Fama Fraternitatis - 1614

Wiewohl wir nun wohl wissen, daß es umb ein ziemliches noch nicht an dem, da wieder unserm Verlangen oder auch anderer Hoffnung mit allgemeiner Reformation divini et humani, solle genug geschehen, ist es doch nicht unbillich, daß, ehe die Sonne auffgehet, sie zuvor ein HELL oder dunkel liecht in den Himmel bringt und unter dessen etliche wenige, die sich werden angeben, zusammen tretten, unsere Fraternitet mit der Zahl und Ansehen des gewünschten und von Fr.R.C. fürgeschriebenen Philosophischen Canons, einen glücklichen Anfang machen oder ja in unserer Schätz (die uns nimmermehr aufgehen können) mit uns in Demut und Liebe genießen die Mühsamkeit dieser Welt überzuckern und in den Wunderwerken Gottes nicht also blind umbgehen.

Vi vet dock att det enligt vår åstundan och andras förväntningar efter någon tid kommer en allmän reformation av både gudomliga och mänskliga ting. Ty innan solen går upp, upplyses himlen av
MORGONRODNADENS ljus. I väntan på denna reformation församlas några få som med sitt antal skall utöka vårt brödraskap, höja dess anseende och stärka dess förhoppningar och ge de av Fr.R.C. föreskrivna Filosofiska Canons en lycklig begynnelse. I all ödmjukhet och kärlek skall dessa nytillkomna tillsammans med oss dela våra skatter, som aldrig skall förgås, och så lindra denna världens möda och inte längre vandra ovetande om kunskapen om Guds underbara verk.

Howbeit we know after a time there will now be a general reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our desire, and the expectation of others: for it is fitting, that before the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth AURORA, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky; and so in the mean time some few, which shall give their names, may joyn together, thereby to increase the number and respect of our Fraternity, and make a happy and wished for beginning of our Philosophical Canons, prescribed to us by our brother R.C. and be partakers with us of our treasures (which never can fail or be wasted) in all humility, and love to be eased of this worlds labor, and not walk so blindly in the knowledge of the wonderful works of God.


Det brittiska ordenssällskapet Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn och den tyska Frimurarlogen L'Aurore Naissante, vilket grundades i London 1888 respektive Frankfurt-am-Main 1807, delade på samma hebreiska namn Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur, förevisat i gyllene gult vid bloggens huvud, vilket ordagrannt kan översättas till “Stigande Gryningsljusets Sällskap”. Denna tyska Rosenkorsiska Frimurarloge i Frankfurt, vilket måste anses vara det ursprungliga modertemplet till GOLDEN DAWN, kallade sig på tyska även Loge sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, vilket kan översättas till “Gryende Morgonrodnadens Loge”. Detta skiljer sig åt från den engelska seden att översätta orden Bequr Aur till “Golden Dawn” eller “Gyllene Gryningen”. Med anledning av Rosenkorstraditionens tyska ursprung är en mer korrekt översättning av Bequr Aur, genom franskans L'Aurore Naissante och tyskans Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, inget annat än GRYENDE MORGONRODNADEN. Denna hänvisning till ett stigande gryningsljus, morgonrodnad eller aurora är en klar hänvisning till den allmäna reformationen omnämnt i det ovan citerade stycket från Fama Fraternitatis. Denna blogg har dock valt att behålla den försvenskade anglo-saxiska termen GYLLENE GRYNINGEN för att denna, invand som den är, lättare associeras med den Rosenkorsiska tradition som här ämnas att framställas.

Licht, Leben, Liebe

lördag 28 november 2009

Servants of the Light: An addendum to Magic, alchemy and compassion


In the ongoing discussion on Love and Compassion in the Great Work my good Frater A.I.T. has been kind enough to point out for us that in the Golden Dawn tradition we are taught to balance Mercy with Severity. Therefore, according to him, magic must likewise express Severity as well as Compassion, and not only the latter. According to him Compassion cannot be regarded as of more paramount importance than Severity.

I do acknowledge that Frater A.I.T. has made some important and interesting observations about what has been said in our rites, most prominently in the Neophyte Grade which states that the student should:
...study well that Great Arcanum, the proper equilibrium of mercy and severity, for either unbalanced is not good; unbalanced severity is cruelty and oppression; unbalanced mercy is but weakness and would permit evil to exist unchecked, thus making itself as it were the accomplice of that evil.
Now let us try to study this Great Arcanum. In the particular development of Lurianic Qabalah called “Sabbatian” the great Qabalist and prophet of Sabbathai Zevi, Nathan of Gaza, proposed the idea of a “ambivalence” found in Godhead. He said that the expression of God was dual already at the level of Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light), which divided into a “thoughtful” and “thoughtless” Light. The former wanted and had an urge for creation; the latter resisted it and tried to uphold the original and blissful unified state prior to creation.

But when creation did occur both the Thoughtful and Thoughtless Lights were involved in it, the latter actively combating it. This dual potency created the binary system of the Tree of Life that is known to us as the Pillars of Severity and Mercy, i.e. the Black and White Pillars as represented in the Neophyte Hall, and the three sets of opposite or opposing Sephiroth (Binah & Chokmah, Geburah & Chesed, and Hod & Netzach).

Because of these two competing forces imbalance occurred while the creation was under way and out of the forces of Severity the Tree was shattered and hence the Shells or Qlippoth were created. This catastrophe is referred to as “the breaking of the vessels”. These Shells or Husks were mixed with the seven lower Sephiroth and created what in Sabbatian Qabalah is referred to as the “Abyss”. Hence only the Supernals were untainted from the Fall while the Seven lowermost became the “Pit of Serpents”.

All this is amply showed forth in the Practicus (3°=8°) and Philosophus (4°=7°) Diagrams on the Garden of Eden. As can be seen, Sabbatian Qabalah was infused with the tradition of the Golden Dawn in an early preparatory phase, already in the late 18th Century and the fraternity called Asiatic Brethren, which later created a “Golden Dawn” Lodge in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1807, referred to as the Nascent Dawn.

Diagrams of Garden of Eden

So yes, there is imbedded in the Qabalistic philosophy of the Golden Dawn, which continues the antinomian way of the “heretical” Sabbateists, the concept of the evil and good faces of God. But all of this has, in my opinion, been somewhat mitigated by the early Christian Qabalistic teachings stemming from such important personages as Pico della Mirandola, Athanasius Kircher, and Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, which also found its way into the Golden Dawn. Hence we in the Golden Dawn also lay great emphasis upon the union of opposites through the healing powers of the Great Name of the Pentagrammaton or Yeheshuah (YHShVH).

This means that we shouldn’t overemphasise the division between the Pillars but instead work for the reconciliation between them. And reconciliation or union of opposites per definition involves the Great Universal Principle of Love. That’s why our tradition teaches us that the only of the Planetary glyphs which fits upon the entire Tree of Life and involves all Sephiroth is the symbol of Venus, i.e. that of Love. This according to the Philosophus Ceremony which states:
...the symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life... embraces all the Sephiroth, and is therefore the fitting symbol of the Isis of Nature. Hence also its circle is always represented larger than that of Mercury.
As a Philosopus the student is later required to contemplate or meditate upon the symbol of the Planet Venus until:
...he realises the Universal Love which would express itself in perfect service to all man-kind and which embraces Nature both visible and invisible.
This predominance of Love on the Tree of Life is also the reason behind why we are told in the Neophyte Ceremony that there are:
Two contending Forces and one which unites them eternally. Two basal angles of the triangle and one which forms the apex. Such is the origin of Creation, it is the Triad of Life.
That’s why we are taught to invoke the Middle Pillar before we can invoke the entire Tree. This is the Pillar called “Mildness” which is composed of the Sephiroth of Kether, Tiphareth and Yesod. These Middle Pillar Sephiroth represents the synthesis of the foregoing opposed Sephiroth upon the Black and White Pillars.

The glyph of Venus encompassing all 10 Sephiroth

In this instance I believe that Psychoanalysis may shed some valuable light on this mystery. Sigmund Freud, undeniably being either unconsciously or consciously influenced by the mystical philosophy of his Jewish ancestry, later in life postulated that human life and behaviours basically were conditioned according to the two great and contending forces or “drives” to which he referred as Eros and Thanathos, or the “life instinct” and the “death drive” respectively.

According to the Freudians both of these forces had to be reckoned with and therapy were henceforth given the task of reconciling these two. Thus the real danger, according to psychoanalysis, lies in the division or splitting between the Eros and Thanathos, which may lead to destructive tendencies and ultimately to death. The goal is instead of the fusion of these two drives that are likened to a intertwining of sorts.

I here immediately see the image of the Caduceus of Hermes, the symbol of healing. The two serpents (of which one is black and the other white in the Golden Dawn tradition) are reconciled round the central staff (the Middle Pillar). Hence Freud speaks of use of the death drive in the service of the life instinct.

The Caduceus

Instead of expressing destructive aggression, life may use the death drive to give the necessary incentive for individuation and of personal integrity, and self-preservation. This sometimes must involve defence against destructive elements from both outside and inside of the subject. Hence Freud tells us that the defence mechanisms of the self use force coming from the death drive.

This may be compared to the practise and formulae of evocation of the averse or demonic forces. The Magician uses the severity of God to subdue the Qlippoth so that the integration of these hieretho destructive forces may be integrated and used for the greater good, i.e. in the service of the life instinct. So basically the death drive is used when the repressed parts of the death drive is to be reconciled and integrated.

Hence the Theurgical system of the Golden Dawn and of psychoanalysis have the same ultimate goal, that of making conscious that what is unconscious and to reintegrate that which has been cast down from the self. This in my opinion is the principle behind the use and adaptation of the original Neophyte Grade emphasis on the Great Arcanum of Equilibrium between Mercy and Severity. If overemphasis on any of these two principles represented by the Two Pillars occurs con-fusion instead of fusion follows, and hence the death drive or evil gains free reins to create havoc or psychopathology. Only through fusion may the evil death drive become checked and equilibrium restored.

This process is also the equivalent of what in the Lurianic and Sabbatian traditions are referred to as the Tikkun ha-Olam, the “restoration” of the Adam or Tree of Life. Hence, according to the Lurian and Sabbatian Qabalah (and also of the Theurgical system of the Golden Dawn), the Magician has been given the task of reuniting God with himself, i.e. to restore the fallen world to its original state before the breaking of the vessels.

In my opinion this restoration process not only involves the reintegration of the Qlippoth or “freeing of the divine sparks” to create a harmonious and balanced Tree of Life, but also the reconciliation or fusion of the “two contending forces”, i.e. the Black and White Pillars, Severity and Mercy, or the Thoughtful and Thoughtless Lights.

This task has been given to humanity, to us. This is our great responsibility and also, according to the Qabalah, the real purpose of our existence as humans. This is our great Cross to carry, the path of Compassion towards God or the All. In this we must sacrifice our self or crucify ourselves upon the Cross, i.e. the Tree of Life, and become the Anointed King which will govern our world with the Rod of Iron. We must make ourselves into the New Adam, into the Christos.

The Crucified Christ or New Adam

Therefore we must transform the Tree of Life into the glyph of Venus., i.e. into a harmonious whole. The primary force which we must wield in this process is the L.V.X. force, which is also the Life Force (life instinct), which is the Universal Principle of Love. Hence the principle of Love and Compassion must prevail over and mitigate that of Severity. Eros must conquer Thanathos and make it to a servant of life. Thus as magicians we must become Servants of the Light. That is why we are taugh the old Rosicrucian axiom of “Licht, Leben und Liebe” (Light, Life and Love), these three principles being synonyms for the All.


4 kommentarer:

Frater A.I.T. sa...

Care V.H.Fra.S.R.,

Wonderful post, with your usual excellent scholarship. You've presented the Rosicrucian perspective-from the inside-in a clear and sensible light. Although I do wonder how many Rosicrucian adepts have your level of understanding in this matter? It is not so simple as equating Rosicrucian Magic with Compassion; it still seems clear to me that the resulting understanding of the importance of Compassion and Love and the ascendancy of these forces within the Adept are the fruit of the Alchemical marriage. That is, they are not the goal of the Magic that is worked, as that is for Union, but an important complimentary effect.

Also, are we certain that the Qliphoth are purely suppressed from the Death force? I have always understood the Qliphoth to be unbalanced reflections of the Sephirothic forces-of both the expansive and contracting forces, and not the Death force alone. I had assumed that, during the Evocations of the Demonic Forces, these forces where called into the light and brought into service of the Light. They were not destroyed, but Enlightened. The demons of the Adept don't disappear after being summoned, but are put to use in Service of the Light. Their energies are a necessary part of existence, and a part of the Whole that is God.

Of course, I have no scholarly reference for that-only my own understanding. Perhaps Mis-understanding.=)

That is just my opinion, which as a member of only the Outer must be taken with that in mind.

Thanks for the lesson, Frater!

Fraternally in LVX,


Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Fra. A.I.T.,

Thank's for your encouraging words!

You are correct in that the qlippoth must be integrated, or rather re-integrated with the self; brought into the Light as you amply have described it. Likewise we must attain a fusion between the two contending forces (i.e. that of the death- and life drives).

What I am saying is that during this integration process we must hold the qlippoth in check so that they don't take over an possess us.

Remember that the Sword, or Severity, is the primary weapon during evocation. I hold that Severity is part of the dark side of Godhead which stems from the "thoughless light", which in psychoanalytical terms is referred to as the "death drive".

In normal cases the self uses the death drive to repress the qlippoth, i.e. the unwanted impulses and urges. This we must continue to also do in our initial stages of initiation, when the qlippoth will assault us (as exemplified in the 4=7 symbology).

Thus we are not ready to integrate the qlippoth in full force until we are on the level of 6=5 after we have become consious of our Higher Self (Guardian Angel).

But still in this process of integration during the final stage, at the level of 6=5, we still must subdue the qlippoth under the divine will, ere they will posess the self.

That's why we do it using protective circles, the triangel of art and the Magical Sword. We must use precaution and uphold a sound level security. That is the task given to Severity, Mars, i.e. the "death drive".

But this is done to securily attain the (relatively) full integration. Nothing must remain repressed in the optimal solution. Any qlippoth left will ruin the final Alchemical Marriage, or at least prevent it from having a full circle.

You are also correct in that the qlippoth are the unbalanced aspects of the Sephiroth. But normally only the "negative" or "destructive" parts are being repressed as part of our socialisation process, and maturity into adulthood. The more "positive" aspects may also be unbalanced (hence "qlippotic") but these are often on the conscious level and part of our self. Hence why suppressed qlippoth often take "demonic" images.

As an example, the defence mechanisms of the self often take exaggerated forms and become sympthoms, for example as in mania, or compulsive behaviour, self reproach, etc.

When these supressed aspects or ourselves are reintegrated also the other exaggerated conscious aspects of ourself will become mitigated and balanced out. This is easily seen in psychoanalytical work.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

greetings sa...

Thanks for your interesting post. I would like widen the responses a little if I may.

The main difficulty with magic as I see it is that it can have poor forensics when it comes to assessing the level of a priori integration in a prospective neophyte. It often inducts people into 'the mysteries' who are importing psychological and emotional imbalance, even though these individuals may present as integrated on preliminary exposure. Even high level initiates aren't 'clear' necessarily. For example Crowley continued to exhibit forms of psychopathy and of course addiction notwithstanding his high accomplishments as a magician.

Gurdjieff was somewhat sarcastic about magic because he proceeded on the assumption that people are hopelessly divided, unable 'to do' and victims of their various fantasies and delusions. I think he described magic and related practices as "a way to make your sleep more comfortable".

I think there is something to be said for synthesizing magical work with fourth way techniques, so that ritual is also a tool for self-remembering and for 'working' consciously on the challenge of integration. Groups I have worked with with GD and OTO links often completely overlooked this as a strategy (although it was 'presumed' as a part of magical practice). What can end up happening is that strange subjective states are induced that can lead to misunderstandings and even to psychotic breaks that threaten the working environment.

There are exercises and movements associated with the Gurdjieffian approach, along of course with specific teachings aka the system, that could complement magical work. In a way I see it as a sort of necessary prophylactic - a point-of-contact that helps to anchor those who are navigating strange waters.

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

I certainly agree with you that lots of mentally disturbed people seek the mysteries. I have learnt this the hard way. Therefore I have introduced a preparatory period before initiation into the Temple that I preside over in Sweden, where I am able to spot the most obvious cases. As I am also trained in phsychoterapeutic techniques and diagnosis I believe that I am quite able to succeed with this in most cases.

But it is like you have said, that in some people severe psychopathology is latent and will only be awakened through the process of initiation. That's why I always recommend psychotherapy in combination with initiation. But my experience is that in most of these cases the system "weeds" out the unsuited for the Greater Work in the Inner Order.

When it comes to Gurdjieff I know next to nothing, besides that I have understood that he knew a lot more than most, of what I can construe from others comments. Regarding the "fourth way techniques" I know of nothing, as I have never heard of it prior to you mentioning it. Perhaps you can expand somewhat on this subject?

In Licht, Leben und Liebe