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

torsdag 30 juni 2011

How to marry the Bridegroom with his Bride: A follow-up to Alchemy and the Golden Dawn


TODAY – at last – there seems to be a somewhat general agreement in the Golden Dawn community that Alchemy should serve as the capstone to the initiatic system, or at least take on a more substantial role in the senior Grades. This has not always been the case, however. With the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn / Alpha et Omega® this process was initiated following the general reformation anno 1999. As the Alchemical corpus is vast and contains many different aspects (“ways” and “paths”), this implementation and integration of Alchemy with the Golden Dawn has since then been a work in progress, and continues to be so.

I have already written about how I regard these issues in a previous essay; my ideal projected Order. This present essay may bee seen as a companion or follow up to this initial contribution. Or rather it is a comment on recent discussions regarding this would-be marriage of the Golden Dawn with Alchemy. In this respect the “Bride” is the Temple or Order of the Golden Dawn Dawn in the Outer and the Vault of the Adepti of the R.R. et A.C., the bridegroom being the Hermetic Alchemical Tradition since antiquity preserved through the Third Order.

I have, since the very start of my studies of the Golden Dawn Tradition, often asked myself: “Why is the Order actually called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? Why not the Qabalistic Order of the Golden Dawn instead? Most of its teachings are Qabalistic anyway? Where is the Hermetica? Where is the Alchemy?” Well, it’s time for the Golden Dawn to properly deserve its designation “Hermetic”, don’t you think?

Now, quite recently, this has become a general discussion and debate – finally! But other than this superficial likeness, that most of us agree with the premise that alchemy should become integrated somehow with the Golden Dawn tradition, the different factions within the community are dealing with this deficiency or lack of Alchemy in the Second Order or R.R. et A.C. in completely different ways. What we see today is rather a polemic how Alchemy should correctly be interpreted. This major difference may be properly analyzed using the already suggested model of “traditionalism” vs. “reconstructionism”.

Reconstructionist reformers are quite stubborn on their self reliance in creating their own system / interpretation of Alchemy – from a non-operational perspective – and forcing it into the Golden Dawn system. There is also a general skepticism, amongst reconstructionists embracing modern natural sciences as dogma, regarding the true value of operational Alchemy, either of the “external” and laboratory type, or of the “internal” kind, the latter often associated with Eastern Tantra and Yoga or Daoism, and thus “foreign” to the Golden Dawn. Few reconstructionists belive in a true material Philosopher’s Stone. Thus they are only interested in developing the speculative or “spiritual” side of alchemical interpretation, which is beyond the scrutiny of natural science, the Stone serving as the metaphor for the illuminated Soul, or similar such notions. Thus is created a dualism between spirit and matter, which is the very antithesis of true Alchemy.

Traditionalists on the other hand are instead doing research into older alchemical and Rosicrucian Mss. and oral traditions to develop their Second and Third Orders in an alchemical (and operative) direction. They also agree upon that there exists an intrinsically Occidental form of Internal Alchemy which is akin to Oriental Tantra but at the same time unique and distinct from the latter, seeing the physical body and matter as an expression of spiritual forces. Traditionalists believe in a actual Philosopher’s Stone and in the reality of transmutation, both of the body and of base metals. Some of these researching Adepti have also struck gold in their digging, finding a dusty copy of the legendary Arcana Arcanorum, and some even fewer receiving internal processings which goes way beyond that.

One well known and respected authority of the post-modern reconstructionist faction of the Golden Dawn, who also disputes the veracity of physical transmutation using the agent of the Stone, has even stated that the Alchemical tradition needs to be adapted to the Golden Dawn paradigm for it to work with the latter in harmony, to prevent any changes to the overall Golden Dawn sub-systems, etc., which is quite baroque for a traditionalist as myself. This type of militant reconstructionism not only tries to reconstruct the Golden Dawn, but the entire Hermetic tradition behind it as well. For a traditionalist it is the other way around in the process of integrating Alchemy with the Golden Dawn tradition; the alchemical tradition has millennia behind it compared to the single Century with the Golden Dawn and should properly mould the latter.

That said, the more I study and practice the Royal Art and do comparative study of esoteric traditions, the more I am convinced of the fact that Alchemy truly is an archetypal language (in a non-Jungian sense) which forms the foundation for most spiritual and religious systems. May I please refer the reader to my latest blog effort. As an example, just by chance while attending a wedding ceremony, I noticed the symbol of the Ouroboros (the serpent biting its own tail) in the Church, flanking the statue of the Crucified Christ. Students of alchemy are well aware of its significance as a symbol of the Royal Art. Its interconnection with Christ and his resurrection is intriguing and proves my case; a wedding ceremony in itself is of course charged with an alchemical significance.

The twin Ourobori (the two gilded circles)
on each side of the crucifix, at Varbergs Kyrka.

Thus, I do believe there is some merit to “spiritual alchemy” after all, although it is quite a recent invention compared to operative alchemy. As an example, the interplay between the King (God / Sol) and Queen (Goddess / Luna) – “the dual contending forces” or sexual polarity – permeates all levels of manifestation, both in the large and the small. Spiritual or analogical alchemy actually saw its first beginnings with the works of Jacob Boehme of the 17th Century, and was also to some extent developed in the original Golden Dawn as well, more than two Centuries later. Alchemy lends itself very well in better understanding the underlying mechanics of the initiatory system of the Golden Dawn, in particular with respect to the phases of the Great Work and the colours, etc.

Being a typical Virgo I cannot help doing that myself on occasion; it really helps me grasping the greater context of the Golden Dawn system. However I would never dream of changing one letter of the old alchemical tradition. On the contrary, if something should be changed it is the Golden Dawn tradition itself, although that fortunately enough seldom must be done as it was based upon the Hermetic Alchemical Tradition in the first place. As I said, its initiatory system lends itself splendidly for alchemical interpretation.

In his recent book Rosicrucian Tradition of the Golden Dawn Samuel Robinson seems to have done something to this effect, and as it looks in the first analysis, from a traditionalist point of view. I am eagerly anticipating its arrival in my mail box in a week or so, and after a careful reading I will return with a full review. I sense it’s a good piece of work, having been following the written words of the author on yahoo for the last years, although his alchemical analysis seems to be limited to the somewhat flawed Stella Matutina 5 degrees system (along the Middle Pillar); Malkuth (Outer Order and first degree), Yesod (second degree) and Adeptus Minor (third degree). No doubt he has corresponded these degrees to the three stages of nigredo, albedo and rubedo, as I myself once did years ago, that is before I discovered the actual reason behind why the Stella Matutina reformed its 11 grade system into a 5 degrees system; today I do it quite differently that for me makes more sense.

However, it must be stated clearly that any “sprititual alchemy” can only constitute a minor part of the alchemical corpus of the Second Order or R.R. et A.C., which primarily must be an operative alchemical order. Anything less than this constitutes a mere “mental masturbation”, if you excuse my rather vulgar use of language. But alchemy is not about intellectual mind games and fanciful speculation, actually, but rather about the energetic transmutation of the body of the initiate, for him or her to “become more than human”, that is, one of the divine immortals or demi-gods – the divinization of humanity. Its techniques are designed with this aim in mind.

What I like with Mr. Robinson’s take on the work of developing the alchemical tradition is that he seems to have a mainly operational emphasis, focusing on the laboratory aspect of alchemy or “external alchemy”, something that I myself agree upon. However I believe we have to work with all of the kingdoms of nature, not only the vegetable, that is, the mineral as well as animal. Our Rosicrucian ancestors in the 18th Century mainly worked on the mineral and animal kingdoms. This is the heritage that we have to administer to our initiates.

To summarize this present discussion, I must emphasize that if you look upon the Golden Dawn tradition from the perspective of the alchemical tradition the former will reveal itself, but if you do the reverse – that is interpreting the alchemical tradition from the limited perspective of the Golden Dawn – your understanding of Alchemy will be clogged. Or to use the above metaphor of the bride and the bridegroom: In most traditional cultures the bride moves to the household of the bridegroom and also takes upon her the latter’s surname. In the case of the Order of the Golden Dawn, this surname is “Hermetic”.

Please don’t misinterpret my latest metaphor (which happens all the time it seems). If you would know me personally you also would know that I am a strong defender of women’s rights, as also MacGregor Mathers was one Century earlier and any initiate would. In truth, the dual contending forces are equal in standing, as shown by the two Pillars in the Hall of the Neophytes. However, in this particular case, the metaphor of a traditional marriage is quite apt as it is the younger tradition (the Golden Dawn) which should adapt itself to the older Tradition (Hermeticism); it is also a question of the merging of generations. However, from this union also something new and fresh emerges; a future offspring. One such “offspring” is the allowance for alchemical speculation, in the vain of so-called “spiritual alchemy”, if done in moderation and without loosing track of the true aims of operational Alchemy. The other is the merging of Magical Ritual with Alchemical Operation, of which I spoke in my earlier essay. Ora et Labora!

Addendum (2014-03-13)

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® 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


2 kommentarer:

Peregrin sa...

Care GH Fr SR,

Thank you for this interesting essay. I will be plain and frank here. I appreciated the unity you drew at the beginning of the essay, noting the general agreement in the GD community. However, I see no need to repeat GH Fr LES’s forum assessment of Pat’s thoughts as “mental masturbation” (though you do not mention his name, we know who you mean). What good does that do, GH Fr? What good did GH Fr LES do by his words?

I also find the dichotomy you seem to draw between how ‘traditionalists’ and ‘reconstructionists’ approach alchemy confusing and apt to cause more separation than unity within our community.

To make my point, I will speak personally. I have been labelled a ‘reconstructionist’ by you and GH Fr LES and even if it is meant with the best and loving intentions, I do not accept this label (nor do I accept your authority to label in this way). Since neither of you have any clue as to my lineage, practice, teachers and methods of teaching, such a labelling is based on very thin ground indeed.

And the thing is, GH Fr, the thing is, my approach to alchemy, from what you write here, is despite being labelled a ‘reconstructionist’, COMPLETELY ‘traditionalist’. Honestly :) I was nodding and nodding as I read your descriptions…

The same with other ‘reconstructionists’ I respect and know –

They ARE “doing research into older alchemical and Rosicrucian Mss. and oral traditions”. They DO “agree upon that there exists an intrinsically Occidental form of Internal Alchemy which is akin to Oriental Tantra but at the same time unique and distinct from the latter, seeing the physical body and matter as an expression of spiritual forces.” They DO “believe in an actual Philosopher’s Stone and in the reality of transmutation, both of the body and of base metals.”

And so on…

Of course, I am not saying ALL ‘reconstructionists’ approach the subject this way, just as I am sure that not ALL (every person in the world) ‘traditionalists’ approach it the way you suggest. There are varieties and variants…but the most important thing is that we do approach alchemy, study it, grow it, be changed and transformed by it. I see no separation here.

Unlike you, I cannot decry ANY approach, even ‘mental’, if it helps serve the growth and transformation unto service of the magician. I see the common interest and acceptance of the importance of alchemy across the various branches of the GD as cause for unification and fraternity.

Personally, however, like the sexual mysteries so allied to certain forms, I think alchemy is one of those subjects best not discussed in great depth. It is only with a certain unfolded consciousness that alchemical texts, transmissions, practices and physical ‘experiments’ make sense and begin to really work, thereby starting the transmutation of the PM. The connection between changes in physicality and the consciousness of the operator is clear and long established.

We can see this in analogy with both cooking and sex. The same actions to produce a meal by someone who loves cooking (and the people being cooked for) and someone paid a minimum wage will produce vastly different results. The same sexual actions can, dependant on consciousness, be a simple Friday night fuck, or an intimation of the Most Holy.

I think we should talk more on how we can achieve the types of consciousness and love required to ensure alchemy transmutes as it should, than any practices, results or interpretations of texts etc (it is of course our PERSONAL engagement with a text that makes it alive).

Thank you once again, GH Fr for this essay. :)

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Frater Peregrin,

I guess any terms will be quite meaningless in a community if we don't all (or most of us) agree upon them. But at the same time I believe many in the Golden Dawn community feel that we who call ourselves "traditionalists" (according to my definition) differs alot from them.

So, somehow there must be a fundamental difference. Until we agree what they are and how to commonly define them, we probably won't understand each other which perhaps will result in further dissonance.

For me at least, my designations and their interpretation (which follows the standard from the pagan community quite a lot) helps me in understanding the "psychology" of the different Orders and initiaties, in the same way as a "diagnosis" does in my psychoterapeutic work. But a system of diagnosis is only a map, not the person self. But it helps me in relating to that patient in a way that may lead to a mutual and repriprocal communication and a genuine meeting between two subjects. On the other hand, if I hold on to my map to much I may miss the spot in the real terrain which may lead to misunderstandings and a break up of the relation. So I have to be flexible. It's the same with the designations "traditionalist" and "reconstructionist"; they are the map not the terrain.

Most orders, organizations and magicians are not any stereotypes; they are somewhere in between (having parts of both designations), moving a bit on the continuum according to circumstances. I myself are not a clean cut "traditionalist", as was my point in using the character Locutus of Borg; there is a part of me who thinks as a reconstructionist. There is an underlaying dynamics there.

As with all designations, labels and diagnosis, they may be misused, and thrown on people. I admit that I have succumbed to this myself in a agitated state. Still I believe I have learnt a lot regarding myself and the other party in doing this.

I don't know if I have labelled you anything, Frater Peregrin. All I have said is that you have defended certain individuals that I have labelled as "reconstructionists". It seems to me, reading what you say, that you are not a reconstructionist. But to be frank, I rest my case. I have no interest in labelling you either way.

Regarding the "alchemy" of you-know-who, yes I agree with Fra. L.e.S. that it's all about intellectual speculation. Nothing that I have read concerning it airs anything traditional and operative alchemical that I have encountered. And yes, he has said quite explicitly that he doesn't believe in a real (as in physical, not methaporical) Philosopher's Stone. And yes he has stated on several occations that he is prepared to change the old alchemical tradition for it to fit his own idea of what the Golden Dawn tradition is. Needless to say, I don't at all agree with him, and I have the right to say so and speak out candidly what I believe alchemy to be in contrast to his reconstruction.

I don't at all agree with you that I am confusing the public. Anyway, that's not at all my ambition, on the contrary. Alchemists has from the very beginning of the history of alchemy spoken out freely and candidly whenever they have spotted out "puffers" of "souffleurs". It is they (the puffers) who confuse the public, not I nor L.e.S., at least not from our perspective.

One of the purposes of this blog is to spot and call into question all the wild and crazy ideas that is floating around concering the Western Esoteric Tradition. You may not agree with my understanding, but that's o.k. by me. To be frank again, I don't bother. I will keep informing the public about how I regard the tradition anyway. It is up to them to decide for themselves how to assess anyones ideas. My task here is to give some pointers, that's all. If you don't appreciate it, whell I guess that's your problem Frater.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe