WHAT FOLLOWS is a compilation of a list of frequently asked questions regarding the General Reformation of 1999 (Reformatio anno 1999) which was initiated by the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega® 12 years ago now. Most of these questions were originally posed to me personally more than three years ago. The majority of these questions and my answers are in most cases verbatim quotations from two discussions with members and/or representatives of other fractions of the Golden Dawn community not adhering to the said reformation, mostly by Tony DeLuce of the Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn who’s valuable contribution is maked by an (*).
I originally published these discussions on this blog on 2009-11-20. Approximately 10 years after the General Reformation the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® has initiated a Minor Reformation, according to the Rosicrucian cycles of reformations which decrees that within the 111 years cycle of a General Reformation there also should manifest a series or recurring Minor Reformations according to a 10 years cycle. This latest Minor Reformation has affected and still affects both the First (or Outer) and Second (or Inner) Orders, and in particular the latter one or the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis® (R.R. et A.C.). Thus today I have decided to expand upon these previous discussions with four more questions which are inspired by recent assumptions made on the blogosphere regarding the reformation which needs to be addressed, as it seems that something that I have written might have contributed to a confusion regarding certain issues, creating possible misattribution to what I, the Order jurisdiction that I govern and am the official spokesperson for in Scandinavia actually represent. These latest questions that I have added today is marked by an (**). I have also taken the liberty today to expand somewhat where needed upon the original answers that I wrote up three years ago.
Thus what follows is a species of polemical debate, albeit expressed in a fraternal spirit. I have however taken the liberty to edit the original texts, amend and expand upon them somewhat, such as inserting new questions, to better be able to format the material into the classical Q & A format. It should however be made clear that my answers represent the way that the said Greater and Minor reformations have been implemented in the Scandinavian Jurisdiction, which in some minor instances might differ from how other Jurisdictions of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® or affiliated jurisdictions might have implemented them.
Q: I would like to ask if you could give us some information regarding your personal relation and experience of the Reformation and what you hope to accomplish with this discussion.
A: First of all I’m not one of the original reformers, these being properly the Greatly Honoured Fratres L.E.S. (David Griffin) and D.L.S. (Jean-Pascal Ruggiu). But I had regular communication with one of these and to some extent served as a counsellor and adviser during the time of its genesis. I have also been one of the key people who has implemented the Reformation according to the guidelines as given by my Chiefs, namely in my own Temple Alpha et Omega No. 9 and other Temples in Sweden, and later also when the so called Cyber Temple was created in 2002 and to which we then attached the name “Harparkrat”.
I have furthermore advanced several initiates through the Grades and personally supervised their training and giving them regular counselling, as part of their initiatic process, since the middle 1990’s. Thus I have a profound experience of initiation and training of initiates both prior to and after the Reformation in 1999.
As I myself already had gone through my Outer Order process before 1999, I therefore have no personal experience of the curriculum and training from the perspective of the initiate. But my teacher and tutor in the Temple in which I was initiated through the Outer Order Grades introduced me to techniques traditionally belonging to the Second or Inner Order, such as the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram, which I performed during this entire initiatory process. Furthermore, my own Inner Order training has taken all the benefits of the reformed curriculum of the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis® or R.R. et A.C.
So I believe I’m quite qualified to have an educated opinion of the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Reformation. This however doesn’t mean that I won’t acknowledge anyone’s right for a difference of opinion. To be honest, I fully respect any reservations against the Reformation. I probably would have been one of its critics wouldn’t I had experienced it so closely myself. But hopefully my answers will be able to dispel all prejudices against the Reformation and give a more solid background against critics or the curious to base their own judgement.
Q: Or perhaps just bear out the fact that you are simply making rationalizations to justify your actions. But before I venture any further into my critique of your Reformation, I would like you to explain to us the general nature and some aspects of it. Am I correct in assuming that the reformation of 1999 have changed the entire initiatory system of the Golden Dawn?
A: The reformation of 1999 doesn’t change the initiatic structure at all, but instead greatly enhances it. Our initiatic rituals, even if they are not identical to the ones as found in published literature, are much alike the ones members of other Golden Dawn Orders are accustomed to, even if we have made some amendments and improvements in our effort to create a working hermetic vessel. The greatest change though lies on the individual level and personal work. As the G∴D∴ in the Outer was mainly a theoretical Order, now it is also operative magical and alchemical.
Q:** The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® claimes that it is being guided by a Third Order originating in Europe in its ongoing implementation of the Reformation. If one is to accept the existence of an European Third Order, does this also imply that one has to follow the lead of the Chief of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®?
A: No, not at all! The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® has made it perfectly clear for everyone that it is willing to share its teachings emanating from the Third Order with Adepts from other Rosicrucian Orders, even ones belonging to the Golden Dawn community. However, we do require that they have followed the traditional formula of physical initiation and that they adhere to the obligations as contained in published rituals of the Neophyte and Adeptus Minor, in particular concerning upholding the sanctity of secret and unpublished material.
Q:** Does the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® consider all published Golden Dawn material to no longer be valid teachings?
A: No, not at all. Much of what has been published is still valid and genuine teachings that may contribute to the evolution of the initiate. However, since the General Reformation of 1999 much if not most of the published materials originally belonging to the Second Order has been transferred to the Outer Order (the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®) or the lowest level of the Adeptus Minor Grade. In the reformed Outer Order the initiate will now encounter these previously exalted teachings and magical formulae on an relatively early level. In the sub-grades of the Adeptus Minor Grade the initiate will work even further, and in more detail at that, with traditional Golden Dawn Theurgy, as found in published literature, besides being presented with an entirely “new” albeit traditional curriculum which is secret. In the senior Grades of the Second Order the initiate will encounter teachings and magical formulae which are traditionally Rosicrucian and yet secret, going beyond the modern restraints of the “Golden Dawn Tradition”.
Q:** Am I to assume that all of the published rituals and lessons have been rewritten to make the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® completely secret again? And have you abandoned the post 1888 reformation Golden Dawn system entirely?
A: No, this is not a correct assumption. As I said previously, we have not abandoned the Golden Dawn system, neither of Theurgy nor of Initiation. We still work the beautiful Theurgic system as handed down to us from S.L. MacGregor Mathers and W.W. Westcott, although with due corrections and considerable additions. Even if a reformation does changes to a system – rearranges, corrects and cleans it – we have not thrown away the babe with the bath water.
I cannot say in any detail what changes have actually been done to the reformed curriculum. However, and as I said, the published lectures of the First and Second Orders of the Golden Dawn are still being used in the reformed Order. In the process of adaptation to the First or Outer Order many of them have been amended, corrected and expanded upon. Most of the Knowledge Lectures of the Outer Order have been rearranged and expanded as compared to the ones published by Israel Regardie and R.G. Torrens.
When it comes to our Initiation Rituals, they still follow the standard Golden Dawn protocol, as found in the original Cypher Mss., and in some cases even follows it better than the original ones written up by MacGregor Mathers. However, they have been partially developed and adapted according to the reformation. Furthermore, all old passwords have been abandoned and replaced by new ones as a consequence of the profanation. However, despite these changes the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® still consider itself working with the Golden Dawn System of Theurgy and Initiation.
Q:** Are you claiming that all modern developments of Golden Dawn post 1888 are wrong, including the works of MacGregor Mathers and Westcott, and that Golden Dawn needs to be restructured according to the precepts of the Third Order? Is it your aim to abandon all developments and to retrace the system back to the 17th Century?
A: No, we don’t want to take the system back to the 17th Century. The aim of the General Reformation, Anno 1999, as well as our current Minor Reformation, is to take both the system and the Order into the 21th Century. We have adapted the system to meet the requirements of modern students of Magic and Alchemy. Furthermore, not all developments post 1888 are dead wrong. Most of what was developed either by Westcott or Mathers, or by both in co-operation, is still workable although there are errors in their teachings, as presented in published literature, which needs correction, both on the levels of scholarly research and of practical application of formulae.
As a Traditionalist Order the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® consider it to be imperative to receive guidance from the Third Order in the reformation of the Golden Dawn System of Theurgy and Initiation. Although there are aspects of some developments made by Westcott and Mathers, as presented in published literature, which has strayed to far from what the Third Order once considered to be acceptable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire system as presented by these two 1888 reformers goes contrary to what the Third Order considers to be correct application of the Hermetic and Rosicrucian Tradition.
That said, we do need to be cautious against any modern developments made post 1900. Although the Stella Matutina contributed to the Golden Dawn Tradition in some respects, in others it strayed away to far from the original intention, such as the inclusion of a foreign Grade system. However, we have to be even more cautious against recent developments made by individuals that haven’t even gone through the initiatic system properly and according to traditional protocol. In our post-modern era there are many irregular teachings being spread construed by self-proclaimed representatives of the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian Traditions.
Becuse of the fact that much of the Golden Dawn Tradition is public domain, anyone may create his own interpretation of it and develop it freely and further without the necessary containing structure and context of proper and regular initiation. The fact remains that you need traditional initiation with authentic lineage to fully make use of and understand the Golden Dawn System of Theurgy and Initiation. However, this does not mean that all developments are invalid; some suggestions made by certain modern authors are quite intersting and actually contributes to the overall Golden Dawn Tradition. So there are exceptions. What I am saying though is that we have to be extremely cautious today as the true gems that are presented in our post-modern age come extremely far between.
Q: You mentioned previously that since 1999 the Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®, i.e. the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn®, is an operative magical and alchemical Order. But how has the curriculum and training of the initiate actually been changed after the Reformation?
A: The curriculum has been changed to the extent that much of the documents previously only provided for Adepti Minori or 5°=6° of the R.R. et A.C. on the sub-grade levels of Neophyte Adeptus Minor (N.A.M.) and Zelator Adeptus Minor (Z.A.M.), referred to as “Rituals A to Z” and “Flying Rolls”, as published in books by Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie and Francis King, have been distributed to members of the Outer Order, the Golden Dawn, at certain Grade levels. In some cases these has been amended in the process to better fit with the Outer Order terminology and structure.
However some aspects of the old R.R. et A.C. material, as published by Crowley, Regardie, Torrens and King, is still properly reserved for the N.A.M. level of the Reformed Inner Order. Some of it, and unpublished (or partially published) original manuscripts from the original Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, are being implemented to the relatively low Z.A.M. level. Beyond that (i.e. from the level of Theoricus Adeptus Minor or Th.A.M. and onwards) we present original and traditional material previously not used in the R.R. et A.C.
Furthermore the initiates of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® follow a very rigid regimen of gradual magical workings as related to the prior standards and correspondences as set forth by the original Golden Dawn of the 1888 year reformation, i.e. following the path and ascension of the Tree of Life. So a Practicus of our Order, as an example, invokes all forces relating to Water and the Sephirah Hod – nothing else nor anything less. You will see the same with all the other Elemental Grades, as invocation starts off with the Zelator Grade.
Our Neophytes prepare themselves for the future work of invocation. This is done with Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram, and the Ritual of the Middle Pillar. As initiates of the Elemental Grades they learn to perform the Greater Pentagram and Hexagram Rituals. As portal members they learn the Supreme Pentagram Ritual. As Neophyte Adepti Minori they work with the Planetary Hexagram workings inside the Vault.
In the Elemental Sub-Grades of the Adeptus Minor Grade they work with each Enochian Tablet (Elemental, Planetary and Zodiacal), and in much more detail and depth compared to the Outer Order Workings, plus even more interesting operations that I cannot divulge here.
So, as you see, there is a very conscious and deliberate structure in the Magical training of the initiate that, in my experience, is superior to the old structure of training. On the level of Adeptus Major, which also breaks up into Sub-Grades, we amongst else train our initiates in magical evocation, i.e. the much misunderstood but highly imperative workings with the averse forces. These averse forces are of course the repressed “demons” or complexes of the unconscious of the initiate. If successful, this naturally transforms the initiate into an Exempt Adept, free from his own irrational and infantile desires.
This clearly follows the Abramelin formula as described in the old and venerable grimoire called The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the reformers of 1888. The six months preparation as described in the second book corresponds to the Elemental Grades and Portal. The convocation of the good spirits corresponds with the Adeptus Minor Grade, which of course should result in the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, while the conjuration of the Evil Spirits is corresponding with the Adeptus Major Grade.
Q: Could you give us a more detailed description of how the Grade work and practical magic has been implemented since the Reformation?
A: I cannot divulge anything more about how the curriculum and Grade work has been implemented in the Inner Order of the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis®, but I can say something more about the work and study being done in the Outer Order of the G∴D∴ according to the so called “Elemental Grades”. This structure is quite simple and is as follows:
Zelator 1°=10°, corresponds to the Sephira Malkuth on the Tree of Life, the Element of Earth and the plane of the Elements. The initiate thus learns to invoke and banish the Element of Earth, and the so called Earth Triplicity of the Zodiac, i.e. Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo. As this Grade relates to the plane of the Elements the initiate learns meditative techniques, which involves relaxation and awareness of the physical body.
Theoricus 2°=9°, corresponds to the Sephira Yesod, the Element of Air and the Planet of Luna. The initiate therefore learns to invoke and banish the Element of Air, and the Air Triplicity of the Zodiac, i.e. Libra, Aquarius and Gemini. The initiate is also required to work magically with the Planets of Luna and Saturn. As this Grade introduces the initiate to the astral plane he or she learns techniques of astral projection and the formulation of the astral “body of light”. This Grade also involves breathing exercises and mind awareness meditation.
Practicus 3°=8°, corresponds to the Sephira Hod, the Element of Water and the Planet of Mercury. The initiate then learns to invoke and banish the Element of Water, and the Water Triplicity of the Zodiac, i.e. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The initiate is also required to work magically with the Planets of Mercury and Jupiter. Because of the mercurial nature of this Grade the initiate learns different techniques of meditation, concentration and the training of will. This Grade also introduces the initiate to the arts of divination, through the special method called “geomancy”.
Philosophus 4°=7°, corresponds to the Sephira Nezach, the Element of Fire and the Planet of Venus. The initiate obviously learns to invoke and banish the Element of Fire, and the Fire Triplicity of the Zodiac, i.e. Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. The initiate is also required to work magically with the Planets of Venus and Mars. Because of the venusian and fiery nature of this Grade the initiate also learns to practice the art of devotion of the deity. He or she works further with divination based on the Tarot and Astrology (i.e. making horoscopes). This Grade also introduces the initiate to the art of exorcism and thaumaturgy.
Portal (Senior Philosophus), corresponds to the Veil of Paroketh, the Element of Spirit (or Quintessence) and the Planet of Sol. In a likewise manner the initiate learns to invoke and banish the Element of Spirit, and all of the Four Elements in union and synthesis. When it comes to astrological magic the initiate learns to invoke all of the 12 Zodiacal Signs together in a balanced disposition, and also the Planet of Sol (which actually involves the invocation of the previous Six Planets). Thus the initiate on this level strives through his theurgical work to reunite the differentiated forces of the Elements, Planets and Zodiac into a coherent whole.
Neophyte Adeptus Minor 5°=6°, corresponds to Tiphareth, the Element of Spirit and the Planet of Sol. Here the process of integration of the Planetary Forces are taken a step further through the medium of the Vault of the Adepti and the prescribed rituals workings attached to this Tomb of C.R.C.
One also has to take into consideration that the initiate not only learns to invoke and banish, but also to skry into the corresponding plane of that force and also to use the invoked force in consecration of physical objects. Scrying involves the use of ritual, symbol and imagination to make an inner contact with the invoked force through clairvoyance.
Consecration of objects involves the creation and magical charging of ritual tools. Thus the Outer Order initiate is required to create a set of three magical wands, each consecrated to the hierarchy (Elements, Planets or Zodiac) to be later used when invoking a force. The initiate also creates symbols in the Golden Dawn Tradition referred to as “flashing tablets” which basically is a species of talismans painted in the appropriate colours and symbols. This creation and consecration of magical implements are brought to its peak at the level of N.A.M. of the 5°=6° Grade.
Q: This seems to be a quite structured framework of teaching and working. But also a bit rigid in my opinion. Even when being compared to the old Z.A.M. and Th.A.M. examinations of the R.R. et A.C.
A: This is an important point which I’m glad that you brough up. The curriculum in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® is not set in stone, as in non-variable. The tutor-student relationship is paramount in our teaching system. Whatever a student does and whenever he or she does it when it comes to actual work is someting between these two persons, and nobody other’s business. It is the tutor who finally decides if someone is eligible for advancement. And no student is alike. Therefore there of course is head room for changes and alterations of curriculum if it is juged and agreed upon that the student would benefit from it. The curriculum as presented here is a general guidline which has proven to be opitimal for most students. It is also a minimal requirenment what a student must master in our Order in the normal case scenario. But the tutor has the final word when it comes to the exact requirements.
Q: The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® professes to teach the Science of Hermes, i.e. about Alchemy. In what way has that been implemented since 1999?
A: The initiate is introduced to some very basic spagyrical or alchemical operations already in the senior Grades of the Outer Order. As an Adeptus Minor 5°=6° he or she works with the Lesser Work or the Circulatum Minor, the production of the Plant Stone. In the Adeptus Major 6°=5° Grade the work concerns with the Great Work, or Ciruculatum Major, according to the Dry Way of the Black Dragon. In the Adeptus Exemptus 7°=4° Grade the work mainly deals with the Great Work according to the Wet Way of the Red Dragon.
Internal Alchemy, the true jewel and capstone of the old continental Rosicrucian tradition, is the subject of the three Magisteria of the Magister Templi 8°=3°, Magus 9°=2° and Ipsissimus 10°=1° Grades. But minor and basic aspect of Internal Alchemy of a preparatory nature are already implemented in the sub-grades of the Adeptus Minor 5°=6°. The first proper introduction to Internal Alchemy, which echoes that which is later practiced in the Third Order, is made at the level of the Adeptus Major 7°=4° Grade.
Q: What in your opinion has been accomplished with the Reformation of 1999?
A: In my own personal experience and that of my students, I know the difference between how it was used to be and how it is now after 1999. As I said, the Outer Order process is now greatly enhanced, but at the same time “weeds out” the unprepared. Granted, the initiatic process is much more testing and tries the candidate to a greater extent, but that is for the good in my opinion.
Some leave because they cannot handle the forces, i.e. out of spiritual immaturity. Others leave because of the time consuming required work and study, i.e. out of laziness. The rest are much more tempered and prepared for the Greater Initiation of the Adeptus Minor.
Considering the advanced workings of the reformed Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis® this magical and alchemical preparation in the Outer Order is both required and needed. So the reformed curriculum is certainly not for anyone interested in the G∴D∴; it is not for the armchair occultist. As a matter of fact, it requires perseverance, courage, determination, maturity, seriousity and sincerity. Following the required work, it is extremely difficult to advance just by chance or outer appearance, and intellectual capacity alone.
Q: This magical training as proposed by the Reformation seems to be, in my opinion, way to advanced for most Outer Order members. It seems a bit hazardous, don’t you think, to expose a beginner initiate to this kind of magical work?
A: I wouldn’t say that it is more dangerous to be an initiate today after the Reformation. But it is definitely more difficult, and creates lots of stress in the life of the initiate. However he or she is protected by the egregore and current of the Temple and Order.
It has always been the fact, both before and after the 1999 reformation, that the initiate is introduced to the forces of the Grade (which is a blend or amalgamation of Elemental, Planetary, Zodiacal and Sephirotic currents) through ritual of initiaton by the medium of the Hierophant and the Temple. The Grade Rituals serves to be a species of catalyst which awakens the corresponding forces within the Sphere or Aura of the initiate. This fact makes him or her able to work with these forces and transform him- or herself through their agent, which is always linked to the currents invoked prior in the Grade Initiation Ritual.
Furthermore, the initiate is under strict supervision of his or her tutor or mentor, which is a must with this kind of advanced curriculum. Any signs of unwanted effects are easily spotted; the initiatic process is properly adjusted, checked, suspended or discontinued. My experience is that the initiate, either him- or herself intuitively or by necessity, knows when the obstacle is to great, be it the sheer workload or spiritual unpreparedness.
Knowing that the initiatic process of the Golden Dawn in itself is quite intense, if one is dedicated to the path, it is even more so and greatly enhanced now since 1999. The archetypal synchronistic events are even more emphasized. Each initiation (or advancement) is a species of a deliberate crisis for the initiate; it may bring forth spiritual development or regression. Even more so now. But as I said, the mere structure of the work, together with close tutorship, the Grade rites and the protective egregore, makes this a great opportunity for the sincere student.
Q:* But if I may contribute to this discussion, there is another dimension to all of this. I believe that placing Inner Order teachings into the Outer Order may perhaps involve a misunderstanding of the actual processes involved and there is much more possible in the Outer Order than an intellectual foundation.
The Outer Order process is greatly facilitated by introducing a sequence of symbols to the Initiate in a precise predetermined order. It is very important that the Initiate complete the Outer Order process in the prescribed manner before being introduced to the symbol system of the traditional Inner Order. Otherwise, the intended process is difficult to unfold in the consciousness of the Initiate. Why do you think the Zelator was pledged to never reveal anything regarding the grade to a Neophyte, Theoricus to Zelator, etc. and most importantly between the Outer and Inner Orders?
What you have done, at least in part, is like putting the last chapter of a Mystery Novel in the front of the book somewhat spoiling the ending for those who don’t want to know before hand. So are you not aware that by moving published Inner Order material into the Outer Order, you are impacting the process that was designed to occur and instead actually moving right into some of the fundamental Work that was designed to occur in the Inner Order?
A: It is my firm conviction, based upon my own experience and that of mentoring initiates through all of the Grades, that working with traditional techniques that once were solely reserved for Adepts already in the Outer Order doesn’t spoil anything for the candidate; it enhances the initiatory process. Believe me it does. The initiations give the proper incitement for your own work with the forces corresponding to the Grade. The initiate actually takes off from where the initiation ritual started. After the Reformation the initiate can take full advantage of his or her initiation or advancement ceremony.
Thus, this use of traditional Inner Order techniques doesn’t stand in any contradiction to what the initiation and advancement ceremonies of the Outer Order actually present. On the contrary it makes it even more logical. There has of course occurred some inconsistencies but these have been dealt with in a most satisfactory manner. The final result is a much more enhanced and substantially more comprehensive Outer Order.
Moreover, since the 1999 reformation it is a necessary prerequisite to know and understand basic techniques for invocation and banishing of Elemental, Planetary and Zodiacal forces, to be able to fully take advantage of the even more advanced training of today’s reformed Ordeo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis®. One has to remember that not only has the Outer Order gone through a reformation but even more so the Inner Order.
Basically the fundamental structure of the Outer Order is still the same. More has been added to it in the way of theory and practice to enhance both the education and the training of the magician. But the Inner Order is fundamentally changed since the Reformation. This however doesn’t mean that one stop performing traditional Inner Order magical operations. They are still there, but the ones of a more basic level has been properly placed into the Outer so that the Adept can focus on more advanced and detailed work in the Inner.
So in my opinion the magical formulae in the Outer Order after the Reformation mainly consist of very fundamental and basic theurgy, i.e. the invocation of primary forces belonging to the hierarchies of the Five Elements, Seven Planets and 12 Zodiacal Signs. This is not advanced magic at all; this is fundamental magic which properly belongs to the Outer Order. Inner Order workings should be reserved for more complex and detail formulae, such as invocation and scrying into very specified planes of existance belonging to sub-forces, etc.
This means that since the Reformation the magical workings of the Outer Order are interlinked to the workings in the Inner Order; the first naturally progresses into the second. But besides this further and thorough use of traditional Golden Dawn Theurgy, the Inner Order practical workings involves traditional theurgical formulas which precedes the particular Golden Dawn tradition, alchemical processes and energetic manipulation of the subtle body which prepares the Adept for the advanced inner alchemical work of the Third Order.
When Golden Dawn was first created in 1888 nobody in the H∴O∴G∴D∴ had any direct contact with any Third Order. And when MacGregor Mathers eventually made this personal contact in 1892, even he only received portions of it. Now when the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® finally has received this in full, suddenly the whole initiatic system comes into new light. When you build new levels or stores into your house, you have to make sure that the foundation can hold this new weight, and if it doesn’t you must build a new foundation or at least enhance it. That’s what we have been doing following the 1999 General Reformation. Change one level and you must rearrange the whole system.
So today our Order has the unique advantage of being able to perceive the whole Inner (Second) and Outer (First) Order system from the viewpoint of the Third Order. So please understand and also respect that we percieve things a little bit differently in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® compared to other Orders.
Q:* I do respect that G.H. Frater L.E.S. has received some additional knowledge that he believes is from a 3rd Order member, etc. and that from this knowledge the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® believes it should change the first two Order structure.
But even if it all may sound nice at face value, I cannot help asking myself if it all doesn’t boil down to the fact that what you have done with your Reformation is that you have moved what have been traditional Second Order symbols and rituals into the Outer Order curriculum only because of the publication by Regardie, etc.?
I do understand the impact of the publication, etc. but surely very few Neophytes have extensively studied such a complex system before their Initiation to significantly impact their experience and the impact of the actual Ritual performed by trained officers will have their effectiveness.
A: About the changes we have been forced to do, yes I confess that they were made out of necessity. Each 111-year cycle requires a general reformation of the Order and of the tradition. Why? Times changes. People also. The Order must change with the times to be able to accommodate the students of today.
Look for example between the 1777 (Gold- und Rosenkreutz) and 1888 (Golden Dawn) reformations. In the Gold- und Rosenkretuz Orden theurgy were only taught in its highest degree, that of Magus. Before you were considered to be fit to wield the magical forces you had to produce the Philosophers Stone in the Alchemical laboratory. Golden Dawn changed all that 111 years later. They moved theurgy from the Third Order (Magus) into the Second. Why? Everybody was reading Eliphas Levi and Francis Barrett, et al. The times had changed and Victorian students expected to learn magic on an earlier level than ever before.
Besides this, alchemy was considered a spurious “science” at best, charlatanism at worst. It was taken away and replaced with conceptions of a “spiritual alchemy”, a tradition that at least in part is still propagated in the Paul Foster Case lineage. Suddenly everything, even theurgy was considered to be part of the Great Work. Later S.L. MacGregor Mathers received alchemical transmissions from the continental Adepts known as “The Third Order”, but this material was reserved for the highest grade of adepthood, and no mention of it was ever made (remember the P.F. Case and Moina Mathers affair?). Why? His transmissions were of the Internal Alchemical tradition, i.e. sexual in nature. During Victorian times this was a hot potato, to say the very least. So the 1888 (and the 1893) reformations turned everything upside down; therugy was now taught before alchemy, which became the capstone of the system.
The 1999 General Reformation follows this same spirit. It has forced the tradition to adapt to modern times. Many interested in occultism knows, at least in theory, how to perform a full pentagram or hexagram ritual. Almost everyone has seen the Pentagram and Hexagram printed with full correspondences when reading books which means they already have been exposed to these symbols. The most logical step is to present a new teaching curriculum that takes this fact into account. That’s the raison d’être of a General Reformation.
So here we are at the present state of affairs. Because of the wide distribution today of books by prominent authors the Golden Dawn Tradition of the R.R. et A.C. is now public domain. If you enter schools like B.O.T.A. (Builders of the Adytum – P.F. Case’s spin-off Golden Dawn-style Order) and O.T.O. you at a very early stage of your studies encounter symbol systems traditionally reserved only for Adepti of the R.R. et A.C. according to the 1888 reformation. Should today’s Golden Dawn present anything less?
The modern day Golden Dawn Order must stand prepared to accommodate modern students of the mysteries, which are much more prepared compared to Neophytes of old, thanks to writings of Regardie, Crowley, Fortune and Case. Actually modern students of today expect and deserves a much more thorough magical education and training in the Outer Order.
Q:* By properly administering the Outer Order process, I adamantly disagree the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn would be administering anything less, on the contrary, it would be providing something very few Orders actual do…
Regarding O.T.O., they are not nor do they claim to be working the G∴D∴ system. They are more of a Thelemic Freemasonry group and do not have much if anything to do with the Golden Dawn though I suspect through the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light one could trace some common ancestry.
Regarding the B.O.T.A. they do not introduce Inner Order Ritual Work or Symbols in the Outer Order. Paul Case did, via his lesson material, provide some of the key Zelator and Theoricus Adeptus Minor Inner Order methods, i.e. coloring a Tarot Deck, Skrying with Tattwas, building a body of light, sound and color, etc. but this was not designed to be a Outer Order process and if used in conjuction with such would not interupt it by the careful selection of the material used.
A: In the B.O.T.A. you basically learn the Minutum Mundum diagram as a Associate Builder, complete with the correct correspondences including the relation between sound and colour, which was 5°=6° arcana years before Case became a member of the Rosicrucian Order of the A.O., and that even before entering Chapter work (i.e. Temple work). The Minutum Mundum is one of the central symbols in the 5°=6° ritual, perhaps the most significant symbol in the classical Golden Dawn, not revealed in the 1888 reformation until properly attaining the 5°=6°. I would say that this constitutes an unorthodox way to do things, wouldn’t you agree?
Regarding O.T.O. members are encouraged to read Crowley’s works, including the periodical organ The Equinox. They even have continued to print new editions and contemporary issues. There’s lots of 5°=6° symbolism in the Equinox journal. It also is quite common to see O.T.O. members seek initiation into a Golden Dawn Order.
Q:* As I stated previously, there are no symbols or rituals that are provided in the Associate Curriculum or Outer Order System of B.O.T.A. that would disturb the Outer Order Process. There is material in the correspondence course that is/was part of the traditional Zelator and Theoricus Adeptus Minor curriculum but has been careful selected to not interfere with the process.
Yes, times do change and so do Orders, etc. but if one is going to actually administer the Outer Order Process, and you are aware of how this process unfolds, then one cannot simply place Pentagram and Hexagram Rituals in the Outer Order.
But doing so doesn’t mean the rest of your Order is completely damaged and you cannot be functional, it just means the Outer Order Process as it was designed to Work will be significantly impacted and instead you are in affect providing the Intellectual Foundation in the Outer Order and moving the actual Work of the Inner Order into the Outer.
A: Yes, you are quite correct. Today we don’t follow the original intention of the Outer Order, but that’s the point. The Outer Order has received a new and more important role as a preparatory vehicle for the reformed Inner Order. That doesn’t mean that the initiatory rituals and the unfolding process have been severed (as I suspect you imply with your word “impacted”), on the contrary it has been greatly enhanced.
I have had the opportunity to see the initiatory process first hand and how it unfolds both before and after the reformation, before as an initiate and Hierophant and after as a Hierophant. The process was very alive and vivid by it self prior to 1999 just by providing initiations, but I have seen the process being enhanced and even more aligned according to the archetypal forces of the Grades in my own students after the reformation. I cannot see that the initiatory process of the Outer Order has been changed in tone or content in any way, or that it is hampered or in any way disturbed by performing corresponding pentagram and hexagram invocations. All that I have been able to observe is that it has become even more profound than ever before. Others maybe would call it more intense...
Furthermore, regarding the Greater and Supreme Pentagram Rituals used in the training of the Outer Order initiate. These rituals are in fact used in the corresponding initiation rituals. The Outer Order members have been exposed to these since the 1888 reformation, both in attendance of the said rituals and also intellectually as these were plainly shown printed in the loan copies of the corresponding documents, with attached instructions of how to trace them. This is a good exemple of how the 1999 reformation has enhanced symbols and formula already present in the Outer Order. What has been added to the magical fauna in the Outer Order since 1999 is the introduction of the equally advanced Greater Hexagram Rituals. We have choosed to do this to further enhance the initiatory process to also involve Astrological Magic, not mere Elemental.
Yes, I do understand that the process was supposed to be more gentle and subtle in its unfoldment, compared to today, but as I said before, things has changed during last Century and the initiate today stands more prepared to receive the impact of initiation as it is today in our Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®. Besides this, our egregore is greatly enhanced by its contact with the Third Order and this provides additional protection for its initiates. This has to be taken into account and not be underestimated.
Q:* No, I was not suggesting that you have severed the Outer Order process, only that you are not working the Outer Order Process as it was intended. The Outer Order process is facilitated by placing certain Symbols into the consciousness of the Candidate in a predetermined manner at precise intervals in the process. The unfolding of these symbols in the consciousness takes time and if symbols are utilized out of Order this interrupts and lessens the impact when key Inner Order symbols are later presented at the appropriate time having a profound effect on the Candidate.
It has nothing to do with this process being gentler, it has to do with how the system works. Basically what G.H. Frater L.E.S. has done is something similar to what Crowley did with the A∴A∴ – Crowley did away with the Elemental Rituals completely – G.H. Frater L.E.S. has chosen to begin the Magical Work using Inner Order symbols and rituals in the Outer Order foregoing the Outer Order process and using the Elemental Rituals as intellectual training.
A: Well, it’s true that the Reformation has changed the intention of the Outer Order somewhat. But this doesn’t mean that we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. The truth in this matter is that the changes actually made has been the least “severe” in the Outer as compared to the Inner, not to say the Third Order.
The Outer Order rituals are still there, more or less compareble to the ones in published works, and they still present symbols that are impregnated into the Aura of the candidate. These symbols are then being enhanced and worked upon through the personal Grade work as presented in the Reformed curriculum and training, using magical formulae formerly used in the Inner Order pre reformatio, such as the pentagram and hexagram rituals. In our opinion this process of unfoldment necessarily must have a personal level attached to it as well as a group ritual level. The one does not exclude the other.
Furthermore we also believe that the modern candidate is prepared to meet certain symbols earlier now than was the case some 120 years ago. I must repeat and stress the undeniable fact that the material prima of the candidate has evolved during this time interval that necessitates that the initiatory process likewise must adapt and evolve accordingly.
But I feel that we have reached a point where we won’t shed any more light on this matter without further polemicising and comparing contrasting opinions. Let’s just finally agree to disagree.
Q: Fair enough. Is there anything more that you would like to say before we end this debate?
A: Nothing else but simply stating that it’s up to my readers now to judge for themselves if all this is mere rationalization concocted up in my own mind, or if my words bear the mark of someone with experience.
Please also bear in mind that I don’t regard the pre-1999 reformation curriculum to be without merit. It still has an extremely great spiritual potential to bring the initiate to his or her own Godhood. I even wouldn’t dare to call the structure of curriculum that I profess to be superior, even if it is enhanced, to the one the majority of Golden Dawn initiates are used to. Please continue to follow it. I encourage you to.
This is not about an “old vs. new aeon” thing. Not an all. It is just the simple fact that we prefer to do it a bit differently as compared to how the majority of the Golden Dawn community are used do it, and that we regard ourselves to be in a legitimate position to make these changes. Still there are lots of points left that we share in common. We are basically working in the same Tradition. Again, let’s look for the similarities instead of the differences between us.
Since writing this blog yours truly is no longer affiliated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega® (H.O.G.D./A+O®). However, my general view on this subject stays firmly unchanged, as expressed in the above written text, and what I have authored previously on the Gyllene Gryningen blog still represents my overall opinion. Any practices referred to in reference to the H.O.G.D./A+O®, including the General Reformation anno 1999 and the Minor Reformation of 2010 as implemented in the Scandinavian Jurisdiction, also apply to the Order that I am currently affiliated with, namely the Hermetiska Orden av Den Gryende Morgonrodnaden (“Hermetic Order of the Nascent Aurora”) or H∴O∴G∴M+R.