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To: alt.magick
From: (Hsi Wang Mu)
Subject: GDFAQ Rvw (LONG) (Was Re: Golden Dawn FAQ, part 1/2)
Date: 49941120

Quoting: | (Steven Cranmer) 

|Started in London in 1887 by three British Freemasons...

This is the most conservative view, of course.  It is important to me that
the mythical (or arcane/occulted) history of the Order be given equal weight.

|with the student beginning at the top:

This is overly simplistic, as it only pertains to the Outer or physical
manifestation of the GD.  Perhaps there are many who think that this is
all there is to the GD.  Perhaps this is all there is any more.  I suspect,
however, if it is anything comparable to the Rosicrucia, that the truth
is deeper than this.

|The grades of Neophyte through Philosophus comprise the First, or Outer

Again, rather more complex, I'd wager, than is explained here.  This is
certainly ambiguous enough to incorporate the greater teachings, but when
combined with what follows it portrays the GD grades as a linear progression
in a social matriculation.  While I agree that much of GD is this, I also
think that it is much more (a network absorption in a personal 
transformation, for example).

|The three Adept grades comprise the Second, or Inner Order (Roseae Rubae 
|et Aureae Crucis), and are normally only open to those who pass rigorous 
|examinations and are chosen on other qualifications.  The final three 
|grades (which refer to the "Supernal" sephiroth) comprise the Third, or 
|Hidden Order of Masters.  

You've named at least the Inner Order (Raseae...).  Does the Outer Order
have a name?  Isn't it some version of 'Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn'?
What about the Hidden Order?  Does it also have a name?  Will you mention
'One Star in Sight' with respect to any of this (and the connection between
what Crowley called the AA and the GD)?  I know you get into that below a
bit, but how much of what Crowley wrote revealed GD details how much did he 

|There is considerable disagreement among Order sources as to whether 
|living human beings can attain these final mystical grades (not unlike 
|the Bodhisattvas of Buddhism?).

I don't think that the bodhisattva is a complete match to the Hidden Order
of the Masters because the bodhisattva *has* attained to it yet has chosen
to remain 'on this side' of the Ocean of Perfection.  That is, unless the
Inner Order adepts all wait on the Edge of the Abyss and then take the leap
as they die, then I'm unsure that this is even close to being parallel.   

The most problematic element of this is that the bodhisattva concept is
included within a cosmology that includes reincarnation as part of its
framework.  Therefore the bodhisattva will be born again and again,
perpetually denying the Final Awakening (parinirvana or perhaps what
Kunga Namdrol recently mentioned: 'samyaksambhodi').  

I'm unsure that this is so central an element of the GD teachings.  I gather
that their Hermetic style includes a more linear cosmology, in which one
may, after death, attain to the Hidden Order of the Masters (at least among
the more conservative of theorists), not putting off their attainment until
'everybody can go at once' (central to Mahayana Buddhism).

I do think that you should say something about the range of argument here.
I.e. some maintain that the Order of the Hidden Masters is here around us
and that living humans are part of this, some even contending that they
have to be in the GD; others apparently think of the world in rather
spiritualistic terms, positing that these Hidden Masters make contact via
channelling, ritual and/or automatic writing (see the many cases of this
which lead to orgs all on their own, such as Blavatsky's DK and Crowley's

Perhaps you could create another question: what is the Great White Lodge
and how does it work? :>  This concept is just too important to leave out
of a FAQ, I think.  The cosmology or politic of the GD should be described
in all its mystical glory, since this is one of its most important features.

|3.  Is the hierarchy of grades merely a ruse to empower the "enlightened?"

|However, the concept of the hierarchy of grades has its definite merits.
|First of all, consider the parallels with education in general.  

It is not a parallel as I understand it.  The GD and other matricular systems
like it are PROTOTYPES for education which the Western State and Church have
abandoned in their ignorance and bigotry.  This is one of the reasons that
I have been put off by their methods and form: I was indoctrinated within
an inferior mechanism -- the US Educational System.

|The issue of secrecy is an F.A.I. (Frequently Argued Issue) on the Usenet
|news group alt.magick, and for the most part, most of the original Golden 
|Dawn "secrets" have already been (or are in the process of being) published.

Why don't you list, specifically, where each of these 'secrets' are located
(i.e. the major name of the secret, the tome and page #s)?  Perhaps you can
include a spoiler and/or warning for the unready/unwary. ;>

|However, it still comes up often enough to address a few points.  Why keep
|certain things secret, you may ask?  Well...

|(a) It is worth it *not* to have everything handed to you all at once.
|    Whether it is working out physics problems, or reading an Agatha
|    Christie mystery novel, skipping to the end for the "answers" takes
|    something away from the experience.

Not to mention being overwhelmed by too much information to assimilate.

|(c) One must differentiate between information and knowledge.  There is
|    a huge difference between the basic facts of a craft (which can be and
|    are set down in books) and the actual skills that people develop from
|    accumulated experience (which usually cannot even be expressed in
|    concise words, let alone written down).  I think we would all agree,
|    to use Colin Low's analogy, that a "Do It Yourself Brain Surgery" book
|    would be a bad idea.  The knowledge isn't really a *secret*, but it's
|    certainly not available for everyone's immediate use, either.

We would not all agree with Colin Low.  I don't.  I think that such a book
would be very wonderful, even if simply humorous.  Of course the author
may wish to make it very clear that such activities are dangerous, that she 
does not assume responsibility for the reader's inexperience/errors, and
that such risk-taking is unwise given the possible results (specifying these
as completely as possible with actual examples, not folklore).

I think you miss the point here.  There is a greater difference between
data and EXPERIENCE than between information and knowledge.  It is the
experience which allows the information to be assimilated as knowledge
due to implication and identification (i.e. the data implies a particular
experience and the adept is able to identify that data as a pattern which
applies in more than just hir own case).

|(d) Finally, there is the simple fact that there are probably plenty of
|    narrow-minded people out there who would seek to persecute "those
|    strange Golden Dawners" if they happened upon, and misunderstood, 
|    some tidbit of information taken out of context.

This is a duplication of the 'privacy clause' above.  One of the reasons
people keep things private is because they are ashamed of them or are 
afraid of the reactions they are likely to bring.  I still maintain that
if this is the only reason that a secret is kept then it shows the
immaturity of the secret-holder and the corruption of a mystical school.

|4.  Are Golden Dawn Temples still active?  How can I become a member?

|(a) Don't count on having "secrets" revealed to you.  Ninety-nine percent
|    of them are already published, in some form, somewhere.

And lots of initiates/members don't know their meaning anyway.

|(b) The symbols and metaphors used by a particular group or tradition may
|    not "work" for you.  Don't confuse the map with the territory.

One of the reasons that they may not 'work' for you is that they support
misogynist, oppressive, anti-ecological or bigotted paradigms at base.
This is one of the main weaknesses of those which support Christian

|(c) Listen to your common sense!  If something doesn't feel right to you,
|    by all means don't do it.

Consider studying the problems and virtues of orders and magic and things
and then creating something better.

|A second manifesto, "Confessio Fraternitatis" (1615), describes the 
|Rosicrucian Order in more detail, and firmly takes sides against the Papacy.  

Is this why the Rosicrucia, GD and other 'occult' orgs are truly 'hidden':
protection versus oppressive Church politics?  Are they just heresies which
remain alive by virtue of occlusion?

|A third document, "The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz," is an 
|interesting alchemical fantasy, probably written by Lutheran pastor Johann 
|Valentine Andreae in his impetuous youth, but with little to do with the 
|previous documents.

What is its value to the Rosy or Golden initiate?  Wasn't there a mythos
of how these documents were generated?  Besides the CRC story, isn't
there a story about how these documents came to be?  

|This author agrees with Paul Foster Case's assessment that the "True 
|and Invisible" Rosicrucian Order is a state of mind, not an actual 
|organized society.

This is one of the comments which inspired my review, of course.  I
think you misrepresent and/or misunderstand Case on this point.  My
impression is that this Order is not merely a 'state of mind' but that
it may indeed be a subconscious or unrecognized network of individuals
who have no awareness of their involvement other than their heart-felt
need to engage the teachings of the ancients and apply them in their
lives (however they may come by these).

If you'd like to argue this out in alt.magick in a separate thread, I'd
be happy to begin quoting Case directly to support my assertion.  The
notion of the GWB/TIRO/AA/BC/CM is of particular importance to me.

{Great White Brotherhood/True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order/Astrum
 Argentum/Body of Christ/Celestial Masters}

|...The publishing of the Order material in a relatively complete form 
|has certainly kept the Golden Dawn egregore from being lost to the mists 
|of time.  

Are you saying that egregores can be passed on through writings?  Is this
not a contradiction to previous explanations about information and knowledge?
I say that the only way that this 'egregore' (which my dictionary does not
define -- please elaborate on what you mean by it) may be maintained is
through a connection to the Hidden Masters and/or Inner Order.  Publishing
only sets into solid form the expression of the individual writer, and this
may or may not prove effective in pointing the way to such a connection.

|Many of the modern G.D. Orders claim an "apostolic succession" through 
|Regardie, so it seems he has been sufficiently forgiven.

This is due to the devolution of the Order into politics and status-

|During the last few years of his life, he "authorized" a few different
|groups to carry on his work, but it seems that some of these groups have
|taken to claiming "bigger pieces of the pie" when it comes to authority and

More evidence for the Kali Yuga. ;>

[re: Crowley's review of the old GD]

|   had never attained complete initiation: and further had fallen 
|   from his original place, he having imprudently attracted to 
|   himself forces of evil too great and terrible for him to withstand.

It would seem that Crowley was looking for ability more than credential.
Therefore his ability to assess this is immediately called into question.
That the Hermetic mages are often quite facilely dualistic of mind appears
to be borne out in their writings.  Either they were entirely unaware of
alternatives to this rudimentary cosmological ethic (and Crowley was at
least later a promoter of something which transcended it so this would
seem improbable in his case) or the meaning in their terms was quite
specific and technical (in which case it would do us a better turn if you
were to point this out or remove the more technical verbiage :>).

|The A.A., which some claim stands for "Astron Argon" or "Argentum Astrum"
|(Greek and Latin for "Silver Star," respectively), was Crowley's conception
|of the ideal and individualized initiatory regimen.  

See 'One Star in Sight'.  Crowley considered his description to be "a
glimpse of the structure and system of the Great White Brotherhood".
While some sectarians would like to overlook this for their own purposes,
my impression is that his is a reflection of the mystical teachings about
'hidden orders' that are revealed by Case in the above-mentioned 
'Invisible' tome and by others such as Fortune in _Esoteric Orders and
their Work_ (though presently I regard this last as an inferior source).

In other, more direct, words, the entire corpus surrounding the AA is a
mystical teaching regarding education and tranformation through experience.
That it may have a physical representative (and there is more than one
group which claims this, some by virtue of Crowley's initiation) is only 
of secondary importance.  This is just as true for the various Golden 
Dawn and Rosicrucian organizations.  Each strives to attain to the perfect
pattern, yet only those who are directly involved can attest to their
success, that in turn depending upon their experience/attainment for its

Beware Orders which promote themselves as absolutely certain of representing
this mystical teaching/mythical organization.  I'm not saying that they
are charlatans, only that, as with the individual who claims attainment,
their utterance is sometimes an indication to the contrary.

|...Although still an initiatory organization, the O.T.O. is concerned 
|mainly with the social, economic, and interactive aspects of magic and 
|Thelema, rather than on presenting an individualized system of 
|spirituality (as is the regime of the A.A.).  

My impression is that the OTO makes POSSIBLE these aspects but that its
main work is individualized in that its initiations are potent vehicles,
enhancements or seals of magical processes within the individual, the
main work of its religious current (EGC) being the promotion of the Mass,
which also inspires direct effects within participants (which includes
all who attend).

Of course I do not speak *for* the OTO, but I have my own ideas about
what it is and does (often somewhat different from the Order Officers).


To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: tyagI@houseofkaos.Abyss.coM (Hsi Wang Mu)
Subject: Re: GDFAQ Review...
Date: 49941121
Quoting: | (Steven Cranmer) 
         |Hsi Wang Mu (
         |>| (Steven Cranmer) 

|>|Started in London in 1887 by three British Freemasons...
|>This is the most conservative view, of course.  It is important to me that
|>the mythical (or arcane/occulted) history of the Order be given equal weight.

|True, but I tend to gag when I see every magical/mystical/occult group
|prefacing its history by statements like:   "Although started in 18XX,
|it *really* began way back in the mists of prehistory...."  It's too
|easy to go from that to, say, AMORC's quite literal claims.   It also
|smacks of almost being *ashamed* of the 18XX history, as if one has to 
|invoke these other kind of mythoi in order to feel good about the

My only concern was that within a GD FAQ you ought also give an overview
of the mythical history.  It sounds like there wasn't much (as compared to
say the Rosicrucians with CRC, etc.) anyway, but I may have to compile the
major ones within the AAFAQ I'll eventually construct.

|Yes, I'm idealizing the Golden Dawn, not just here, but in many other
|areas of the FAQ.  I hope it's not *too* idealistic, to the point where
|it's not factual any more.  But I see the Golden Dawn as more than 
|just a collection of people doing conventional things.  

You are striving to adhere to your vision of what the FAQ should contain.
On the one hand you say that you don't want to include the mythicial
history and on the other you say that you wish to idealize the GD in
terms of its goals and methods.  I think you're just whitewashing it,
but my bias is showing again. :>

|I gather that you have a similar view of the AA/GWB/etc...

Depends on what you mean.  I don't idealize the human organization
which Crowley may have initiated and of which the COT and TOT claim to be 
'in service'.  I'm rather critical of them and am conducting a slow
investigation.  The physical manifestation is not nearly as important
to me as the mystical documents which describe it.  I compare it to
Plato's _Republic_ and perhaps some of the writings on government by
Kung Fu Tse.

|>|with the student beginning at the top:
|>This is overly simplistic, as it only pertains to the Outer or physical
|>manifestation of the GD. 

|In the FAQ, I'm just trotting out the basics!  We can discuss other
|interpretations in alt.magick, of course, but the FAQ is for quick
|answers and getting definitions down.

Yes, well the entire understanding of the subject is set forth in the
definitions.  By 'getting the definitions down' in simplistic fashion
it guarantees that the less inquisitive and skeptical will miss the
deeper aspects of the subject.  I've seen it with every FAQ related
to the occult and mysticism (e.g. the recent ZenFAQ, which completely
bypasses certain approaches to the subject).

|>|A grade called the "Portal" comes between 4=7 and 5=6, and this
|>|contains some very powerful symbolism on the transition between the
|>|Outer and Inner Mysteries.  
|>Please define (or at least say something about) 'the Outer and Inner
|>Mysteries'.  Thanks.

|I'll let you know when *I* find out!  :)

If you don't know, then why use the terms?  Can't you describe them from the
exterior, at least?

|I'm curious if the "Silver Star" could have been used by Mathers or Westcott.

So am I.  You might look to Rosicrucians.

|>I do think that you should say something about the range of argument here.
|>I.e. some maintain that the Order of the Hidden Masters is here around us
|>and that living humans are part of this, some even contending that they
|>have to be in the GD; others apparently think of the world in rather
|>spiritualistic terms, positing that these Hidden Masters make contact via
|>channelling, ritual and/or automatic writing (see the many cases of this
|>which lead to orgs all on their own, such as Blavatsky's DK and Crowley's

|Isn't there a similar range of disagreement about bodhisattvas  -- 
|from disembodied spirits to actual people (like the Dalai Lama)?

Yes there is.  From 'one who has taken the vows' to 'awakened one, standing
upon this Shore to assist'.

|>|...most of the original Golden 
|>|Dawn "secrets" have already been (or are in the process of being) published.
|>Why don't you list, specifically, where each of these 'secrets' are located
|>(i.e. the major name of the secret, the tome and page #s)?  Perhaps you can
|>include a spoiler and/or warning for the unready/unwary. ;>

|I've always assumed that it *all* was secret -- from the knowledge 
|lectures to the initiation ceremonies to the design of the robes!  The
|titles in the reference section should be some clue.

C'mon.  You said they were published.

|Regarding Rosicrucianism...
|>[Most of this 'history' (once again favoring the conservative and cynical 
|> or nonmythic interpretation of origins) omitted]

|Yup, sorry again.  I'd love to take hundreds of more kilobytes to talk
|more about this kind of aspect, but that's not really fair to the
|generic FAQ-reader who's just after definitions and quick wrap-ups.

Yes, get 'idealistic' about the fabulous goals and results and then get
'realistic' about the origins of the Order's documents.  I think this is
inconsistent.  The story of Fr. Springel and her order can't take very
long to tell in any case.  If you need incentive, consider Flamel.

|>|I quote from his "history lection" (with the line numbers removed for
|>|readability) from Liber LXI vel Causae A.'.A.'. :
|>|  "In 1900 one P., a brother, [Crowley, "Perdurabo"] instituted a 
|>|   rigorous test of S.R.M.D. [Mathers] on the one side and the Order 
|>|   on the other.  He discovered that S.R.M.D., though a scholar of 
|>|   some ability and a magician of remarkable powers, 
|>Note, this is the first mention of 'powers' instead of knowledge, in 
|>this quote of Crowley.  I suggest that you precurse (pun) this entire
|>section with a comment somewhere along the line indicating the various
|>powers and abilities that are associated with the grades. 

|Hmm?  For Crowley's A.'.A.'., as laid out in "One Star in Sight," such 
|(verifiable?) associations exist, but none ever seemed to exist for
|the Golden Dawn.   Aside of:  Outer Order=no magical work / Inner Order=
|lots of magical work.

They certainly exist for the Rosicrucians.  I'll bet you're missing
something here.

|>_Book Four_ contains ... [same docs as] Regardie's _Golden Dawn_, 

|I think Bill answered this one -- Crowley got them from the original
|(London) Isis-Urania Temple pre-1900.  Regardie got his documents from
|the post-1920 Bristol Temple of the Stella Matutina.  I haven't yet
|(but will soon) compared the two versions of the initiation rituals
|in very much detail, but many have said that the later versions were much
|more, um, flatulent in their prose.  This was due to Felkin.

Not the initiation rites, I'm talking about other things:

Signs: _Magick_ Plate 3 : _Complete Golden Dawn_ V. II B. 2 (<43>+; 133-4)
Bornless Rite: _Magick_ p. 355  : _CGD_ V. III B. 6 (<259>; 442)
Pentagram Rites: _Magick_ p. 451  : _CGD_ V. III B. 4 (<9>-<19>; 280-286)
Hexagram Rites: _Magick_ p. 454  : _CGD_ V. III B. 4 (<20>-<34>; 287-298)

|>|The next key development was in 1887 with the "discovery" of the famous
|>|Cypher Manuscripts.  Whether found in a Masonic library, bought from a used
|>|bookshop, or fabricated whole-cloth by Westcott, these documents contained
|>|summaries of the first five G.D. initiation rituals (0=0 to 4=7).  
|>Wasn't there *any* conjecture (by the men, specious or not) as to the origins
|>of the document?  I.e. didn't they speculate as to who wrote them?

|Most of them seemed to believe they were either (a) written by Sprengel,
|or (b) transcriptions of the rituals of Sprengel's order.

Is there any additional information about Sprengel or her Order?
Guesses?  Hints?  Even by modern members?

|Many people certainly put more credence in supposedly "otherworldly" 
|information than from "mundanely" written information, yes.  


|Whew!  Thanks for the mental workout, [Mu].

My pleasure.  I'm gradually doing that with every FAQ which pertains to a
subject of my study, even when I'm ill-informed.  Not only does it give 
me a chance to test out how much I (usually don't) know about a subject, 
it also exposes me to alternative perspectives. ;>

Hsi Wang Mu

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