A COUPLE OF DAYS ago there were a discussion on a reconstructionist yahoo-forum, attacking the position of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® that the A∴O∴ 6°=5° ritual recently profaned in a book on the so-called “Westcott Tablets” (although it had absolutely no relevance to the subject matter of the book) is only the 4th part of a larger ritual. The evidence that the Alpha et Omega® put forward is that on the frontispiece of that manuscript there was a large number “4” besides the words “G.D. 6=5”. (See image at the heather taken from a copy regularily received from the original source and owner of that document.)
Pat Zalewski and Sam Scarborough refutes this position saying that the published version in the said book was the complete one. The proof is that G.H. Fra. F.F.J. (Dr. Carnegie Dickson) wrote a “lengthy” introduction to the document, which is seen as unorthodox thing to do if it is supposed to be the 4th part of a larger ritual. They also assert that it is even more unorthodox to let the candidate go through the “rituals” of the 22nd and 23rd paths in a 4th and last segment of the ritual together with the “ritual” of the 6°=5°. They also point out that the number “4” actually is a reference to the document being the 4th copy, and that it was common practice to apply this enumeration system to a set of several loan copies used for circulation and personal copying in the G∴D∴ and S∴M∴. The published part of the 6°=5° ritual has also been compared to the original G∴D∴ and A∴O∴ Portal Ceremony and that they seem to be very similar in function. Thus it has been suggested that they possibly had the same author and were written during the same time period (i.e. prior to the 1900-schism).
Together with Nick Farrell they assert that everything that has been published during the last year or so is the sum total of the G∴D∴ and A∴O∴ (together with all of the previously published material) and that it proves that the position of the Alpha et Omega® in this matter is utterly false. Is it? I beg to differ. What has happended during these recent events is rather that these reconstructionist leaders of the Order of the Golden Dawn (Pat Zalewski), Ordo Stella Matutina (Sam Scarborough) and the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea (Nick Farrell) are simply being aggravated that the Alpha et Omega® has called their bluff about the "secret" and "lost" A∴O∴ 6°=5° ritual to actually be the 4th and final part of it.
Let us take their arguments apart one by one, and (with the exception of my last point) refrain from using anything else but the published material as evidence (which is the only one that the reconstructionists acknowlege):
1. That F.F.J. (Carnegie Dickson) has written an introduction to the 4th Part is not at all solid evidence that it is the full ritual. The possibility cannot, in all academic and scientific fairness, be excluded that F.F.J. actually wrote an introduction to each of the 4 parts of the 6°=5° ritual. We do know from other A∴O∴ documents, bearing his official approval, that he had that quirk of appending lots of comments to the original texts. Besides, it is obvious, in reading his published introduction that it only addresses the contents of the 4th part and its task of conferring signs belonging to the two paths leading to Geburah and the sephirah Geburah itself. It doesn’t present itself to be an analysis of the entire 6°=5° initiation ceremony.
2. That the big number “4” on the cover denotes “Copy No. 4” is a long stretch in my opinion. It’s true that the loan copies in the orignal G∴D∴ had numbers relating to each of the copies, but standard protocol was also to write the words “loan copy” or “official loan copy No. x” etc. So, would that part of the 6°=5° ritual actually had been the entire ritual the attached number “4” would most probably have been preceded by these very same words and thus been spelled in full as the “Loan copy No. 4”.
|A close-up of a original G∴D∴ circulation loan copy|
3. If the number “4” actually had been a reference to the 4th loan copy it must have meant that it was at least 4 copies that were circulated amongst the membership. What in particular speaks against the number “4” as being a reference to a “loan copy”, regularly being handed out to the newly admitted Adepti Majori, is that on the title page it actually says with heavy underlining: “(Not to be copied)”. To be initiated into the 6°=5° was a true privilege then as it is now. While the 5°=6° was used regularly each year to initiate members into adepthood an masse, the actual number to receive the 6°=5° were very rare indeed and few in between, perhaps performed once with one candidate every decade or so. Would it then had required at least a total of 4 loan copies or more to be circulated, if there were so few candidates for advancement to the 6°=5° or almost none? No, of course not. My theory is that it only existed one copy and that it was presented to be studied by the initiate under strict supervision and with severe prohibition to copy anything from it, as it is done in Freemasonry (at least in my local lodge).
4. That paths (and adjacent tarot cards, etc) are mentioned in the last part of the ritual may seem odd at first, but if you understand what that ritual is supposed to deliver magically, you also understand that it would feel most logical and workable to put all “intellectual information” last, which also was the protocol of most G∴D∴ and freemasonic style rituals. That is, it is protocol to put the intellectual and instructional segment, and the conference of grade signs, etc., at the last part of the initiation ritual also in the Outer Order Grade rituals. As the 4th part of the 6°=5° ritual is structured, it is not concerned with an actual ritual of advancement through these paths but simply constitutes a transmission of secret instructions concerning them. The actual ritual initiations would have been done in the previous parts of the ritual.
Now, my gentle reader, let me present to you my own arguments why it is futile or baroque even to believe the 4th part to be the entire ritual of the 6°=5°:
1. The title is the most revealing. It has an overall or general title and a sub-title. The general title is: “Ritual of the 6°=5° Grade of Geburah”. The subtitle is: “The Book of the Conference of Signs in the Grade of Adeptus Major”. Notice especially that the sub-title says “Conference of Signs in the Grade of...” This to me is a clear reference that it is that part of the ritual which deals with the grade signs only. Thus the general title puts the document in its proper context as a part of the 6°=5° initiation ceremony, while the sub-title denotes the actual title of the 4th part.
2. The lack of an opening and closing is an even more strong case aginst it being the sum total of the 6°=5° ritual. In all the previous rituals, even in the origial G∴D∴ and A∴O∴ Portal ritual (which the reconstructionists seem to believe the 6°=5° ritual was modelled upon) has a formal opening and closing. This is the standard protocol in all freemasonic bodies, and also the G∴D∴. The Grade of 6°=5° simply cannot be conferred without it.
3. And this is the most important (and the least likely to be accepted by the reconstructionists). The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega® knows for sure that MacGregor Mathers was in true communication with physical Secret Chiefs of the Third Order, who gave him the secret significance of the R.R. et R.C. initiation rituals. The magical task of the 6°=5° is substantial (that of alchemical separation between the Body and the Soul of the subject matter). The 4th part lacks all of that magical formula; it is simply the traditional masonic style instruction on the mysteries of the Paths and the Sephirah in question thrown into the end of the ritual, as with any of the Outer Order grade rituals. It is as we were trying to analyse the ritual of the 3°=8° without having access to the rituals of the 30th and 31st Paths; we would miss the majority of the magical content and ritual drama and therefore miss the entire purpose of it. Thus it is impossible that a 6°=5° ritual written by MacGregor Mathers, under the guidance of the Secret Chiefs, could had only amounted to this small rite, with no opening and closing and without any actual initiatory formula preceding these intructions.
Knowing what we in the Alpha et Omega® know about MacGregor Mathers initiations and the Secret Chiefs who initiated him, this is highly unthinkable and nigh impossible even what the reconstructionists propose. Being in communication today with that same source which provided MacGregor Mathers with the magical formulae of the 5°=6°, 6°=5° and 7°=4° Grades, we know that there were other parts to that ritual, parts that we today possess thank’s to the benign guidance of the Third Order.
But also without any references to the 3rd and last point of my argument, it stands clear, considering the factual evidence we all may study in that book which has profaned the 4th part of the 6°=5° ritual, that it is the least likely that in what has been published we see the entire ritual. Based upon that same source evidence that they themselves draw their own reconstructionist conclusions from, I have presented arguments which proves that it must have been simply the last part of a much longer and more magically substantial initiation ceremony. The only reason that the reconstructionists chooses to see it from their perspective, is twofold: (a) they lack any initiatic understanding of this exalted grade and the author behind the source text, and (b) because of that they have a political agenda of destroying the reputation of anyone, both in the past and in the present, who claims such a communication with the Third Order.
Furthermore, presenting the supposed A∴O∴ 6°=5° ritual in only that narrow format it provides the reonstructionists with “evidence” that MacGregor Mathers took his A∴O∴ into a “Masonic direction”, i.e. that it went in the opposite direction compared to the S∴M∴ who developed the G∴D∴ into a “truly magical tradition”. Thus it backs up the not so hidden political agenda of Nick Farrel’s Mathers’ Last Secret and King over the Water (the latter which I am soon about to review here on my blog). What we see here is yet another evidence of historical and scholarly considerations being sacrificed upon the altar of order politics.
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.