Thursday, July 29, 2010

Silence, Secrecy & the Initiatic Mysteries

In recent weeks, a passionate debate has erupted regarding the role of silence and secrecy in initiatic traditions. Nick Farrell wrote a fascinating article with an insightful critique of the original Golden Dawn oath. Sincerus Renatus wrote a lengthy reply, setting forth a more traditional Golden Dawn perspective. Morgan Eckstein published his views. The debate has even rippled through the wider esoteric community with a reply from respected Pagan author, Barabbas Tiresius, an Elder of Alexandrian Wicca.

I surprisingly find myself in agreement with much of Nick Farrell's argument. For example, I agree with Farrell that several parts of original Golden Dawn oaths need updating for modern orders. In the HOGD/AO, we already updated these oaths more than a decade ago, during the Reformatio Fraternitatis of 1999. I also agree with Farrell that - in light of recent trademark litigation - promising to keep the name of the order secret has become a historical anachronism.

Nick Farrell's writes:
"There is no point considering the Regardie material part of the oath because everyone can pick up a book and read it."
I agree about this. Prior to the 1999 AO reformation, the HOGD/AO found itself in the ludicrous position of asking initiates to swear secrecy to material available on Amazon marketplace for $5. We moved the entire published curriculum to the outer order, where in the Alpha et Omega it is no longer under seal of magical obligation. We did not stop there with the reformation, however.

With the kind assistance of the Hermetic Masters of the secret order that S. L. MacGregor Mathers met in Paris and called the "Secret Chiefs," the Alpha et Omega has developed an entirely new Second Order curriculum, completely based on unpublished, pre-Golden Dawn Hermetic and Rosicrucian esoteric transmissions.

This has been recently supplemented with highly magically significant, unpublished, replacement documents for the AO's Second Order curriculum, newly released from Third Order archives by the Secret Chiefs. 

In 2002, these Hermetic Masters additionally released to the Alpha et Omega the entire curriculum that had been intended all along for the Golden Dawn's Third Order together with the unpublished, Third Order initiation rituals for the 8=3, 9=2, and 10=1 grades of the original Golden Dawn.

The HOGD/AO has always recognized the importance of using unpublished versions of initiation rituals. This is why, since the reformation of 1999, our order has preferred to use the AO rituals Mathers revised in response to Crowley's publication of original Golden Dawn rituals.

The Hermetic Masters have long foretold, however, that one day even Mathers' revised AO initiation rituals would eventually be profaned. They have therefore assisted us to revise, yet once again, all of the rituals for the Alpha et Omega's First and Second orders (0=0 through 7=4). This revision is now complete. These rituals will be put into service immediately upon the Mathers' versions eventual profanation through publication.

There is little more I may say about these newly revised AO initiation 0=0 through 7=4 rituals, except that the original GD rituals have always been riddled through and through with alchemical symbolism - in the ritual structure, the symbolism of the officers, the diagrams, implements, admission badges, etc.

In the newly revised AO rituals, the secret meanings of all of these symbols are for the first time revealed to Golden Dawn initiates from the perspective of Hermetic Internal Alchemy. This makes these 21st Century, Alpha et Omega rituals the most complete and illuminating Golden Dawn rituals ever used in any First or Second Order Temple or Vault.

I therefore clearly agree with Nick Farrell that Golden Dawn orders today must not be mere "reenactment societies." There remains one thing, however, about the present secrecy debate that does concern me.
Nick Farrell also writes: 
"Any materials that exist in any library or collection are equally public domain." 
I am concerned that so few people in our esoteric community appear to understand the true value and importance of silence and secrecy in the initiatic mysteries. The fault for this perhaps lies with the Internet itself, which has created a strange expectation that all information must be open and freely available to everyone.

What then is the true value and importance of silence and secrecy in initiatic traditions?

There are two aspects of this question that must be addressed. 
  1. What is the importance of secrecy for the initiatic mysteries themselves as well for the mystery schools and esoteric orders that make these mysteries available? 
  2. What is the value and benefit of silence and secrecy for initiates themselves?
"From the darkness came I forth ere my birth, from the silence of a primal sleep, and the Voice of Ages answered unto my soul I am he that formulates in darkness." - Golden Dawn Neophyte Initiation

All living organisms depend for sustenance from darkness for their survival. Physical bodies of human beings grow first in the darkness of a Mother's womb. To remove a fetus prematurely from this protective darkness is to kill it, producing an abortion. Plants likewise can only survive with there roots buried within the nourishment of the dark soil. Pull a plant up, expose its roots to the light, and it will surely die.

Countries likewise depend on state secrets, protected behind a dark veil of silence for their survival. Companies as well depend on the same dark shroud of secrecy for their survival. The same holds true for esoteric orders, mystery schools, and initiatic traditions themselves. In fact, all organizations depend on a dark veil of secrecy, one way or another, for their survival.

This is a function of the occult nature of the universe. As human beings have energetic bodies, so do nations, clubs, companies, and esoteric orders. An egregore is a sort of energetic group soul. Just like plants and fetuses, egregores require sustenance drawn from darkness through their energetic roots. In the egregores of esoteric orders and initiatic traditions, this dark sustenance is drawn through initiatic silence with the initiatic mysteries buried like roots within a dark veil of secrecy. 

Let us recall that the true purpose of the Great Work is actually ENERGETIC EVOLUTION.

In order to fully understand the importance of silence and secrecy for initiates themselves, we must consider the plasticity of the Astral body. The Astral bodies of human beings are extremely malleable. They are easily shaped, modeled, and formed. The Astral body is, in fact, shaped by every single sensory impression, by every action, every word, as well as by every thought and emotion.

In order to begin to evolve energetically, an initiate's Astral body must first be liberated from the dense impressions of the Earth as transmitted through the physical body. The Astral body is constantly bombarded by sensory impressions, actions, words, thoughts, emotions, etc. from the physical body and the Earth. This bombardment shapes, molds, and forms the Astral body into a great agitated turbulence, stunting its growth and evolution. Thus, even to begin to cultivate a Solar Body of Light, the Astral body must first be liberated from this turbulence arising from the Earth through the physical body.

This is another reason why, in addition to their own survival, all legitimate initiatic traditions have since time immemorial insisted on initiatic secrecy and silence. This is also why meditation is given such importance in the initiatic traditions of the East. Meditation, like initiatic silence and secrecy, helps to create requisite conditions wherein the Astral body can grow, evolve, progressively differentiate, and separate itself from the physical body and material reality.

On the other hand, the initiate who breaks silence or violates the sanctity of the mysteries instead creates even greater turbulence in their astral bodies.

In the absence of spiritual evolution through the liberation of the Astral body from  turbulence arising from the physical sensation, etc., the consciousness of profane individuals will likely remain imprisoned in a meat body for many incarnations, able only to perceive the densest, most material of Universal vibrations. Their consciousness remains like that of a maggot feeding on the rotting carcass of the Earth, dominated by the needs of the physical body to eat, sleep, deficate, urinate, etc.

Sadly, many profane individuals have not yet reached the level of energetic evolution where their consciousness will even be able to reincarnate, or to survive physical death with even a minimum of continuity of consciousness. Instead, following the disintegration of their physical bodies, their individual consciousness will perish altogether, their constituent forms broken down to be recycled by the Universe to create new forms.

The initiatic mysteries are nothing less than the science of immortality. 

And true initiates are those rare individuals that prove their value and their worthiness to continue to exist to the Universe, by making the most of every opportunity granted to them for their spiritual and energetic evolution. The purpose of the initiatic mysteries has always been to assist these rare - truly worthy - individuals with their spiritual and energetic evolution.

It is only in this light that one can properly consider the claim of any individual to be performing a "service to mankind" through the desecration of initiatic mysteries. On the one hand, such an individual will doubtlessly receive great praise and accolades from the profane, for their curiosity is perversely satisfied by being able to glimpse the dark roots of one of mankind's most precious flowers - while it slowly dies in agony, torn out by the roots in a senseless act of desecration.

So it is when the initiatic secrets of esoteric orders and of entire initiatic traditions are profaned. In fact, this is exactly Aleister Crowley did with Golden Dawn, which began a long, slow dying process of the Golden Dawn egregore that we are stull witnessing today.

All is not yet lost, however!

Sure, the vast majority of the nameless, faceless crowd will never use the initiatic secrets of the Golden Dawn for much more than to satisfy a vulgar sense of curiosity.

However, there will be a few - perhaps only a very few - who will actually use this technology for their spritual and energetic evolution - And with such faithful diligence that they  make progress enough to become worthy for more.

It is for YOU - the spiritual elite of this generation, that the ancient Adepts of all ages, through great sacrifice and at great personal risk, have preserved the highest and most profound initiatic mysteries.

However, these mysteries are not to be profaned. In fact, those who do profane them, despite the praise and accolades of the nameless, faceless masses, are - in reality - but committing initiatic suicide.

I write this letter not to condemn anyone who has set out on such a self-destructive course. Sadly and regrettably, such individuals have already condemned themselves. Tragically, they did not believe in the Solar guardians of the mysteries that they profaned. For individuals who have set out on such a self-destructive path, as much as I sincerely wish them well, there is nothing any of us can do to save from the karmic consequences of their actions.

I write this letter not to condemn. But rather to inspire! 

I write this for YOU - oh aspirant of the mysteries, that you might yet fully understand the true value and importance of initiatic secrecy and of preserving the sanctity of the mysteries for future generations!

The Golden Dawn today has become the most important visible initiatic tradition. Its influence has impacted nearly every aspect of the esoteric community.

This does not, however, mean that there does not as well exist yet more profound and secret Hermetic and Rosicrucian schools. On the contrary, these Internal Colleges do indeed exist - and offer spiritual technology far superior and beyond the teachings of the Golden Dawn.

The Hermetic Masters of these truly secret orders - have an enormous amount offer...

...but only to the best and the brightest among us - To those of us who can prove ourselves truly worthy of so great a privilege.

It is They - the Hermetic Masters - rather than misguided individuals who profane initiatic mysteries, who provide a true service to our community - by making these highest initiatic mysteries available - even if only to the best, brightest, and most trustworthy among us.

You will not easily find these these Masters or these Internal Colleges. They have no websites, no 1-800 numbers, and no contact email addresses.

In fact, these Hermetic Masters are more impossible to find today than ever before. Nonetheless, they have been watching all along - And sadly, they have become extremely cautious with our community. 

And why should they not be suspicious, with so many among us even praising senseless acts of profanation and desecration.!

After all, these Hermetic Masters have preserved the higher initiatic mysteries for future generations not for Centuries - but for Millennia - and the risk of profanation by publication of the mysteries is greater today than ever before, now that anyone can publish anything on the internet with but a click of a mouse.

I therefore urge you, oh aspirant of the Mysteries - to use every available bit of magical, alchemical, and spiritual technology at your disposal to make rapid progress with your energetic evolution...

...Make sufficient progress - and yet more advanced technology will be made available to you.

But energetic progress alone will not be enough to be worthy of initiation in the higher mysteries. You must also be worthy of so great a trust and never, ever profane these mysteries nor harm the mystery schools that have preserved them for you.

Be ever mindful that the Hermetic Masters are watching you from the shadows - observing you - measuring your suitability for initiation into mysteries higher and far superior than just the Golden Dawn.

The tragedy of Nick Farrell and others like him is that they have proven themselves untrustworthy regarding silence and the sanctity of the mysteries. Thus - sadly - their initiatic careers - as well as their energetic evolution - appear to have reached an impasse in their present incarnations.

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
David Griffin
G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega

"Ex Deo Nascimur.
In Yeheshua Morimur.
Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nick Farrell: Golden Dawn History or Tabloid Journalism?

It is most unfortunate when Golden Dawn writers and leaders make outrageous statements disguised as established historical fact. For example, a few years back Robert Zink of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn claimed that sexuality has no place in the Golden Dawn because Moina and S.L. MacGregor Mathers had lived in a "celibate" marriage. As convenient as this Puritanical vision would have been for Mr. Zink's Roman Catholicized, Second Order of his EOGD, it simply is not supported by any solid historical evidence. I recently refuted these arguments at length on a podcast reproduced on this blog.
I am rather alarmed once again today by the way Golden Dawn history is being treated by Nick Farrell. To cite a few examples, Mr. Farrell frequently refers to Golden Dawn co-founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers as a "drooling looney" as though this were established historical fact. In reality, not a single shred of evidence exists that even remotely suggests that Mathers suffered any sort of mental illness whatsoever. The same can be said for Mr. Farrell's equally sensationalistic claims that S.L. MacGregor Mathers wife was "frigid" and that Mathers himself was "having an affair with the maid in Paris."
Such sensationalistic speculation masquerading as historical fact would not be so concerning, were Mr. Farrell not presenting himself as a credible Golden Dawn historian rather than as a tabloid journalist, which is Mr. Farrell's true professional background.
Let me give you one example of how dangerous to historical truth such tabloid journalism can be when presented as historical fact. Ellic Howe, who did not like the Golden Dawn, introduces into his study of the Golden Dawn the equally sensationalistic speculation that the letters written from "Fraulein Sprengel" to Golden Dawn co-founder were "forged by Wescott." To support this sensationalistic claim, Howe cited a Swiss named "Oskar Schlag," in whose "expert" opinion the letters were written by an English speaker.
Golden Dawn historian, R.A. Gilbert, who, like Howe, is hostile towards the Golden Dawn, repeats Howe's assertions as though they were established historical facts. This has led to a whole generation of magicians today believing that "the Golden Dawn is based on a forgery."
Dr. Robert Word of the August Order of the Mystic Rose brought this problem to my attention several years ago, after showing the Sprengel letters to a native German speaker who disputed Howe's and Schlag's claims. This aroused my curiosity as a professional linguist with a degree in Germanic languages. I therefore examined the Sprengel letters myself, which I confirm are written in Suterlin German script consistent with the Suterlin German script prevalent at the end of the 19th Century.
Moreover, I find nothing whatsoever that in any way indicates that the Sprengel letters were not written by a native German speaker. We must therefore conclude that Ellic Howe and Robert Gilbert's assertions that the Golden Dawn was based on a forgery are unsupported by any historical facts.
This is a prime example of the harm that can be done to the Golden Dawn by sensationalistic rumors masquerading as established historical facts spread by "credible historians" with a personal axe to grind against the Golden Dawn as a tradition or against any particular Golden Dawn order.
This compelling example makes clear the danger posed to the Golden Dawn a sensationalistic treatment of Golden Dawn history. This is clearly also the case with recent tabloid-like claims made by Nick Farrell, whose professional background, in reality, is as a tabloid journalist rather than as a credible, academic historian.

- David Griffin