IN A WAY, this blog entry represents my final accounts on the Golden Dawn. It has been a long process of writing it. The last and fifth part I wrote originally more than two years ago on Facebook. I have amended and expanded upon it when composing this blog. The other four parts I wrote three weeks ago, but I hesitated to post it and was advised not to by my Soror Mystica because of the controversial nature of the contents. Following that I decided not to publish it but didn’t delete it. Since then I have had time to work with the text to present the message in a form which hopefully won’t upset to many people. But I feel that it is important for me to speak candidly and without to much restraint, as it summarises my point of view on the current state of the “Golden Dawn Community” and where I stand in relation to it. It will also place my latest and future writing on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog in a context which will make it more understandable for the gentle reader. My words are my own, not that of any Order or organization that I happen to represent (although it supports the essence of the wordings). Thus, what I write is quite personal, also being aware that I am not without sin. However, on this day (New Years Eve of 2013) I resign from my membership of the “Golden Dawn Community” (if I ever was part of it in the first place), in an effort to reject all of the destructive tendencies associated with it.
Now, some of you of my gentle readers who are following the blogosphere will perhaps notice the similarities between what follows and a blog posted 11 days ago by Nick Farrell. However similar the themes might be between our posts my position and rationale to leave the “Golden Dawn Communty” is diametrically opposite to that of Mr. Farrell’s. How I interpret him, he has left the Golden Dawn because he wants to distance himself from the Golden Dawn Tradition and the old Golden Dawn Egregore, which he finds to much “old-school”; I on the other hand am distancing myself from the post-modernist “Golden Dawn Communtiy” because it has left its roots and the Tradition, and turned itself into something that I don’t feel is where I actually belong - whatever that community actually is or is representing, it surely isn’t what I call “home”. Although I agree with Mr. Farrell in my third and fourth parts, non of his main reasons resonates with mine. Thus, the following blog is not a response to anything that he might had suggested. At best, Mr. Farrell’s post has inspired me to take the courage to finally release this text. As I said earlier, I wrote most of this blog already three weeks ago and the last part over two years ago; those of you wo are my Facebook friends may confirm this, and if you are one of my 50+ followers, you will know that I wrote the better part of this text exactly three weeks ago as I inadvertedly published it in writing. I suppose we are going through changes right now which may be related to certain astronomical phenomena; there is lots of synchronicity going on, which might explain any similarities, lots of letting go (of old relationships).
What follows is a presentation of my arguments why the name “Golden Dawn” no longer applies to what I personally stand for; these are the reasons why I no longer consider my self as a “Golden Dawner” or a member of any “community” composed of such individuals. The English words “Golden” and “Dawn” put together, although beautiful in themselves, have lost their true and original meaning; they don’t any longer represent what they were supposed to symbolize when they once were coined. I won’t mention any names or refer to any one particular organization; if you are feeling struck or guilty by my words, that I somehow specifically have targeted you, ask yourself why. I am the first to plead guily to some of these charges that I am about to pass; consider my writing as an act of repair for my own transgressions. Remember also that what I am talking about doesn’t apply to some “bad apples” in the “Golden Dawn Communty” but extends to the greater majority of the community, which is infested by a plague which runs very deep, all the way down to its core; there are only some old-school left-overs that upholds the age old ideals of what the Golden Dawn should be all about. The greater majority has fallen from its origins, in my opinion, because of multiple factors and several reasons; which boils down to the fact that the occult community is working in the context of a corrupt western society and superficial post-modernist culture, gradually adapting to that society’s and culture’s intrinsic needs. Anyway, here are my arguments why I no longer attach those two words to my own person and to the Hermetic group that I am co-working with:
1. The Golden Dawn is a commercialized brand name and a cash cow. Since Israel Regardie’s publications, in particular The Golden Dawn, which created a great boom for the Golden Dawn Tradition following the publication of the 2nd Edition by Llewellyn in the late 1960’s, a success that was followed up by The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic in the 1980’s, the name “Golden Dawn” has become a popular brand attracting lots of potential consumers of spirituality. In the 1990’s we saw a new generation of Golden Dawn authors who made themselves a name in the business, and some money as well, capitalizing on the name “Golden Dawn” in all of their titles. Today there is a legion of Golden Dawn authors, trying their very best to make a living on the remains of the Golden Dawn. Some of them even sell costly correspondence courses to the first bidder as a side income to their book sells. The Golden Dawn Tradition has become objectified and exploited. Although I have supported this phenomenon bying much of this literature in the past, I today resent this fact.
The glamorous aura of the name “Golden Dawn” has of course become a brand name in itself, because of the large volume of literature and famous historical personalities. Parties conscious of this attractive feature and economical potential of the Golden Dawn have tried to claim its name as their own, to attract a large following. Thus the Golden Dawn have found itself being trademarked as any commercial product. This fact has spawned almost two decades of competition and strife in the Golden Dawn Community as to who is the rightful owner of the brand name “The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”. Whatever lofty reasons or rationalizations they have presented to the public or judges as justifications of trademarking it, it always boils down to one simple fact: They want to capitalize on the name, for fame and glory, and the large commercial value of this ownership. I have come to resent this fact. However, this has not always been the case for me. For years on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog I have defended and tried to legitimize the right to own and protect that name, as a form of “quality proof”. I won’t do that anymore, mainly because I resent the commercialization that all of that entails, but also because I don’t believe that the name “Golden Dawn” has any worth left protecting. I certainly don’t want it, nor do I need it.
What is worse, you don’t even have to be a initiate to get some training in the Golden Dawn Tradition today. It is only one of many plates to grab from the big smörgåsbord that we call neo-spirituality or neo-paganism. Nowadays there are travelling instructors and teachers who hold lectures, seminars and workshops, willing to sell their pre-packaged and lightly digested product - a watered down version of the Golden Dawn Tradition. Using modern technology, you may even attend webinars to receive training. The only thing standing in the way beween you and that instruction or teaching is money. No-one wants to question if you are even prepared spiritually and mentally to receive such training and instruction. You are not seen as a potential candidate for initiation - you are merely seen as a consumer and the only value that you carry with you is you wallet (or rather its contents). This is typical of the post-modernist neo-spiritual community, which is nothing other than a big spiritual market and commerce. Thus the Golden Dawn has become a part of the greater New Age-movement. It has degenerated into a americanized spiritual fast-food product of some sorts. I resent this fact, of course.
Not to speak of all of the Golden Dawn products that you can buy all over the Internet, not counting any of the books, magazines and other types of literature that I already have mentioned. I am talking about pre-made robes, magical implements (wands, cups, pentacles, swords and daggers, etc.), banners, pillars, altars, etc. for your personal Temple and magic, or even your do-it-yourself Order. Furthermore, for the armchair magician there is a host of Golden Dawn T-shirts, jackets, cups, pencils, and whatever, as your personal artifacts, to give you that special aura of occult mystique. And if you need some healing you can as easily buy elixirs, talismans and other magically enchanted commercial products, and long distance healing on top of that. For the curious with money there are CD:s, DVD:s and other kind of recordings, such as pod-casts, streamed videos, etc., to watch and get Golden Dawn “instruction” from, like som kind of aerobics or power yoga, or whatever. I resent this fact.
We no can longer speak of “Golden Dawn students” or “true initiates”, but rather of “Golden Dawn consumers”. Today, one of the greatest drives or motivating factors of Golden Dawn leaders is greed. Likewise, they give rise to greedy consumers, that want everything and that right now. Post-modern students demand to be taught and they claim their legal rigths as consumers. Unfortunately, yours truly have also fallen to this trap of commercialization. Over on YouTube you can watch and listen to me holding a lecture. On Internet you may also listen to me in a pod-cast being interviewed. All of this for free as far as a know, but to be wholly honest in the wider context of advertising and attracting potential members. Different people (quite a lot of them) have asked me when my book is finally coming out. I often answer them: “Never”. I have had several offers from publishing companies to write books, and to write articles for magazines. I simply won’t fall for it. (Who would buy and read my stuff anyway?) I am finally done with this commercial game. The Golden Dawn cannot be sold as a commercial product, not in any form, book-wise or other; although it certainly is not for free, it requires something completely different from the student and initiate quality-wise than the mere purchasing power. Let’s take greed out from the Golden Dawn and the Hermetic Tradition, once and for all!
2. The Golden Dawn is tainted by cultish practices and personality cults. There exists some really dangerous organizations posing as Golden Dawn orders which meet the standard criteria for religious cults, and there are in fact predators lurking for innocent spiritual game over on the Internet. Much to often, Golden Dawn leadership seems to be tainted with manipulation and coersion. Several of these leaders take themselves way to serious, especially after they have succeeded published some titles, expecting their own initiates to admire and venerate them as idols put upon a pedestal. They are motivated both by power and material greed; not the best qualities attached to a spiritual leader. Reflecting the greater society at large, leaders of occult societies, especially those that have ambitions to become the greatest and largest on earth, tend to show signs of suffering from a empathy deficit disorder. I lament this fact.
Some of these leaders, in an effort to boost their charismatic ego, evoke that old and highly effective myth of the “Third Order” and the “Secret Chiefs”, regardless if that claim is substantiated with any grain of thruth or not. The most important quality in a leader seems to be that of feelings of exclusivity following the claim of being chosen by the Great Exalted Ones, this in itself constituting signs of infallacy and perfection on their part, who no-one may dare to question. The most common form of such authority is granted from so-called “inner plane contacts”, but some even use the mysterious and secret Adept as a way to show off their own value. Some of these leaders are highly profficient con-men and well versed at cold-reading, using their abilities to provide predictions from the said “Secret Chiefs”. This is typical of the religious cult, where the cult leader often is the self-proclamed prophet, saint or christ, to be followed without question. Although I personally know that the concept of the Secret Chiefs by no means is a pure myth, I do resent things that has been done in Their name by scrupleless leaders. I resent this exploitation, and from now on you won’t be reading any apologies defending Their existence on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog.
3. The Golden Dawn is associated with Internet flame wars and order politics. Well, I don’t believe I have to say that much about this sad Internet phenomenon or about order politics and flame wars, which I have referred to as the “War of the Roses” on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog, other than it is fed both by greed and lust for power. I suppose the rationale is that any news are good news, even bad ones; bad publicity is even more efficient than good publicity to attract readers and potential consumers. Behind any flame thrower sits a big melagomanic ego, often being gready of money and power, and / or of false pride. The interesting part is that flamers by necessity are drawn to each other; they need each other for their subsistence. The other side of this is that order politics are like any free market commerse; you do your very best to castigate your opponent / competitor to make your own product look better. In the long run this creates an environment with is contaminated with paranoia, and the sad truth is that paranoia tends to rub off. Melagomaniacs feed upon this and they often become paranoics themselves. The sad thing is that one’s own paranoia feeds the others paranoia.
I myself must partially take the blame for some of the flame wars of late years. Although I still stand by my previous position, and take the right to criticize the behaviour of certain individuals and leaders of the Golden Dawn Community, I still believe that some contents of my message could have been much more tempered. Today I’m fed up with all of this paranoia, and with paranoiacs. I will definitely do my very best to moderate my criticism, without sacrificing my honesty in the process. From now on, the Gyllene Gryningen Blog will not serve as a base camp for any attacks against leaders and individuals of other organizations. Let’s take flame wars, or better the entire Internet from the Golden Dawn and the Hermetic Tradition.
4. The Greek Nazi organization Χρυσή Αυγή (Chrysi Avyi) has connoted the Golden Dawn to ultra-nationalism and racism. Unfortunately, lately a neo-Nazi organization has raised its ugly head in Greece and won seats in the Greek parliment. This is bad in itself, but to make matters worse for us working withing the Golden Dawn Tradition, this organization or political party calles itself Χρυσή Αυγή or Chrysi Avyi which literary translates as “Golden Dawn”. This is very sad indeed, especially considering that the Golden Dawn Tradition, as tracing back its origin to the British occult society called The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888, has absolutely nothing at all to do with nationalism, fascism or racism. The true Golden Dawn actually represents the very opposite of all of this; it advocates the concepts of Cosmopolity, Liberty and Tolerance against any creed or race. Not only have the Nazis taken our symbols from us in the past, but now they have hijacked our name as well. Thus, let us all who work the Golden Dawn system of magic voice our disgust towards the Greek Chrysi Avyi and uphold our high ideals in our public relations.
However, let us also be practical and realistic. There is no chance that the relatively small Golden Dawn Community in any way is able to change the connotations carried by the words “Golden Dawn” in the minds of the general public. No-one carries swastikas from their necks today, regardless of the profoundness of that symbol, because of the tainted connotations made in the modern mind of the general public. Today, the name “Golden Dawn” is equally tained because of the Greek Nazis. I prefer not to explain myself everytime I mention the Golden Dawn to the common man. We have to deal with the fact that this name has lost its utility in the public capacity; it is useless to be frank, tainted as it is. I certainly won’t use it anymore to describe anything that I represent.
With the exception of the last 7 years, I have walked most of my magical path of initiation quite isolated from the rest of the “Golden Dawn Community”. In the past I have been solely involved in a quite small and very tight circle of initiates, primarily in Sweden but also some other parts of Scandinavia and Central Europe. Most of all I have been involved in my own Temple which I founded by the authority of my former Chief back in 1997. In this environment I was fostered, quite “safe” and “protected” from the rest of the major “Golden Dawn Community”. During all of this I have always considered myself to be a “Golden Dawner”, although through the mentoring of my Order I have come to understand the greater Hermetic and Rosicrucian context from which Golden Dawn Tradition emerged.
A decade ago I experienced my worst “Dark Night of the Soul” following my admission into the Second Order, that is, I lost touch with the work and Current for almost three years, although keeping the flame of my own Temple somewhat alive (although we had stopped to initiate any new Neophytes). During these years the War of the Roses (the Golden Dawn flame War and court process) raged at the most. Thus, I was luckily spared from experiencing it myself and first hand. Of course I knew about the greater Golden Dawn Community’s dislike for my former Order after it had pronounced its contact with the Third Order back in 2003. I experienced the outbrake of that Flame War before retiring from active work and international participation of the management of that Order. I also received some news now and then from my former Chief when talking regularly over the phone. Still I didn’t experience the magnitude of that division between my former Order and the rest of the “Golden Dawn Community”.
I already knew by 1999 that my former Order was different from the rest of the Community, following the General Reformation that was initiated by my former Chiefs, and the different older Rosicrucian currents issuing from this that vitalized our Order current. But I didn’t imagine that it was becoming so distant from the rest of the community. Following the established communication with the Third Order in late 2002 I knew that my former Order was truly distinguised from the rest, although still part of the “Golden Dawn Community”. The fact is that I never fully left the alchemical path during my Dark Night; I totally lost motivation for ceremonial. Still I felt as a “Golden Dawner”, as any other.
I re-entered my traditional Golden Dawn (or rather Inner Order) work in late 2007 and have continued to do so since. Following that I have felt myself to be more as a “Golden Dawner” than ever. I also felt the urge to meet and interact with the rest of the community, the Flame War having more or less died out by then. By middle 2008 I started blogging to that effect, and have since met and interacted with lot of initiates from different camps, even those traditionally opposed to my Order. I have come to know some really good people as an outcome from this.
This has been nice, at least at the outset. For a while I really felt that I was part of the greater “Golden Dawn Community”, although I was reminded now and then that I was somewhat “different” compared to those that I interacted with. I believed then, and quite naïve I must add, not having experienced the most ugly parts of the previous Flame War, that whatever seperated me from some members of the “Golden Dawn Community” was not that of actual philosophy and belief system, but rather that of politics. I was wrong in this estimation. In whatever manner I have tried to, I just cannot reach through to these people. And the more frustrated I have become, the more I have been pulled into the resurgence of the latest round of the War of the Roses, which you have been following on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog for the last three years or so.
It has, unfortunately, dawned upon me - especially during these three years - that the differences between myself, and that of my former Order which fostered me, and the rest of the “Golden Dawn Community”, especially as seen in America, is much more deeper than mere politics. Me and the vast majority calling themselves “Golden Dawn initiates” or “students of the Golden Dawn” have a fundamentally different outlook on what we are working with, although we might share the same ceremonial and read the same documents complied by William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and any of their Adepts. I term these concepts that I myself reject as “modernist” or “post-modern”. I believe that the last three years of blogging has expressed my views quite aptly; no need to repeat myself here in detail. Let me make a short and consise summeration of the different points:
1. The disbelief in the historical existance of a actual Rosicrucian brotherhood, and that the Golden Dawn Tradition represents an authencic continuation of it, because there is lack of evidence which can survive the scrutiny of academic research.
2. The disbelief in the historical and contemporary existance of a actual Third Order or real Secret Chiefs working on both the physical as well as the inner planes, and that the Golden Dawn Tradition is derived from it, because there is lack of evidence which can survive the scrutiny of academic research.
3. The opinion that the Golden Dawn Tradition should be the subject of academic study and that only such scientific study may shed any truthful light about it, which rejects the existance of any possible secret or hidden organizations or oral traditions (i.e. the Third Order) behind it serving as custodians of a continuous and authentic Hermetic Tradition.
4. The belief that W.W. Westcott and S.L. MacGregor Mathers simply compiled the Golden Dawn Tradition from manuscripts found in Masonic and Academic libraries, and that they themselves were not initiatied into it or the Hermetic Tradition behind it.
5. The belief that lineage has no value in the Golden Dawn Tradition, that anybody may initiate himself or herself into it, and that anyone may found a Golden Dawn Temple just by picking up published literature or documents on the Internet.
6. The belief that self-initiation or “astral initiation” works sufficiently and is comparable to physical initiation, and that it can trace its roots in older tradition predating post-modernism.
7. The belief that everyting in the Golden Dawn Tradition and the Rosicrucian Tradition has been published and that you can find everything on Internet and / or in libraries or book shops, and that this state of things has been santioned by “the guardians of the tradition”.
8. The belief that it is not only allowed to publish anything that hasn’t already been published from the Golden Dawn Tradition and the Rosicrucian Tradition, but a duty as well, to accomodate the general public and self-initiates or DIY Temples.
9. That the Golden Dawn is an “open source” or public domain tradition that enyone may tamper with or reconstruct as he or she likes, after their own preferences, and that this in itself is a sign of a good magician and initiate, or initiatic accomplishment and spiritual attainment.
10. The belief that the state of incompleteness of the Golden Dawn Tradition, and in particular its Inner Order Grades, may be reconstructed simply by using the published sources as spring boards, without the aid of anything (an in particular without the aid of the Third Order), by simply relying on the creative genius of the student.
11. That S.L. MacGregor Mathers was a mental case and that the schism of 1900 was legitime because of that, and that the Adeptus Minor Grade brings sufficient lineage and understanding of the Golden Dawn Tradition to authorize such a schism and the continuation of it.
12. That the Stella Matutina branch of the Order developed a much more advanced and magical tradition, and that this represents the only true and legitimate Golden Dawn Tradition.
13. The belief that W.W. Westcott, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, or any of thier contemporary Adepts, didn’t sufficiently understand the Golden Dawn Tradition, their own creation, and that only later generation of Adepts did that and that post-modernist Temples and Orders in particular understand it most of all and has made it truly magical.
These are only some and the most common post-modernist misconceptions that cannot be reconciled with the Traditionalist stance on the Golden Dawn Tradition. There are problably several more that can be added to it (and I invite the gentle reader to contribte with more post-modern notions that has nothing to do with the traditional point of view).
Today, when walking in the landscape of the greater “Golden Dawn Community” i feel as a stranger in a strange land. I feel completely alien. We speak the same words and use the same alphabet between us, but we cannot understand each other because we interpret the symbols in a different way. Traditionalists as myself are marginalized and find ourselves in a extreme minority. The world we live in is quite hostile against us. I have no urge any longer to argue with it. The best thing for people as me is to resort to voluntary isolation. To ignore the rest. The internet is flooded with would-be initiates who nurtures concepts that are completely alien to me. They are not at all interested in listening to whatever I have to say; they instead feel provoked and even hurt by whatever I say. I have also grown weary of hearing myself sounding as such a whiner; not at all an attractive trait.
Thus today, because of these five points, I no longer feel as a “Golden Dawner”. I don’t want to call myself that anymore or to be associated with anyone referring himself as such. Today, because of the state of things, the words “Golden Dawn” brings with it connotations that I in no way represent, not even in the very least. Yes, call me a “Hermeticist” or “Rosicrucian", and “Qabalist” even, or “Christian Esotericist” for that matter. But don’t call me a “Golden Dawner”.
I no longer agree that this name has any marketing value, or any value at all for that matter. On the contrary, it brings the wrong attention to what the work is actually about, however beautiful the words “Golden” and “Dawn” are or once represented. As it says in the A∴O∴ 0=0 ritual:
It [i.e. the Rosicrucian Order of the A∴O∴] was sometime known in English speaking countries as the Order of the Golden Dawn, or the Golden Dawn in the Outer. But as this name has been recently usurped by certain unscrupulous persons, to cover their malpractices, it use has been abandoned for a period.
I do not any longer consider my Temple to be a part of the greater “Golden Dawn Community”. It does work the Golden Dawn Tradition, yes. But it does it being very aware and conscious about the greater Hermetic and Rosicrucian, and thus Alchemical, tradition. My students may call themselves whatever they want, but I regard them primarily to be Hermetic initiates which is much greater than being but a “Golden Dawn initiate”. I must also add that I do believe in the possibility that many initiates in the greater Golden Dawn Community silently are doing a spledid work and probably doesn’t nessecarily box themselves in as their leaders do.
Please do not misinterpret me by reading this, please don’t misrepresent me either. I have the strongest faith for the tradition that is known as the “Golden Dawn” and which was put together into a workable format by our ancestors, such as MacGregor Mathers and Westcott. It is the majority of the people professing to “work” it that I am distancing myself from, people that has been cut away from its living and oral tradition and mostly know it from published books. People that cannot look further back into the Tradition than the late 19th Century. People who has tanken liberties with it and profaned it, making money out of it, etc. And now lately taken our name and put it into a racist and ultra-nationalist setting. This is the reason that i will end my active participation in the greater and english speaking “Golden Dawn Community”, retreat back to my native Hyperborea and start writing in Swedish again on the Gyllene Gryningen Blog, which it was meant to in the first place. I bid you all farewell.