The Golden Dawn has alone been the most important thing in my life – besides my wife and my children – during the last two decades and has been the single factor that has changed me most as a person. I have difficulties now imagining a life without the Golden Dawn; my life prior to the discovery of the tradition is quite uninteresting and irrelevant for me today. I would even dare to say that I died and was resurrected as a new personality after I received my first spiritual “salvation”. I discovered the true tradition a year later and it was only then that everything started to become clearer, and I finally began to come out of the initial confused state which often follows the embracement of a spiritual worldview, in contradistinction to the secular and materialistic.
I have been a student of the Golden Dawn tradition since the early 1990’s and prior to my formal membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® became a member of an organization called B.O.T.A. (Builders of the Adytum), which was created in the 1920’s by the Golden Dawn Adept Paul Foster Case. He has written a brilliant and quite extensive correspondence course that teaches a developed form of the Golden Dawn tradition. My time in this organization, which spanned between the years of 1993-1999, gave me a basic understanding of the Western Mystery Tradition and was an important preparation for my later and more advanced studies. A few years later I began to practice Ceremonial Magic, which constitutes an important part of the Golden Dawn tradition, as a result of my initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® in 1995. It was only then, after my first ritual initiation and the subsequent magical work, where I began to see that my life changed around me in synchronicity with my internal development. After that there was no longer any turning back to what had been.
My whole worldview and outlook on humanity are affected by the teachings as taught in the Order, which consists of a amalgam of much older traditions stemming from the Middle East, including Hermeticism and the Holy Qabalah. Hermeticism represents the alchemical view that matter can be refined by humans for it to express the divine spirit more fully. Qabalah teaches more or less the same thing, but as expressed through Jewish-Christian religious notions and magical techniques.
Nowadays I organize a considerable part of my thinking after the main symbol or glyph of the Holy Qabalah, the “Tree of Life”. It helps me to structure my though processes and analysis of what is happening around and within me. On the whole it is, however, restricted to mentality. There are no stringent rules that are forced upon me by the Order of how I should conduct my mundane life, so often seen in religious movements or sects; rigorous diet, blind obedience and service, sexual abstinence (or promiscuity), etc. None of the latter rules can be found in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®. I myself, as a magician or alchemist, am the sole person who decides which attitudes I choose to use in my dealing with the world around me. There are certainly some fundamental beliefs and values that are shared by all or most members of the Order, but the ultimate interpretation is left up to the individual. But despite this, I must say that a considerate part of my attitude towards life, towards my environment, and towards myself, is influenced by the teachings that I have studied and learned since I was initiated into the Order. In the long term one develops a personal conduct of life that is harmonious with what the Order stands for and teach.
I would like to stress the fact that my attitude and approach towards the outer world and my fellow men have been affected as a consequence of my membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®. I strive to improve myself as a person and make myself a more adequate mediator of Light, Life and Love, something that I desire to extend to my fellow men. I have since I started to study the Golden Dawn tradition had an urge to contribute to the mitigation of the world’s suffering and of the ailments in the individual. This profound wish of alleviation of suffering has prompted me to having undergone training in social works at the University and afterwards sought after professions in treatment, rehabilitation and counselling, with the ultimate aim of eventually becoming a psychotherapist. I am currently undergoing training in psychoanalysis as a consequence of all this, as I, besides the obvious connection between magic and psychology, want to help my fellow men to alleviate psychic illness but also to help them find their inner strength and manifest more spirituality in their lives. Therapists are our contemporary curers of soul.
Furthermore, I have become very eager to learn as much as I can as a part of my studies. I have in periods sought after and absorbed a wealth of knowledge, not only within the Golden Dawn tradition or the Western Mystery Tradition but also in sociology, behavioural sciences and psychology. I possess greed to know how and what it is to be a human and how human mentality actually works, what it is that drives or inspires her and where her unfoldment (or evolution) potentially can bring her.
It is my strong belief that the Golden Dawn tradition, and membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®, eventually and gradually makes man a more transparent channel of the divine. I believe that its initiates become more sensitive to their environment, both physically and spiritually, and that they become more capable of interpreting the more subtle impressions of life. I believe its initiates learn to see a greater context of the seemingly contradictory events in their own and others’ lives. I believe that we as initiates are increasingly starting to converse with God through the daily events that we experience in life, “the oracle of life” as I usually call it. In short, I believe that the initiate becomes a more sensitive instrument and optimised vehicle for the divine.
All this has given me a purpose in life. Everything has a purpose and I rarely feel alone, even if I in periods isolate myself from my environment. I have gained an increased confidence of my own and humanity’s future, although I realize that we all have a lot of trials to go through. Nowadays I usually are able to see the broader context of these sometimes arduous trials and setbacks (at least after a while, then my negative feelings has died off), after which they suddenly gain a completely different meaning. It is these experiences of a larger context that gives me understanding and strength instead of negative feelings of defeat.
Thus out of necessity there is also a dark side to all this. The spiritual attainment of the initiate will come very costly. Following the initiation into Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® a greenhouse effect of growing is initiated. What an initiate normally achieves during a decade can in many cases be equivalent of several incarnations of the ordinary man. Naturally, all this must be associated with lots of “growing pains.” It is not at all uncommon to feel one’s life falling into chaos. It is also not entirely rare that some choose to cancel their initiatory process and completely end with all magical practice, and even leave the Order. The path of the initiate requires a great deal of perseverance and patience, mental strength and valour, and not least willpower.
For the initiatory process to lead into a positive development and completion the member must pass through what we in the tradition have come to call “the Dark Night of the Soul”. This is a complex process but in short this means a thorough examination of oneself and a direct encounter with the darkest aspects of one’s soul, often aspects that one previously have not been consciously aware of. One can compare the initiatory process with psychotherapy. It is necessary for therapy, to be able to permanently change the patient’s outlook on life and be curative, to have a phase that can be described as painful for the soul. This also and not least applies to the initiatory process caused directly by membership to this Order.
While the many painful moments of a initiate’s life is raging, it is nevertheless comforting to know that one is part of a larger context as a member, of a greater whole, that there are brothers and sisters that one can entrust oneself to and even senior members who have travelled the path before oneself, and who can give consolation and some good advice on the road. The path is something we by ourselves have to tread though, without any exception; we each have to carry our own cross.
Sometimes I wonder if one doesn’t need to be a little bit insane if one desires to embark on this difficult path. In my own case I have evolved from being a fairly dispassionate and insensitive person to become a passionate being. I can wholeheartedly and with the fullest of dedication venture into that which interests me at the moment. My emotional life has awoken to its fullest potential and sometimes I oscillate quite a lot between my emotions. After a while it is only normal to become very sensitive to one’s environment and easily be caught up in various emotions which perhaps doesn’t even originate in oneself, but thanks to the enhanced susceptibility one is easily pulled in anyway.
Thanks God there is practical work that can counterbalance and mitigate excesses in this. But even if I in times are able to experience the greatest of happiness, which I didn’t dream of having prior to crossing the threshold of the Temple, I similarly also feel periods of great darkness and sometimes depression. This is naturally to experience however, and is something you have to go through over and over again. The pain experienced (and certainly also the glimpses of happiness) is proof enough that the process of progress is very much alive.
So what I want to say with all of this is that the path of the initiate is not “a dance on roses” but instead a path of melancholy. Since I became initiated I have during a relatively short time been forced to go through a divorce, become a single parent left with a small child, with all that comes with this great responsibility, in periods had troubled relationships with people which are close to my heart, been compelled to break up unrewarding relationships, changed employment a number of times, had painful experiences at work and in general experienced a high level of stress that sometimes has been on the verge of what I am capable of handling, etc.
Often, I wonder how much influence I really can exert in all of this; if I do not wave to and fro like a reed in the wind without being able to do something about my condition. But all of this suffering has been worth all the tears. I regret nothing. On the contrary; nothing has been done in vain. The initiatory process has given me much insight about myself and my environment, in a growing sense of a meaningful life, in my periods of close communion with the sacred and divine, in the quickening of my soul; all this have been the outcome of all these trials.
I have also realized that this process, with all its painful tribulation, has led me to various crossroads where I have been compelled to make important choices in life; where the alternatives to the choices that I have made would have resulted in living a life of falsehood and spiritual or personal misery. I have gained a good deal of life experiences as a result of all this, and my personal crises has forced me to examine myself and my place in life, which has contributed to an increasing self-knowledge. This in turn has helped me to make the right decisions that are in harmony with what I have perceived at the moment to be my personal road to destiny or the purpose with my life.
Parallel to this, I have also met the love of my life, my soror mystica, and together with her conceived and raised three wonderful children, which in itself is proof of a miracle. I am working towards a career that feels more dignified and meaningful for me. I socialize with new friends – brothers ans sisters on the path – who give me much in return, people who I probably never would have met had it not been for my initiatory process and membership in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®. So the Golden Dawn has brought me many riches in life, even if the stakes certainly have been high.