books that are of lesser quality, or just re-hashes of what has already been written by the fine authors listed above.

There is also a lot of good material still in the works, too – so I’ll likely be expanding this list in the future.  Meanwhile, if this list isn’t enough to keep you occupied, check out this post listing the best Golden Dawn, Hermetic and Rosicrucian blogs out there – so you can keep your eyes on the ever-developing Western Mystery Tradition.  :)

In LVX

Aaron

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

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