I have chosen to quote Mr. Zalewski in full so that the gentle reader may be aware of his usual rhetoric style, which is bullying to say the least. Although he presents some arguments against the actual thesis that I have proposed in this matter in my previous blog entitled Proof that the profaned A∴O∴ 6°=5° ritual was only the 4th part of a larger initiation ceremony, he resorts to the usual character assassination style which seems to be in vogue today. After some consideration, and the fact that his arguments and rhetoric is accessible on the blogosphere, I have decided to comment on them here.
I have taken the liberty to re-edit Mr. Zalewski’s comment and to arrange it according to his different counter arguments, as he repeats himself in the original text. Regarding my thesis that the published version lacks any formal Opening and Closing, Mr. Zalewski has this to say:
One glaring example of Stacewicz at his historical best is his analysis, which is part of every historians stock and trade. The Golden Dawn 6=5 ritual, later used in the AO and Bristol temple of the SM in the 1950’s, essentially has a beginning , middle and end to it as one would expect from any ritual. Unfortunately it is extremely cramped but still contains all the elements or basic structure of a full ritual.I still fail to see any “opening” and “closing” in that published text. There simply is none, only something that resembles an introduction as part of a longer speach, which isn’t an uncommon feature at all in ceremonies of this kind. Anyone with access to this ritual, looking in that book which profaned it, will be able to see for himself or herself what I mean. Even Mr. Zalewski himself agrees to call it an “introduction”, saying:
The initial speech of the Conferring Adept is a summary of the 6=5 and is an introduction, through cramped, but still an introduction why would it be included as a fourth part?Why not? Like I said, it was common to make an introduction of some sorts, like a summary almost of the path that leads from an earlier Grade and Path to that of Geburah and the 6°=5° Grade, also in the Outer Order ceremonies when the candidate enters the last part of a particular Grade. I cannot see that this introductional speech should in any way be considered to be an equivalent of a formal Opening of the 6°=5° Grade. Besides, I am not the only one who has interpreted the published text as an extraction of a greater ritual. As an example Alex Sumner seems to back up my analysis in this respect when he says:
...the version published is not a real ritual. It does not have an opening or closing, nor does it have any drama in it. It consists of one chief officer, the “Conferring Adept,” teaching the signs and words of the grade to the Aspirant, who is prompted throughout the ceremony by a conductor. The explanation of the Tarot cards is brief. If anything, it is more of a fragment of a ritual - perhaps part of something that remains unpublished, or a work-in-progress. (Mr. Sumner's own emphasis)Mr. Sumner is a quite renowned author on the occult in general and the Golden Dawn in particular. To me it seems that he is an independent and serious researcher, i.e. not prompted by any overly political agenda to uphold the anti- A∴O∴ paradigm so typical of the counter-traditionalist camp. I wonder, does the same verdict regarding my lacking analytical ability apply to him as well? Mr. Zalewski continues:
Aside from this, the notes prefacing the ritual clearly maintain that the history of this ritual in its complete form. Another version exists in the handwriting of Westcott and is identical in ritual content.Actually, there exists a handwritten version of the same (portion) of that text, as is said in the mentioned prefacing note, but is is not in Westcott’s handwriting but in J. W. Brodie-Innes’ or Sub Spe’s handwriting, which doesn’t even resemble Westcott’s.
The problem with the claims of this being a partial AO ritual is the preface by Carnegi [sic] Dickson (F.F.J) which clearly states the full contents of the 6=5 and structural integrity of the ritual itself.I agree that the commentary of G.H. Fra. F.F.J. (Dr. Carnegie Dickson) makes a valid case against my thesis, i.e. that the original version of MacGregor Mathers’ 6°=5° Ceremony was much longer. But does it really disprove it? I can see at least three other alternatives, that (a) F.F.J. made several commentaries, one for each part that entirely focuses on that part, and (b) that the later A∴O∴ under Carnegie Dickson somehow had lost the other parts, and finally that (c) the other parts of the A∴O∴ 6°=5° were lost sometimes after the closure of the Hermes Temple in Bristol (the last Temple who performed the A∴O∴ 6°=5°).
Reading Carnegie Dickson’s commentary, I fail to see that he in any way makes any allusions that this is the only part, at least directly. I interpret Mr. Zalewski drawing such a conclusion from a supposed indirect reference, that because Carnegie Dickson only mentions the contents of the published part there cannot be anything else. In my opinion, that is not a optimal way to analyze history. As a researcher one has to be open to multiple interpretations. I agree that it may be interpreted that only this part of the Ceremony exists, but I also offer alternative possibilities.
However the content of the ritual is clearly an embarrassment to anyone claiming AO lineage due to its brevity, lack of detail, balance and absence of insightfulness, especially when contrasting it with the 5=6 ritual.
The question then arises of what to do to avoid embarrassment with this ritual once published, especially when claims of higher AO teachings from a supposed Third Order are being received are plastered all over the internet. The answer is simple enough, claim it was the fourth part of a larger ritual of the AO since the number was on the cover. Once this backed up by claims of having seen the full 6=5 ritual (and the inference of going through it) then it is done and dusted and the embarrassment is postponed, or is it?It is because I have some insight into what the Third Order teaches about the 6°=5° and 7°=4°, and being informed that MacGregor Mathers also had access to these teachings, that I am able to make my analysis. Thus, my analysis is not simply a scholarly opinion, if you follow the standard academic criteria, but an opinion which more than this is based on my knowledge and experience as an initiate. This knowledge and experience makes me aware that the so-called “A∴O∴ 6°=5°” (as published) cannot do the work and that it simply had to be the last part of a greater Ceremony. That it is the last part is an assumption that I base on its contents, following the general structure of the Outer Order ceremonies. My previous blog on this subject was not a “academic paper” or anything of that sort; it is simply me sharing my opinions based on my experience as a initiate in an Order which is under the guidance of that same Third Order which helped MacGregor Mathers develop the Second or Inner Order.
You may or may not accept or agree with that premise. That is your own choice. I respect that, especially if you are outside the pale of that Third Order guidance. But these educated opinions should be able to be said out in the open without fear of being character assassinated. Anyone having the need to kill the messenger, such as me, clearly has an agenda to do that, which is beyond purely scholarly considerations. I choose to identify that agenda as a counter-traditional fear of the existence or potential existence of a still living Tradition under the aegis of a Third Order organized and structured under fraternal patterns, which entails the possibility of advanced initiates who are willing to transmit that Tradition to a external and visible vehicle, what has been referred to as “Secret Chiefs”. The possible existence of such continental initiates disqualifies the efforts of the counter-traditionalists to reconstruct the Tradition and their Towers of Babel.
The backbone of this ritual is the path analysis as seen through the signs, but also as part of an explanation of the lower grades which leads to the overall conclusion that this ritual was an anticlimax and more ad hoc than anything else due to its summary statis. So in the ritual itself we have a beginning, though brief, the signs and tarot cards of the paths, a summary of the elemental grades through the prism of the signs and names. The final speech of the Conferring Adept gives the grade and its closing. The pattern so far is the same as the outer order without the full opening, additional diagrams contrasting with the tarot nor having Geburah as a separate division. Yet we are informed by Stacewiczs [sic] that this is the fourth part only and any historian with a modicum of ability would question Stacewiczs’ [sic] claim.Like I said, I don’t claim my previous blog post to be a academic historical paper. I don’t mind historians of that type to question it. What makes me surprised (and somewhat worried), however, is that supposed initiates, such as Mr. Zalewski, fails to see that esoteric teachings initiatically conferred which cannot be openly revealed, cannot be open to academic scrutiny. The mistake Mr. Zalewski, and his lot of counter-traditionalists, are doing is to substitute the historian for the initiate. I will first and foremost always be an initiate. If I can provide facts that are historically verifiable, I will do my best to reference them accordingly. But as an initiate I take the liberty to express propositions that are based on such esoteric and unpublished teachings that I am speaking about here, thus naturally disregarding the standard academic rigour of source referencing back to written documents.
Nick Farrel’s observations about the 6=5 and 7=4 rituals as possibly being created primarily as a money making enterprise by Mathers (even if his followers did not consider them so) bear some fruit due to the 6=5 being a terribly written, and by the look of it a hastily constructed ritual. The evidence Nick presents on the 6=5 payment can most likely be extrapolated to the 7=4 as well.The interesting thing is that Mr. Zalewski is always backing up whatever Mr. Farrell claims in his “historical” books, and vice versa. That isn’t such a strange thing considering that they both stem in their lineage from the New Zeeland organization and Whare Ra derivative Order of the Table Round. Thus they share a common bond of fraternity and loyalty. They also share the same agenda, coming from the old rivalry between MacGregor Mathers and R.W. Felkin, between the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega and the Stella Matutina. That agenda, which has a political aim (not occult), wants to discredit everything that MacGregor Mathers did after the schism in 1900 in an effort to elevate the validity of the Stella Matutina. Why? Because they know that the Stella Matutina is a clandestine organization and tradition which broke off from the Golden Dawn to form its own egregore, fully distinct from the Golden Dawn / Alpha Omega ditto. To rationalize and justify such a rebellion and breach of an initiate’s obligation, the Chief rebelled at has to be demonized, psychiatrically diagnosed and made incompetent. In this way they justify that the current of the Golden Dawn actually was lost in the A∴O∴ and transmitted to the Stella Matutina.
It also becomes very clear that Mathers did not originally intend to go past the 5=6 in content and that the GD subgrades were more or less the end of it apart from the 6=5 and 7=4 grade ceremonies. The descriptions of the GD tarot cards in the 6=5 ritual are very generalised ritual would indicate that a full AO deck was never completed, especially when this is combined with the tarot descriptions in the THAM papers. There is no real indication if Mathers wrote AO material for all the 5=6 levels above THAM, though I would suggest Brodie- Innes may have had a go at it. Another area to contrast is the Lockwood’s, who got a 7=4 from Mathers in Paris, yet brought back no additional papers beyond the 5=6 that we know of. There is no evidence that any of their papers above the 5=6 got to the AO temples in the US ,which is most peculiar and tends to lean towards what Nick has outlined.I fully agree with Mr. Zalewski’s analysis regarding MacGregor Mathers never got to finishing the system beyond the sub-grades of the 5°=6°, at least not in written form. There may have been some oral transmission conferred of course. However, counter-traditonalists are generally skeptical of oral transmissions and teachings, as these cannot be verified by scholarly research. So they prefer to disregard or reject any such in the A∴O∴ (such as those that I express) while they acknowledge that these existed at least in the Stella Matutina. The question remains as to what sub-grade MacGregor Mathers wrote up his teachings and instructions. At least Theoricus Adeptus Minor for sure, but I find it as plausible that at least some parts of the Practicus Adeptus Minor were developed before he died in 1918.
It could be argued that when all of this is added to the fact that the Cromlech Temple produced a number of papers that any GD, SM and AO adept would find as advanced teachings, the need for this type of material was fulfilled, especially when Brodie Innes was writing much of the Cromlech papers. It is doubtful that B.I. wrote in parallel for the AO, covering similar material (such as the auric papers and teachings in the polarity of sexuality).Perhaps the Solar Order papers gained importance after the death of MacGregor Mathers, and with not Secret Chiefs to guide the Order, but I really doubt that they were given any prominance during the reign of MacGregor Mathers or even in Moina Mathers London Temple. I guess that the Solar Order was integrated with the Amoun-Ra Temple (of Brodie-Innes) and later the Hermes Temple in Bristol (with the help of Carnegie Dickson).
Stacewiczs [sic] as an historian is an absolute disaster on a number of levels. However the most telling tale of this is his blind acceptance that everything written down about Mathers and Secret Chiefs should be taken at face value. No historian trained academically would do this would do this unless they had the academic equivalent of an historical “brain fart”. There is a lack of questioning of the veracity of such statements by Mathers, and a lack of referencing for some outlandish statements. The first thing one learns as an historian is reductionism in presentation, and over lengthly [sic] diatribes does not show ones historical knowledge, but does indicate a lack analytical ability to focus on the essence of such matters and the inability to communicate ones viewpoint and inevitably to sustain an argument on historical gleanings.Like I said in a previous blog post, it is wholly unrealistic to reference anything about MacGregor Mathers meetings with the Secret Chiefs, as these were obviously secret, unofficial and direct meetings in person. One simply has to accept the fact that some parts, or even major parts, of the proceedings and teachings of an Order cannot be reduced to academic research. It is a totally unlogical request for someone who is an initiate, unlike the academic scholar. Mr. Zalewski should know better than to ask such a thing. If not he should ask himself who he is foremost: an initiate or a academic. In my opinion, one cannot reconcile the former with the latter.
What Mr. Zalewski is calling a “brain fart” in my head I define as initiated knowledge. Like I said, I have no academic scholarly ambitions; I am an initiate, not a historian. Occultists are notorious as historians if you look back in history, starting with the Theosophic Society of H.P. Blavatsky and their ilk. As a rule, occultists don’t follow the standard academic rigor of source referencing and they often blend their own personal opinions with historical facts. A late example of this is Mr. Farrell latest books, Mathers’ Last Secret and King over the Water. And even if they do make some effort to source reference, they usually blend their own knowledge and experience with clean historical evidence. Thus, very few occult books meet the criteria of academic research. My opinion is that there is room for both in the same book; they are needed as two perspectives to approach the esoteric subject. But an esoteric author will never be able to submit his text as a scientific paper if he writes sincerely. Ask yourself, why esotericism has had such a hard time gaining acceptance as a serious academic field of investigation?
Regarding the verbosity of my writing, and the lack of focus, I tend to agree here. Strangely enough, I have had this deficiency since I started on the initiatic path in the early 1990’s. I cannot recall that I used to write long diatribes, or that I wrote much at all, before I started to study the occult and spiritual. Even my main thesis in University was too long for its expected level, but it passed anyway (perhaps because the contents was statifying?). But I guess that this becomes even more accentuated when I write in English, which is not the language that I was born with (i.e. Polish and soon Swedish). I believe that some of that lack of focus in my writing may be due to lingual idiosyncrasies. I ask my readers to apologize me for that, and I will try to better myself in the future.
Some of this we see in Stacewiczs’ [sic] embracing the Mathers AO 6=5 rather than critiquing it. To find any solid historical critique of Mathers’ work by Stacewiczs [sic] would be a rarity and none exists that I know of, and this indicates a blind acceptance – which is a no no in history. Any historian knows, the critique is a necessary part of one’s training and without it you would not get past the first term in history 101.I repeat, I have no ambition to pass any terms in academia (I did my share of that already). What I am striving to do and struggling with full time (today) is to become is a fully accomplished initiate. I happen to be interested in the subject of occult history, mostly because the life of initiates and their fraternities fascinate me. But I will always write as an initiate (or from a initiated perspective), not as a academic historian. That is for others to do, not for me. What I find baroque is that post-modern initiates sacrifices their esoteric beliefs and world view on the altar of dry materialistic science. As an initiate I cannot accept the modern world view of the materialist, especially not in history. (I’m not a believer in the materialist dialectic doctrine of history; I write from the perspective of a traditionalist.) Thus, I am striving to see my world, both past, present and future, from the esoteric and spiritual perspective, that is, to regard life and existence as did the ancients.
Regarding the “blind faith” of MacGregor Mathers, that is simply not true. I believe one are able to find some critique of MacGregor Mathers also on my blog. As an example, I did mention in my last review of King over the Water that MacGregor Mather did do some bad choices and lost his contact with the Third Order on three occations. I probably would criticise him more if it wasn’t for all the lies and speculations that are spread about him; as an initiate I feel the obligation to defend the reputation of a past Frater and Chief of my Order. In the current atmosphere on the blogosphere, I try to blance up the image of him. If I do make any critique of any past Frater or Soror, or initiate, I always try to be balanced. Like I have stated so many times before on this blog, it is below the true initiate to character assasinate a founding father of our Tradition in such a way as is done today by the counter-traditionalists. I don’t care if that makes me a lesser scholar; I am a initiate foremost.
Lastly I want to address a comment that Tony Fuller, who is the actual source behind that A∴O∴ 6°=5° document which eventually became profaned, wrote on that same hate blog. I quote it here as it sheds some historical light on that document, for the benefit of my readers. He said the following:
I can shed some light on the claim regarding the “4” written on the 6=5 ritual. The original ritual (along with many other papers) actually came to me from Mrs Renn whose husband Charles went through this 6=5 ritual at Hermes Temple. From other notes of his it is abundantly clear that this is copy no 4 and NOT a reference to it being the “4th part”.So, in the final analysis, it seems that I did an error in interpreting that large numer “4” on the frontispiece of the document. If Mr. Fuller is correct in his account, it means that it don’t make any reference to the published document being the “fourth” part of that ritual. But if it is a mark of the copy of that particular document, it still cannot refer it to any system of lending and general circulation as the fact still remains that it says on that same page with heavy underlining: “(Not to be copied)”. So what kind of copy is it then? Well, it could mean that it was the fourth ritual copy in use by a initiating team. This means that it had to be at least three more officers present. But in the published version, there are only two present. Where are the other two? Well, if we assume that there were other parts to that Ceremony, they most probably involved at least two more Officers that are not active during that last part.
Thus, Mr. Fuller’s statement doesn’t directly invalidate or disprove my original thesis that the published text was in fact the last part of a much longer ritual. On the contrary, as shown in my new analysis, it can even confirm that such a number presupposes it, regardless of it being a reference of a “fourth part” or a “fourth copy”. Mr. Fuller’s comment seems to confirm, however, one of my propositions (the one I designated as “(b)”), that the other parts had been lost at the time that Charles Renn was put through that ritual.
In the comments section the Golden Dawn historical scholar Tony Fuller shed some more light on the mysterious number “4” on the frontispiece of The Book of the Conference of Signs in the Grade of Adeptus Major (the actual title of the published part of the A∴O∴ 6°=5°). He said the following:
I agree that my comment does not rule out the possibility that the 6=5 ritual is part of a larger ritual. You are right that my comment is confined just to the fact that the number ‘4’ refers to ‘copy no.4’. To expand a little further on Carnegie Dickson’s practice. I have many of his papers, both AO and Cromlech. He was quite talented in producing attractive little booklets and he usually produced several for each ritual, paper etc. These are often individually marked as 1, 2, 3 etc. The 6=5 is entirely consistent with this, plus there is a comment elsewhere by Renn noting he had copy number 4. These were ‘authorized’ copies and Carnegie Dickson did not approve of any other copying.
So in the final analysis, we cannot know for sure if there were other parts of the A∴O∴ 6°=5° in Carnegie Dickson’s possession or not. Thus, as any good academic, we should suspend our judgements on the strictly scholarly level, if there ever had existed any more parts of the A∴O∴ 6°=5° or not, or if they had become lost in the process of transmission from their original creation or not; either they could have been lost somewhere after MacGregor Mathers’ death, or when they changed hands from the original copyist of the published part (i.e. Carnegie Dickson) to the current holder of Carnegie Dickson’s private collection, who eventually handed them over to that counter-traditional party who soon would issue it for publication. But the initiate in me, when reviewing the published part, knows for sure that there had to exist more parts than what the public has seen. (And I pray to God that this is all that the public will ever see of the 6°=5° ritual.) It all boils down to you gentle reader: It is your own choice to listen to the scholar or to the initiate in me.
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.