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GD Cipher Forgery Shoddy?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan,alt.thelema,alt.magick.order
From: nigris333 
Subject: Re: GD Cipher Forgery Shoddy? (was Fraudulent Hermetic Orders)
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 22:11:29 GMT

50020721 VII om

issue: is the forgery of the docs initiating the Hermetic
       Order of the Golden Dawn and its rites "shoddy"?

>it's easy to misunderstand [an RCavendish quote] to be saying 
>that the cipher ms. was a 'forgery' (though I'm not sure what 
>this would mean ...)....  
> ...
>...we have to examine more
>particularly the essentials of the claims surrounding the cipher
>manuscript in order to determine whether it is itself a "forgery",

I wish to return to the main issues here.

the manuscript is, as sri catyananda has already pointed out, 
not a copy of some extant document, so it does not qualify as
'counterfeit', or 'forgery' in this sense, but the contentions 
surrounding its origins appear to be less than clear. 

who started the stories about its origins would seem 
important to ascertain. important also is an analysis of its 
content, especially its initial pages and how they may present 
the material or orient the reader to what follows. I have not
the accounts of the origins of the stories, so I pass to the
examination of the facsimile presented by Poke and others in
order to ascertain the character of the document itself and
what it contains. 

immediate issues encountered, therefore, include the fact that 
only sections are numbered. the integrity or structure of the 
manuscript may therefore have easily be changed by the 
interested prior to its presentation (or indeed its deciphering), 
and in decipherment Poke notes that different authors present
the manuscript in different configurations, radically changing
the sequence of sections, though I'm sure each has their reasons
for doing this (coming to understand them and how this may compare
with in what structure the ms. is supposed to have been received
will also add dimension to the examination).

from Poke's book I derive general initial content of the ms./notes:

# SECTION         CONTENT                                     # PGS
#     1.  	"Where members ought to sit in the Temple"    1
# 		(ms. marginal notes; ms. begins w/o intro.)
#		["Temple set-up and administration page" -- CRunyon]
#     2.        NEOPHYTE OPENING #1 (ms. marginal notes)      1
#  		"NOUGHT = NOUGHT" (top of ms. page)
#               NEOPHYTE OPENING #2 (ms marginal notes)       1
#		"NOUGHT = NOUGHT" (top of ms. page)
#               0=0 (ms. marginal notes; NEOPHYTE CLOSING)    1
#		"CLOSE" (top of ms. page)
#		0=0 (ms. marginal notes NEOPHYTE ADMISSION)   3 (+ old pg)
#		"NOUGHT=NOGHT (sic *ms.*) GRADE
#               ADMISSION" (ms. p1 top)
#		    "0" (ms. p2 top)
#		    "[Hebr. Teth]"; old p, "[Teth] (9)" Poke; 
#							ms. p3old top)
#		"[H. Teth]; new p, "[Teth] (9) [He] (5)"! Poke; 
#							ms. p3new top)
#    3.		"[H. Aleph] = [Yod]" [ZEALATOR]
#	        ADMISSION" (ms. p1 top)
	333's inference in examination of:
 	"Secrets of the Golden Dawn Cypher Manuscript",
 	 deciphered/annotated by Carroll "Poke" Runyon, 
 	 C.H.S. Inc., 2000; pp. 40, 65-81.

etc. (I hope somebody's done the rest of this, else I'll have
to return to it when I have more time and complete it. -- 333)

it appears that the ms. itself has been subjected to some 
shuffling, probably for practical or presentation purposes. 
Poke indicates that Westcott began his decipherment with
page 2 (the Neophyte Section), rather than with page 1, the
'Temple set-up and administrative page' (Poke's descriptor). 
what was the motivation for this odd decipher method? this 
seems to indicate he already knew what it contained or what 
its content was based on its structure. was Westcott given
a description of its content before it was de-coded, or was
he given some kind of Table of Contents? elsewise, why did
he start his deciphering at page 2 of the ms.?

page 1 (if this is indeed the first page; to which I'll
quite possibly return in a later post) as presented by
Poke contains no general descriptor or introduction in
the original ms.  it has placements and instructions for
the conduct to "HOLD A TEMPLE", including the following
two rules:

	* CHANGE OFFICERS EVERY [H. Vav] {(6) -- Poke}


the ms. margin notes comment on this latter with:

		Avoid Roman Catholics     \  What a strange
		but with pity.            /  statement!

indeed, it is, isn't it? what would the motivation be to
add such a rule? I'm insufficiently informed to hazard a
reliable guess. Poke guesses though, and appears to think

	[ed. note 4 p. 65 attached to the roman catholic
	     line in the ms.: 

		17th Century Rosicrucianism was a
		Protestant movement and Roman Catholics
		had little use for Freemasons. Why is
		this statement "strange" (?)[sic] -- CRR.]
	Runyon, Ibid., p. 65.

if my reading of this is accurate (please correct me if I
err here), then we have clear evidence that this document
is intented to represent something much older than it is,
especially combined with its being written on old paper in
brown ink and including a note in code providing faulty
German provenance (whatever actual provenance it may have).

so the fact that it is a forgery seems to be proven. the
assertion of its shoddiness seems to turn on how CONVINCING
it is, but this is why Greer and Runyon thereafter turn to
the motivation and targets of the deception in response.
they would like to soften the criticism, buffer it by virtue
of its special sociocultural conditions, ones which seem to
pervade religious cultures of numerous types and time periods.

btw, Poke, I noticed that your decipherment omitted a line
of demarcation between lines (7) and (8):


        ______________________________________  should be line here


I corrected my copy and think it of only minor importance.

>well! Mary K. Greer appears to think the motivation at best was to
>impersonate a presumed authority in the hopes that the actuality
>would pay attention and establish contact. 

this is questionable and I think Poke's description far more

>the fact that discussion about the contents of the letter to the
>mysterious Frauline Sprengel occurred SIX WEEKS BEFORE RECEIVING
>SAID LETTER rather nails the coffin on both Sprengel and Germanic

this seems premature in the wake of possible influences on the
Wockley/Mackenzie origins and claims pertaining to Mackenzie's
possible (if not merely 'romanticized') exposure and initiation
into Germatic esoteric co-masonry. I'm unsure whether there is
evidence in support of these stories about Mackenzie but would
be interested to learn of it.

>if he's lying about the letter of authority, why shouldn't
>he lie about the origin and authority of the cipher manuscript?

that he was is now established, the motivation and quality of
the lie appear to be the remaining outstanding issues. just to
fend off Hermetic umbrage here, I would like to re-iterate that
I am not attempting to assess the *quality of the system for
which this document serves as a skeletal ancestor*, merely the
historicity of its origins and character of is manifestation.
>so your contention is that because it was so utilizable its
>character should not be considered "shoddy forgery"? 

if so, this is illogical and an emotional appeal to overlook
the fabricated nature of this book and books like it.

>why would Levi have had it?

apparently Mackenzie met Levi. perhaps he provided him with a
glimpse of it or told him about it? what seems credible here?

>from where would he have obtained it? 

not sure this is relevant if we can't trust he ever had it.

>was it maintained that Sprengel claimed Levi had created the thing?

it sure isn't part of the inserted Sprengel authority-claim,
which Poke calls a "letter" and says "is not a part of the
Cypher Manuscript" (Ibid., p. 179 whereat the facsimile of
the note is included, thanks!). was the note from the fabled
Sprengel on any special kind of paper? in brown ink? we may
presume not, but it isn't stated anywhere that I can see in
Runyon's text. the code being the same as he ms. merely 
indicates that whoever wrote the note was familiar with the 
code and probably its content. I wonder if one might do some
kind of 'symbol-writing analysis' comparing the Sprengel note
with the ms. Trithemian code symbols.

>... you [Poke] admit it didn't
>come from Eliphas Levi, so this is an admission that the ms
>is a forgery. 

this appears to have been mistaken. you seem to admit that
it didn't come from the 17th century, however.

>the rest of the argument pertains to whether it
>is a "shoddy forgery". given that it translates using Abbot
>Johannes Trithemius's "Polygraphaeia" (1561) into ENGLISH 

this it does, but does it try to translate into some kind
of old English? it uses "Thy" poorly (compared to Mathers)
as you point out, and the reference to Roman Catholics and
use of old paper could give the impression that this is the
intent of the appearance. as such a valuable way to analyze
whether the forgery is "shoddy" would be to see whether it
approximates Old English or something to which it aspires.
is the use of NOUGHT contiguous with older English (compared
with NAUGHT)? any other terms or comments indicating same?

as Poke has already said, whether the forgery is convincing
is probably not that important to its presentation as a
foundation document for an esoteric order. thus 'shoddy' is
probably overly harsh unless it can be established that
there was a significant difference of calibre between it

we must thereafter select what we think comparable. it helps 
if what we pick has similarly-traceable original manuscripts 
and sociological character. one might suggest "Liber CCXX" 
(Liber Al vel Legis, penned by Crowley and at one point in
time a foundation document for The Order of Thelema if memory
serves, possibly also fundamental to other orders) if one 
found this of interest or the "Fama Fraternitas" or other
foundation documents from Rosicrucian and similar esoteric

>...doesn't add any defense to
>why the cipher ms of the Golden Dawn should not be categorized as
>an influential, shoddy forgery, utilized to found an influential
>Rosicrucian order of co-masonry whose offshoots survive to the
>present day.

the answer to this appears to be that the sociological context
excuses the poor quality of the presentation and therefore should
be assessed with a wider perspective on the entire subject. I look
forward to some attempt to dismantle or qualify this answer.


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