- The design: The Wand should be a simple and thin staff coloured red, yellow and blue in descending order in equal parts. The blue end at the bottom should be pointed. There shouldn’t be any ball on top. There definitely shouldn’t be any wings or snakes, like in the Caduceus of Hermes. It should resemble a wand like an old fashioned 19th century teachers pointer.
- The use: The generic grip position of the Kerux wand is the yellow section, and it is held in the left hand during circumambulation with the blue point up just like a sword tip. In some parts of the ritual other colour sections are used to emphasise certain energetic states.
The Magic Staff of Power, or Wand of Kerux, shares in symbolism with the full Caduceus of Hermes, i.e. the three primary Elemental colours of red, yellow and blue in descending order. This is a Outer Order representation, like the Ritual Z-1 states, of “the Wand surmounted by the Winged Globe below which the twin Serpents are shown - the Wand of the Chief Adept in the 5°=6° Grade”. It is furthermore a reference to the Admission Badge of the 2°=9° Grade, where Shin (Fire) is surmounting the Caduceus and forms the wings, and Mem (Water) forms its base and tails of the two serpents, while the Aleph (Air) constitutes the middle Part and serpents.
Hence it, like any Wand or Sceptre, shouldn’t be reversed but in special circumstances. The correct way is to hold it with the red part pointing upwards and the blue downwards. The reference to the Caduceus of Hermes and the Winged Globe again gives head room for the use of the ball on top of the Staff.
Moreover, it is outright disinformative to suggest that the Kerux should hold the Staff in his left arm and the Lamp in his right and that “this is how they did it in the Golden Dawn”. This is bared out in the unpublished Neophyte Ceremony paper of S.L. MacGregor Mathers’s Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega. The correct way, according to MacGregor Mathers, is for the Kerux to hold the Wand in the right hand and the Lamp in the left, as is shown in the video. This only follows the usual way of using Wands and Sceptres in the Golden Dawn. My guess it that this error is based upon A.E. Waite’s and Paul Foster Case’s representations of the Hermit, as shown above, which is based on older exoteric decks. I suggest looking at Aleister Crowley’s or why not the Whare Ra esoteric versions, which shows the Hermit holding the Staff in his right hand and Lamp in his left.
I agree however that the Staff of Kerux should be generally held by the yellow band, and that other parts of the Staff have their valid uses also. I.e. the three primary Elements of Fire, Air and Water may be emphasised in different parts of the ritual. More active force are supposed to be evoked by the Kerux using the fiery band of red, in dynamic parts of the ritual (as shown in the video). When the Kerux partakes with the Hiereus in the guardianship of the Western Portal, against any unwanted trespassers or forces, the red section of the Staff emediately comes to mind.
Them scholars or Golden Dawn members who has the benefit of owning or studying several papers from the Alpha et Omega and the Stella Matutina will know that the Stella Matutina went much further in its revisions of the original teachings and rituals of the pre 1900 Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. With the exception of the Neophyte Ritual, MacGregor Mathers changed very little although he added some and later Chiefs, such as Brodie-Inners, added some more.
Some of my readers will remember that I have shown before on this blog that Robert Felkin took many liberties when he developed his Stella Matutina, the most prominent example being the revision of the Portal Ritual and the interpretation of the Tree of Life in relation to the Elemental Grades.
I have also expounded somewhat of the actual origin of Pat Zalewski’s teachings, as set forth in his Golden Dawn Ritual and Commentaries book. Although I do appreciate Zalewski’s work in his presentation of the Golden Dawn ritual commentaries, which finally is forthcoming in a new edition and format, it must be put in its proper context. No doubt, Pat Zalwski’s latest aggressive move towards the H.O.G.D./A+O is a part of a promotional campaign of his forthcoming book.
I might write a review on the latest edition when I receive it, but I must take the liberty to say something about it in the context of this discussion. Now, it is true that Golden Dawn Ritual and Commentaries expounded upon the Golden Dawn rituals much further than any author had before, and I acknowledge the fact that some of that information has been truly enlightening. One such example is the presentation of the Staff of Kerux, and here I must confess that my own awareness of the error in using the Caduceus for the Staff of Kerux is the result of reading Zalewski’s book, backed up by later study of original Golden Dawn materials.
However, it is clear to those who have a dispassionate attitude towards both Patrick Zalewski and the Whare Ra Temple, that the teachings presented in his books are not the gospel of the Golden Dawn tradition; not by any stretch of the imagination. But if we stretch it a bit it may be the gospel of the Whare Ra tradition, but certainly not the Golden Dawn tradition. This is evidenced by my discussion on the Staff of Kerux, where some of Zalewski’s suggestions is contradicted by the traditional teachings of MacGregor Mathers.
But here one must also remember that the Whare Ra lived a relatively isolated existence within the overall original Golden Dawn community. Thus it’s teachings weren’t always representative of the overall Stella Matutina protocol, or rather in comparison with the only British Temple of Hermes in Bristol who in its latter days became assimilated with the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, as has been shown by the Golden Dawn scholar Tony Fuller. Fuller has also shown us that some of this material later also found its way into the Whare Ra, although it always retained its distinct mark from the Rudolf Steiner interpretation of the Misraim Rite.
But when we address the book Golden Dawn Ritual and Commentaries it also becomes clear that it is not even representative of the Whare Ra tradition! We approach the truth closer when we consider the fact that the information contained in Golden Dawn Ritual and Commentaries is based on Pat Zalewski’s experience of his encounters with the Adepts of the Order of the Table Round (O.T.R.), a Order which derived from but wasn’t identical with the Whare Ra Temple. If we are to trust the word of Zalewski all these O.T.R. Adepts were also ex-Whare Ra members.
Furthermore, Zalewski states that he in particular received teachings from Jack Taylor, the then Chief of the O.T.R., once a former Hierophant of the Whare Ra Temple. Other initiates of the Whare Ra tradition, such as Tony Fuller, has repeatedly stated that Taylor was quite eccentric and to “original” or controversial even for his fellow Whare Ra Adepts, which barred him from becoming a Chief of the Whare Ra Temple. The fact is also that Taylor left active participation of the Whare Ra in the middle 1960’s and henceforth solely focused upon the O.T.R.
Zalewski also states that the information in Golden Dawn Ritual and Commentaries is the result of the process of his own understanding of the teachings of Jack Taylor and any pointers that was given by him. Thus, when we read that book we have to remember that it represents the teachings which is the result of Pat Zalewski’s own interpretation and development of the teachings which he received from Jack Taylor, assisted by other Adepts of the Order of the Table Round.
It is definitely not representative of any classical or traditional teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It is even not representative of the Whare Ra teachings. At its most, it is representative of a “Jack Taylor & Pat Zalewski tradition”. Thus there is no validity in the claim made by him that “this is how it was once done in the Golden Dawn”. It is more correct to state that this is how it is done by Pat Zalewski and his students today. And whatever he and they do, it is only valid in the context of their own chartered Temples and no one else’s.
In defence of Pat Zalewski, he has also pointed out recently that he doesn’t represent any Golden Dawn lineage, only his own lineage. And I respect him for being such a frank fellow from time to time. But it must be known for sure that the H.O.G.D./A+O on the other hand follows no other post 1888 Golden Dawn teachings than that of S.L. MacGregor Mathers as they have understood it. Thus the videos as shown on YouTube must be viewed and judged in its proper context.