Fama Fraternitatis - 1614

Wiewohl wir nun wohl wissen, daß es umb ein ziemliches noch nicht an dem, da wieder unserm Verlangen oder auch anderer Hoffnung mit allgemeiner Reformation divini et humani, solle genug geschehen, ist es doch nicht unbillich, daß, ehe die Sonne auffgehet, sie zuvor ein HELL oder dunkel liecht in den Himmel bringt und unter dessen etliche wenige, die sich werden angeben, zusammen tretten, unsere Fraternitet mit der Zahl und Ansehen des gewünschten und von Fr.R.C. fürgeschriebenen Philosophischen Canons, einen glücklichen Anfang machen oder ja in unserer Schätz (die uns nimmermehr aufgehen können) mit uns in Demut und Liebe genießen die Mühsamkeit dieser Welt überzuckern und in den Wunderwerken Gottes nicht also blind umbgehen.

Vi vet dock att det enligt vår åstundan och andras förväntningar efter någon tid kommer en allmän reformation av både gudomliga och mänskliga ting. Ty innan solen går upp, upplyses himlen av
MORGONRODNADENS ljus. I väntan på denna reformation församlas några få som med sitt antal skall utöka vårt brödraskap, höja dess anseende och stärka dess förhoppningar och ge de av Fr.R.C. föreskrivna Filosofiska Canons en lycklig begynnelse. I all ödmjukhet och kärlek skall dessa nytillkomna tillsammans med oss dela våra skatter, som aldrig skall förgås, och så lindra denna världens möda och inte längre vandra ovetande om kunskapen om Guds underbara verk.

Howbeit we know after a time there will now be a general reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our desire, and the expectation of others: for it is fitting, that before the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth AURORA, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky; and so in the mean time some few, which shall give their names, may joyn together, thereby to increase the number and respect of our Fraternity, and make a happy and wished for beginning of our Philosophical Canons, prescribed to us by our brother R.C. and be partakers with us of our treasures (which never can fail or be wasted) in all humility, and love to be eased of this worlds labor, and not walk so blindly in the knowledge of the wonderful works of God.


Det brittiska ordenssällskapet Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn och den tyska Frimurarlogen L'Aurore Naissante, vilket grundades i London 1888 respektive Frankfurt-am-Main 1807, delade på samma hebreiska namn Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur, förevisat i gyllene gult vid bloggens huvud, vilket ordagrannt kan översättas till “Stigande Gryningsljusets Sällskap”. Denna tyska Rosenkorsiska Frimurarloge i Frankfurt, vilket måste anses vara det ursprungliga modertemplet till GOLDEN DAWN, kallade sig på tyska även Loge sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, vilket kan översättas till “Gryende Morgonrodnadens Loge”. Detta skiljer sig åt från den engelska seden att översätta orden Bequr Aur till “Golden Dawn” eller “Gyllene Gryningen”. Med anledning av Rosenkorstraditionens tyska ursprung är en mer korrekt översättning av Bequr Aur, genom franskans L'Aurore Naissante och tyskans Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, inget annat än GRYENDE MORGONRODNADEN. Denna hänvisning till ett stigande gryningsljus, morgonrodnad eller aurora är en klar hänvisning till den allmäna reformationen omnämnt i det ovan citerade stycket från Fama Fraternitatis. Denna blogg har dock valt att behålla den försvenskade anglo-saxiska termen GYLLENE GRYNINGEN för att denna, invand som den är, lättare associeras med den Rosenkorsiska tradition som här ämnas att framställas.

Licht, Leben, Liebe

tisdag 8 februari 2011

B.O.T.A. Chapter work


Before I came to be initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the middle 1990’s I was a “Associate Builder” of the Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.) for a couple of years prior to my Admission, and also continued with my B.O.T.A. studies towards the end of the millennium in tandem with my Golden Dawn study and work; I found its lessons blend so well with the original Golden Dawn curriculum. I also enjoyed my study of Paul Foster Case’s correspondence courses immensely, and to a certain extent also Ann Davies’ lessons, in their own right and still keep them with me for reference.

Paul Foster Case quickly became my favourite Golden Dawn initiate, when everyone else of my fellow brethren revered either Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie or S.L. MacGregor Mathers. Even though I regard the latter to be one of the greatest initiates of our modern era, P.F. Case came close and surely was the greatest American initiate of all time. So, for me it is naturally to notice and gather any information that I can get on either Case or the B.O.T.A.

I have made some notes before on this blog regarding Case’s involvement in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, from which he found his main inspiration to form the B.O.T.A., where I also quote some interesting information from Tony DeLuce regarding the B.O.T.A. Chapter work, the equivalent of a Temple in the Golden Dawn. Now recently I stumbled upon a interesting conversation between Tony DeLuce and Tony Fuller, both of them initiates of both the B.O.T.A. and the Golden Dawn Traditions, and whom I trust for their scholarly integrity and honesty, from which I have gathered some very illuminating information regarding the Chapter work of the B.O.T.A.

Ann Davies standing in front of the Banner of the East

When still a member of the B.O.T.A. I was told by people I trust that only one permillage of the members ever reached the Chapter levels, and that there probably only existed one Chapter serving the entire Europe and one in the U.S. So information regarding B.O.T.A. Chapter work is very scarce ideed; I have always known that they work a version of Golden Dawn ritual equivalent of the Outer Order and the Adeptus Minor 5°=6° Grade. Case clearly states in the B.O.T.A. lessons that his organization doesn’t initiate anyone beyond the 5°=6° and that all initiations above that is solely made between the initiate and his Higher Self or Holy Guardian Angel. But other than this, one won’t find any more information from B.O.T.A. itself regarding Chapter work, which is an extremely secluded affair althogether. One must search in different quarters. Now, the latest news says the following:
  1. Paul Foster Case brought into the B.O.T.A. the Outer or First Order rituals already used in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega (A∴O∴). This means that the First Order rituals of the B.O.T.A. Chapter is neither that of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G∴D∴) or the later Stella Matutina (S.M.) revisions; they follow the particular A∴O∴ formula. Here I must add my own observations regarding the “Elemental Grades”, i.e. that of Zelator (1°=10°), Theoricus (2°=9°), Practicus (3°=8°), and Philosophus (4°=7°). Between the G∴D∴, and later A∴O∴ and S.M., there are very few and only minor differences, mostly alternative wordings, etc. It is the 0°=0° Ritual which differs the most between the original G∴D∴, A∴O∴ and S.M. In the case of the A∴O∴ this is mostly seen in the so-called “antiphony”, a unique exchange of words made between the principal Officers, which has never seen the light of public before. Other than this the A∴O∴ 0°=0° Ritual differs very little from the original G∴D∴, contrary to the S.M. which has added the initial “…by Names and Images…” and changed the wordings throughout the Ceremony of Admission to make the ritual more Christian oriented.
  2. However, Case changed the wordings of the A∴O∴ antiphony somewhat. Besides taking away all the Enochian references from the “Elemental Grades”, he also introduced new elements into the 0°=0° and 2°=9° which is based upon his teachings of the Cube of Space, and also brought in portions from his own The Book of Tokens into the 0°=0°. This brings my attention to the Pronaos Ritual of the B.O.T.A., which serves as a species of preparation ceremony for the 0°=0°, and the overtly stage directions made there to the Cube of Space diagram. It also seems that Case modified the Double Cubical Altar which resembles Aleister Crowley’s instructions from Book 4. Furthermore, Case, in his version of the 0°=0°, somehow emphasized the division between the opening / closing ritual and the initiation ritual. The 1°=10° seems to be virtually identical to the original A∴O∴ version, which is also the case with the 3°=8° and 4°=7° if it weren’t for the fact that considerable portions of the Officer’s speeches were removed from the latter two. When it comes to the Portal Grade Ceremony, Case didn’t use the G∴D∴ / A∴O∴ version but the one practiced in the S.M. instead, which he found in Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. If the source isn’t mistaken there is also supposed to be a lesser amount of diagrams in the B.O.T.A., and those that are there are the same as the diagrams published in Crowley’s The Equinox Vol. 1 No. 2, i.e. quite few of them. It looks as Case added his own diagrams to make up for this lack. This last detail recalls something I read or heard a long time ago, that Case had returned all his A∴O∴ documents after he had resigned, and that he recreated the rituals from memory with the aid of Crowley’s The Equinox.
  3. In the early phase of the B.O.T.A. Paul Foser Case only presented the 0°=0° and 1°=10° Grade Rituals for his Chapters until the 1930’s, when he supposedly closed most if not all of the Chapters. However, he later reactivated some of them and by then had written the 2°=9°, 3°=8°, 4°=7° and Portal. Case didn’t administer the 5°=6° until the early 1940’s, when he reluctantly opened his own Second Order under pressure from his Portal members. Supposedly this was done as a coup of sorts; Case’s members built a Vault of the Adepti while he was absent because of a lecture tour. Thus they took seven ping-pong tables (which have the dimensions 5 foot x 8 foot), assembled them together and painted them according to the specifications taken from Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. Case upon his return had no choice but to indulge his members. But Case produced very little 5°=6° curriculum, beyond a few papers. One of these supposedly was Charles Stanfield Jones’ (a.k.a. Fra. Achad’s) I.N.R.I.: De Mysteriis Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis! I wonder if he disregarded of the Thelemic undertones in that one!
So, the only conclusion that I can make from all of this, and the former information gathered in my previous essay, is that Paul F. Case’s version of a Golden Dawn Order were quite a diluted copy of the original, especially in its Second Order which practically were void of teachings other than the 5°=6° Ceremony itself. According to earlier information Ann Davies made no changes to the Chapters; they were operating exactly as they had been left by Case in 1954 and at least until Davies’ death in 1975. I doubt that any changes were made after that. However, the use of the Cube of Space is quite an interesting additon, even though much is also lacking in the First Order, especially in the 3°=8° and 4°=7°. The fact that Case chose to use the S.M. version of the Portal Ceremony, which introduced the foreign and masonic “Three Degrees” formula, also means that he inadvertedly took hold of a current which, figuratively speaking, invoked Rudolf Steiner’s ghost.


7 kommentarer:

Tony Fuller sa...

An interesting post Frater and thank you for your kind coments. In terms of longevity BOTA has been the most successful of Orders running a Golden Dawn type system, albeit modified a bit.
Like most such Orders it has been racked at various times with the internal politicking at the top, leading to splits and changes in policy. In my view it has managed to survive largely because of the excellent correspondence course which always draws in new members to replace those who have left.
The policy on Chapter has varied similarly in time and place. Paul Case and Ann Davies were relatively open about the existence of Chapter but her successors were more secretive. For New Zealand and European members it was never too difficult to become a member but always much harder in the US (especially after 1975-1980) and I understand that very few are admitted now.
At one time Ann Davies was going to merge the BOTA Chapter with the Whare Ra SM Temple and communicated with their Chiefs to this end. It floundered to several reasons. While the Chapters are run well and definitely can convey something of an esoteric initiation they are nevertheless handicapped by some of the changes Paul Case made. Neither Case nor Ann Davies were very knowledgable (in my opinion) about the GD system and because Case introduced changes over a period of time that he could not anticipate their later implications for higher Grades this caused him subsequent problems in symbolism. He changed, for example, the Banners of the East/West and introduced some flashing colours into the First Order. These became problematic when he brought in other Grades but he could obviously not reverse these.
The Pronaos rituals are most effective, given their purpose. These were not written until about 1960 and not, apparently by Ann Davies (to my surprise) but by one Eleanor Person who was subsequently expelled for other reasons.
I could go on at length but perhaps these small comment boxes are not suited for this.
Warm fraternal regards
Tony F

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater Tony,

Thank you for your kind words and interesting information. I in particular enjoyed the information regarding the Pronaos Ritual. I automatically assumed it was Case's invention. Be it as it may, but In my opinion it is a very well written and symbolically beautiful ritual, which inter-connects very well with the 0=0.

Also, you write "Pronaos Rituals" in plural. I wasn't aware that there were several different rituals used in the Pronaos. I know there is a Schekinah ritual as well, but didn't know that there were serveral initiation rituals written for the Pronaos. Or are you referring to one initiation ritual and the Schekinah ritual?

Regarding the use of flashing colours in the Outer Order, well he already taught that in his correspondence courses (i.e. pre chapter work). Personally I don't see any harm in using them in the Outer Order, if they are only limited to the Minutum Mundum diagram (i.e. King Scale for the 22letters and Queen Scale for the 10 Sephiroth), and I frankly cannot see how they would disturb the Second Order teachings.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

Tony Fuller sa...

Dear Frater,

There are several Pronaii rituals. There are three 'steps' leading up to Malkuth, each which has its own ritual. There is also an installation of officers ritual, and I seem to recall another. I agree they are most effective rituals.
The Flashing Colours caused a bit of puzzlement when members reached Second Order and swore to keep such matters secret. Case wrote some quite good material for the
0=0 and he gave a different interpretation for the Sign, being the Sign of 'Projected Light' rather than that of the Enterer. The circumambulation is also perticularly powerful in BOTA. He did produce material for other Grades but nothing for 4=7 (other than a truncated Azoth lecture) and nothing for Portal which BOTA also terms 'Senior 4=7'.
Th Second Order curriculm is a bit of a shambles - depending on views in favour at any one time these papers have varied quite a bit. Much of the last version I saw contained papers by Will Chesterman who was the Head until his death a few years ago.

The short Schekinah is quite different from Pronaos, one of Ann's. Similarly with the several Sound and Colour rituals, and the Qabalistic Service.


Tony Fuller sa...

Apologies for inundating you with comment but a further thought.
Of course it is impossible to attempt to recreate the circumstances even of the 1920s, let alone earlier than that but:
part of the great efficacy of the GD system was the way it shocked the subconsciousness. From rare accounts I have read and tales from elderly members they all report that the transition from the black & white of the First Order to the blaze of colour of the Second was almost a violent process. Deeply shocking and deeply moving. BOTA Chapters lost some of that by the dilution of the transition. As we have also lost much of it today and find it hard to understand (in our world of colour cinema, internet, and leaked secrets) that by the mere use of flashing colour in the First Order that this should be a big deal. In our modern terms it is not. But, from the perspective of older adepts, it is because now we cannot experience that immense shock (or rather it is much, much harder to do so)because our subconsciousness is not, in this sense, virginal. We know all too well the meaning of what is presented to our eyes and therefore the First Order experience today becomes more masonic, more intellectual, and less Eleusinian. This is why members of Whare Ra (and a very small number of modern temples) tried to prevent potential initiates from ever reading/seeing GD material before their initiation. Almost impossible of course but totally understandable.

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Fra. Tony,

Again, thank's for the information. As I said, I have only seen one of these three Pronaos rituals, and I wonder which it is in the series. When you state that they lead to Malkuth, does this mean that Case saw the 0=0 as a species of Malkuth Ritual as well, along with the 1=10? This is how I see the 0=0, as introducing the initiate to the Tree of Life in Malkuth up to the Veil of Paroketh, and then in 1=10 presenting Malkuth in full (i.e. all of the 10 Sephiroth).

I like the Sign of the Enterer as being a Sign of projection of L.V.X. That is basically its function in magic, to project force.

I wonder also about the "powerful" circumambulation in the B.O.T.A. 0=0. How does it differ from the G.D. version? It implies that it is more powerful than in the original. What is meant with "powerful"?

I would love to see Case's own written material for his Outer Order some day.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

Tony Fuller sa...

Your description of the view of the 0=0, vis a vis Malkuth is indeed the way it was (or is) portayed in BOTA. Perhaps I can contact you on an email address regarding your other query.

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater Tony,

You may contact me on sverige@golden-dawn.eu.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe,