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The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.order,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.thelema,alt.pagan.magick
From: "Fr. A.o.C." 
Subject: Re: The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn (LONG response to 333)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 03:20:23 GMT

333 wrote:

> > The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn's *outer form* as
> > developed by Mathers et al. for the Isis-Urania Lodge was indeed based
> > on the Osirian mythological cycle. But this is not found in the *source*
> > material that Mathers drew from, which is the Cipher Manuscript.
> 
> so the buck stops at the Cipher Ms (Mackenzie?)?

In a manner of speaking. But there's much more to it than that, and it
has to do with the nature of the Mss and of the Western Magical
tradition itself.

When we approached this project, we decided we had to establish a
"baseline" on which to rest the concept of a "Golden Dawn Order", and
for this the logical choice was the most fundamental document in the GD
canon. We had two motivations for doing this: to establish a rational
position on which we could call ourselves a "Golden Dawn Order" in actual
fact, and to "draw the line" in such a way that allows us to liberate a
magical tradition that, in our opinion, had been polluted and distorted
in a dangerous and harmful manner, even by the so-called "original" 
members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Our own intuition and research led us to believe that the system as
described in the Mss (and all of Western Magic in general, of which the
Mss details a functional microcosm) was (and is) fundamentally Pagan in
nature. Examination of the Mss proved this out. Furthermore, that
aspiring magicians who belonged to the Christian Church, unwilling or
unable to free themselves from their monotheistic cage, were compelled
to appropriate Pagan-based invocations of godforms and other pagan
traditions and techniques to actually do Magical Work. They tried as
best they could to cover their practices with a patina of Christianity,
while simultaneously denying the tenets of the own religion, which
explicitly forbids ALL magic to its followers. (Dr. John Dee was a
master at this kind of revisionism, as his Enochian Angels told him
explicitly that "Jesus is not God" and that "No prayer should be made to
Jesus", among other blasphemies. Somehow this didn't induce Dee to give
up his Christian rendering of Enochian Magic. He can be forgiven for
this though, since in his time it didn't mean getting flamed on Usenet,
but rather getting flamed at the stake.) 

They were trapped between their quite natural desire to do the Work
of Magic, while at the same time aware (at least subconsciously) that
what they were doing was blasphemy in the eyes of their own faith. The
inner psychological conflict, and the outer organizational conflict, 
caused by their attempt to be ersatz Pagans and faithful 
Christians at the same time contributed greatly to all the schisms,
intracine warfare, personality clashes and abuses of power that began
with the original Hermetic Order and basically continues to this day.

They were cursed by their own insistence on clinging to 19th century
Christian dogma. As we all know, Yahweh is a jealous god...

So we look on our satrap of the GD not so much as changing something of
the old Aeon into something new, but rather as returning the Current to
the original roots of its nature -- *purifying* a strain of Magick that
had been inappropriately hijacked in it's formative stages by religious 
dogmatics and turned into something it was *not* meant to be in the 
first place. 
 
> > In fact, the whole idea of the "resurrected god"
> 
> I think Re O'Stat argued that the reason that this resurrected god
> motif was important to GD rites was on account of the importance
> attached to transformation and how the death-and-rebirth resonance
> mated with 'initiation'. 

Here's some stuff from an essay Sam has been working up for our 
website library, along with some of my own editorial comments:

First, I'm not sure we agree on how to describe the process of
Initiation, as regards the elevation of a mundane human being to
Magickal Adepthood.

Why should the Osirian Myth be offered as a template for the path of
Adepthood in the first place? It is a particularly unsuitable model.
The main problem with this approach is that while the weighing of the
heart is about the induction of the dead person into the Underworld, 
it is not about the initiation of a Magician into the Adept's path. 

Osirus is a god of vegetation. All green up-thrusting things are His. 
In the north we would call Him the Green Man, well known to Pagans as 
the God who is born, flowers, and is cut down in His season only to 
spring up again in His turn. Osiris' suffocation, dismemberment by 
Set and later renewal is akin to the story of John Barleycorn (and 
many other mythological cycles.) What does this have to do with the 
study and mastery of Magick?

In the story behind the Hall of Great Truth, Osiris is even less
benevolent than John Barleycorn. After His various misadventures at the
hands of Set and Isis, Osiris ends up as ruler of the Land of the Dead.
He then blackmails the rest of the Gods into putting His son on the
Throne of Ra, threatening them with ill judgment otherwise when they die
and come before Him. Incidentally, throughout this process, Osiris never
really comes back to life. He sires the Younger Horus while dead and
later His wife Isis reassembles and 'reanimates' Him (while still
missing an important, and I would say rather magically significant,
portion of His anatomy), but then He goes off to rule the Underworld,
never to return.

Hmmm, gullible dead eunuch god who makes the grass grow, rules the
land of the dead and blackmails His fellow Gods. Now is that the 
godform I wish to emulate as a magician?

It can be surmised that the original Hermetic Order used the Hall of
Great Truth because the imagery (they thought) resonated with the
Christian Mythos of the slain and risen God, who then becomes the judge
of the dead. The GD members of the time were Victorian Christians, and
this interpretation of the Hall of Great Truth (and it's not the only
one, though they didn't know that in 1888) looked a lot like what they
were used to; they were comfortable with it. Since the RR & AC (their
second order) used Christian-styled symbolism, Osiris seems like a good
Outer Order echo of their Inner Rites. Perhaps this suited the time, but
that time has passed.

So the question remains: what does the Osiris myth have to do with the
study of Magick and the path to Adeptship? What about the Osiris story
makes him a good model for the mage? If taken on its own merits, apart
from the original Hermetic Order's use, would it make any sense? We can
find no Egyptian source that used the Hall of Great Truth as a
telesterion, a hall of Initiation. Osiris is a god of the vegetative
cycle. Even taken in its broadest sense, ever returning from the dead
has no necessary correlation with the process of acquiring magickal
wisdom, power, and skill. Nor is there any particular value to being
'purified through suffering' or 'glorified through trial' to the process
of learning magick. (These are Christian moral dogmas, not practical
magickal instruction.) So why use Osiris and the Hall of Great Truth at 
all?

> I'm not hearing from you about a specific
> replacement for this motif as regards the phenomenon of initiation
> or why the methodology can survive intact without it.

Ok, take it away, Frater IO:

"Since [our] Hall of Initiation is not presided over by Osiris who's
proper place is in the Hall of Great Truth, that layer of the 0=0 rite
(that was added on to the basic form of the Ciphers) will need to
change. The most logical setting for the Son of Ra is at the helm of His
father's boat, as is traditional. Being a long-time sailor myself, this
is an especially fruitful image. The boat symbolizes the vehicle that
takes us on the river, the long journey through darkness into light. The
Hierophant is the captain of the boat, accompanied by His crew of fellow
gods. The passenger is the Sun, Ra-Hoor Himself, but also is the self of
the aspirant, aspiring to become a crewmember on the ship of Ra called
"The Barque of Millions of Years". Initiation is to repeat the
cosmogonic process with the Aspirant as the world being created and
simultaneously, the deity doing the creation. Similarly, it is the
process of being welcomed as a member of the crew, which is being
welcomed as a member of the Order, the company of those traveling
towards 'the light' (literally the 'golden dawn' of a new day.)

"One other advantage of this scheme is its ability to reintegrate Set
into the company of the gods after a bitter absence. By placing Horus in
the East we leave a vacancy in the West. With Ra-Hoor at the helm of the
Barque of Ra, we can remember the old 19th Dynasty telling of the story
that places Set at the prow (with His spear) to fend off the Serpent
Apep, who would devour the Barque and keep Ra from being reborn again at
the dawn. Set defeats this 'lurker on the threshold' permitting the Sun
to rise. As Hierus in the 0=0 hall, Set truly shows His power as the
Master of Darkness. This corrects the problem well understood by the
psychologically inclined of the 'return of the repressed'. That which is
split off and denied will rise again later in new form to wreak havoc.
By including Set, the Shadow is given a place to be projected. With Set
in the Hall, the Shadow has it place and is brought into the service of
the evolving soul."

> so are you saying that the original GD never constructed rituals for
> those degrees you (and presumably they) identify as RRetAC?

I'm not sure I understand the question. If by "original GD" you mean
Westcott, Mathers, et al of Isis-Urania Temple No.3 and its affiliated
lodges, then of course they constructed rituals for their Second Order
grades. If you mean the unknown authors of the Cipher Manuscript, then
we don't know. All that is certain is that the Ciphers stop at 4=7. One
page in French describing the L-V-X (the Key of the Portal) is part of
the Cipher folio, but it's considered to be a later insertion, probably 
by the Francophilic Mathers.

My own tendancy would be to NOT assume that any fixed rituals or 
instructions for Grades beyond the Portal were ever composed, or
even *needed*. Once one reaches Adeptship, one knows one's True Will 
and is under the direct guidance of one's own Divine Genius. Every man 
and every woman's Will is unique and self-directing, which is the 
point. I would venture that once one attains direct contact with the 
Genius, any 'intiation' required will surely occur, whether a formal 
ritual framework is provided or not.

> "cock"  replied to "Re O'Stat":
> >>> This thread would have been a lot less annoying if you had just said that
> >>> from the beginning.  If I understand you correctly, your premise is that the
> >>> original G.'.D.'. was a product of the Aeon of Osiris, and a representative
> >>> of Osiris.  IF this IS what you mean, would I be correct in assuming that
> >>> you would have little problem with them if they took the name of an Aeon of
> >>> Horus organization, such as Open Source Order of the A.'.A.'.?
> >
> > A good question! ....
> 
> but you didn't directly address it here. so you'd have no objections?

I'll have to leave that one for Re, as it was he who didn't address his
own statement.

Anyone can take any name they wish, and as long as they can demonstrate
rational reasons as to why, I'll grant it has validity.

> >>> If that is
> >>> true, the argument then becomes whether the name Golden Dawn is limited to a
> >>> particular godform/Aeon, rather than a system of methodology that can be
> >>> adapted for different deities.  I would be of the opinion that the
> >>> methodology/structure is what makes it the Golden Dawn, not the godforms
> >>> involved,
> 
> interesting. in religion that would be off-base, because so often the focus
> of worship would be the deciding factor. 

Sam (Fr. IO) and I don't always agree on the definition of "religion". 
(In our Order, people are allowed to disagree with the Chief Adept.) My
answer would be that magick and religion are two different fields of
human endeavor, and should not be confused with each other or evaluated
in the same way. To me, mixing magick and religion is like mixing
politics and religion. Bad juju. Sam would argue (I think) that defining
"religion" as requiring an "object of worship" is not a valid
definition, that "magick" itself is a sub-set of "religion".

But here's his take on it:

"The religion vs magick is a problem I would like to leave for another
day (very deep water). What we are discussing here is the relative
centrality of godforms vs methods.

"What we have here is a form vs content problem. The godforms layered on
the ritual offices are content being carried by the form or method of
the rites. What we are doing is maintaining the form or container while
changing the content through our interpretation of it in light of 
Thelema.

"333's comment [above] is simply not true. It is only taken as a 
given in this region of the planet because we are in a creedal and 
monotheistic culture. However, in less primitive locations, a 
plurality of worship foci are recognised. One can be a worshiper of 
Krisha or Rama (or Kali, or Lakshmi, or Ganesha) while any of them are 
still Hindu. What makes them all recognisably Hindu is the methodology 
used to do that practice. A classic GD practitioner would recognise 
our method, our teachings, and our practices as being 'Golden Dawn'."

> in GD/et al, why does 'methodology' exclude god(form)s?

It doesn't exclude them, but it leaves a lot of room for interpreting 
them. Especially when the original versions of the rituals have no 
godforms mentioned at all.

A bit more from Sam's essay:

"The only good reason I can see for [the old Hermetic Order] using
Osiris is that for a time our world dwelt in the Aeon of Pisces of which
the Slain and Risen God, Osiris or Jesus, was the Archon or Aeonic
ruler. For this time period the path of Initiation was presided over by
this God and His formula. Fortunately we have received (to use the
language of the classical GD) a new dispensation: Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath
taken His seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods. While this may
appear 'to change everything', it really is a return to the older more
traditional approach to the evolution of the soul into becoming a magick 

user.

"In Egypt there were many deity cults, as is appropriate in a
polytheistic land. At different times in Egyptian history different
deities rose to ascendancy only to be replaced by another. The cults of
Osiris and Ra were two of these. In the latter years of Egypt the
Osirian cult had, in keeping with the Aeon, come to dominate religious
thought. However, long before that the Pharaonic cult was particularly
that of Ra. This is important as it touches upon the nature and purpose
of Initiation.

"Initiation is no vain hope to escape death by assimilating one's self
to the ever-repeating vegetative cycle or by placating the Judge of the
Dead. Initiation into the Magickal Art is to enter into the supreme role
a being can aspire to in existence: participation in the process of
creation itself. What does the God of the Dead have to do with creation? 
Nothing.

"Ra is the Egyptian demiurge, the creator, and for a time, ruler of the
manifest world. Ra embodies the great cosmological cycles of the day and
year. It is with gods of a creative and bountiful nature that we should
be assimilated to in the process of initiation, not death (unless we are
trying to form a death-cult). Because Osiris can be seen as fulfilling
that role during His Aeon we can forgive the classical Golden Dawn their
use, but we today have no excuse to follow this ill-fitting approach.

"The Pharaoh was assimilated to Ra as the archetype of the ideal man and
the embodiment of the demiurge incarnate, as well as the First King. In
being assimilated to Ra, the Aspirant takes his place as the agent of
the Creator in the world. To the world this looks like a king.

"Ra's story is not about getting himself tricked into His own death,
siring a son while dead, getting cut to pieces, reassembled and then
blackmailing His peers. Ra's story is about traveling through the day,
the world of men, 'giving life unto the dwellers of earth' and then
through the night, the otherworld in the company of good companions on a
ship passing the Pylons of the Hours, being welcomed or challenged by
the doormen, defeating or subduing the obstacles of the way, and
eventually breaking forth in the Dawn. This is a great model of the
magickal learning process. In the outer world we share our lives with
our fellows helping them on their way. In the inner world we face the
challenges of our lives and 'by subtlety or by force,' and the help of
our companions, subdue our opponents, and attain to such realizations as
is the coming of the dawn. As an allegory of Magickal Inititation, the
Osirian myth can't hold a candle to Ra."

> > ...The godforms used by Mathers and
> > Westcott are allegories for the Forces being invoked, and since
> > allegories are only applicable if they are used in context, when the
> > context changes, so must the allegories....
> 
> why doesn't changing the context also change the methodology?

Why should it, if the methodology comes first? The methodology is the
technology, the tools for construction. The Golden Dawn in the Outer is
about learning to use the tools. The Second Order is about using them to
build a Magickal Being. The only 'context' that matters is that what one
builds should fit into it's environment and also be pleasing and useful
to its occupant.
 
> > Re is correct when he says that Crowley's intention with the A.A. was
> > to "supplant" the old Aeon formula used by the original H.O.G.D. Our
> > intention is not the same as Crowley's -- our goal is to redact, not
> > to replace.
> 
> in other words, you didn't shift the whole previous system down into
> 'precursors' to your own set-up, en par with how the Scottish Rite
> and the OTO attempted to do with the Freemasonry, or how the AA
> attempted it as detailed above.

I think I see what you're getting at, and the answer is no. The
cirriculum of training and its graded multi-level structure -- and the
Golden Dawn is first and foremost a teaching order -- as described in
the Ciphers is what we still use. Crowley really did toss the whole
thing out and start over. The cirriculum of the AA is quite different
from that of the GD.

> > Here's the rub: we're using the G.D. methodology and structure,
> 
> at what point must you admit of a departure? that is the real issue,
> from what I can see.

Let's define the Golden Dawn as being a college of classic Western
Magickal technique, and attaining to all the Grades as equivalent to
getting your 'bachelor's degree' in Western Magick. If you have a degree
in anything, it's assumed that means you've been schooled in certain
areas of knowledge and technique. In the case of the Golden Dawn
'degree', these include the Qabalah, the Hebrew alphabet, the Planetary
godforms, Alchemy, Astrology, Tarot, Geomancy, Enochiana and Tattvas, 
as well as the basic knowledge of meditation, visualization, 
vocalization and so on.

By this measure, a "graduate" of the old Hermetic Order's school (the
Outer Order) and a graduate of the OSOGD's school would be trained in
the same knowledge and techniques. Anyone who could pass the old Order's
Grade examinations could use the same knowledge to pass our examinations
and vice versa -- it's the same curriculum.

The points of departure are in the rituals used to signify the
Aspirant's attainment of each Grade. For this we analyzed what the
symbolism of each Grade ritual is supposed to represent in the path of
the Aspirant, by referencing the original Cipher documents and building
on the framework defined in them. This is exactly what Westcott and
Mathers did. The difference being that they interpreted it in the light
of their 19th century Christian world-view. We don't share that
world-view. So naturally our redaction is not going to be the same as 
theirs.
 
> > not the A.A.'s.
> 
> both the GD and the AA were fashioned as secret societies. by virtue
> of Open Source aren't you destroying the methodology of the GD? this
> seems the most logical trajectory of argument which someone like Re
> might take after disputing particulars of rite that you've admitted.

Someone else I've corresponded with pointed this out, but also pointed
out that by removing the word "Hermetic" -- which at its root means
"sealed in" (read:secret) -- from our name and replacing it with "Open
Source", we clearly indicate our paradigm shift.

In the old Aeon, secrecy was required to protect the safety of the
members. Westcott was "outed" and had to publicly resign from the Order
to avoid losing his livelihood. Scandal came anyway as a result of the
Horos case. The text of the Neophyte ritual was read into the court
record and the proper Victorian Christians of the time were properly
horrified. In that era (when anti-witchcraft laws were still on the
books) such practices, if made public, had serious personal
consequences. The secrecy served an actual purpose. (We do of course 
respect of member's privacy, and declaring themselves publically is 
entirely up to the individual.)

These conditions no longer obtain. In the first place, the "secrets" 
are no longer secrets anyway -- the Golden Dawn has been "open 
source" in actual fact since Crowley's publication in 1914. To 
swear Initiates to oaths of secrecy regarding GD materials today 
is ludicrous.

In the second place, our is the Information Age, and secrecy is
contraindicated. The only purpose ritual secrecy serves now is the
hoarding of information for personal advantage and profit. This is a
very practical example of "the rituals of the old time are black."

> > Crowley went the whole hog and created a new structure, changing
> > the "knowledge" teachings, the Grades, the requirements for
> > advancement,the core rituals, the tools, etc.
> 
> thanks for detailing these. all of these remain the same in the OSGD?

With some very minor adjustments, yes. (Example: the Wand of the Hegemon
bears the Feather of Ma'at on it's head rather than the Cross of 
Christianity.)

> you've already said that the rites have changed somewhat. I think you
> also mentioned that you've changed the knowledge lectures, though I
> may be mistaken.

The Knowledge Lectures have been "changed" only in that we have added to
them. We took nothing out. We did add quite a bit of explanatory text to
certain sections, such as explaining what the Houses and Aspects signify
in Astrology; the old Order simply required these things be learned by
rote, without explaining what they meant.

Our requirements for Grade advancement are actually more stringent than
the old Hermetic Order. Our Aspirants must learn all the things theirs
had to, and then some. And unlike so many Orders today, our Grade exams
must be taken in the presence of a proctor and answers given from memory
without books or notes. They even include essay questions!
 
> > And in any case, the A.A. is far more
> > precisely "tuned" to a particular set of godforms than is the core
> > system of the Golden Dawn, as described in the Cipher Manuscript.
> 
> there's that buck-stops-at-Cypher-Ms thing again. ok.

Well, we're being honest and open about our sources, again unlike so
many manifestations of the Order today. A certain group, for example,
touts their "pre-GD esoteric sources" and is loth to publicly reveal
these sources in their entirety, or give an unambiguous accounting of
where and from whom they were obtained. In our era, there is simply 
no compelling reason to withhold esoteric knowledge except to use it 
as a 'hook' to attract followers (usually of the paying variety) and 
coerce compliance in the internal ranks. 

By contrast, anyone can obtain our sources on-line or in several 
published books. Open Source.
 
> > Which is to say, the system revealed in the Manuscript is *much*
> > less specific than the one Crowley obviously 'micro-engineered'
> > to conform with Thelemic religion, and is therefore more malleable.
> 
> extracting the Cypher Ms. from the tradition and extending off of it
> according to Thelemic interests seems to be what you're saying is
> "redacting the Golden Dawn".

"Extracting the Cypher Ms. from the tradition" is non-sequitor -- the
Cipher IS "the tradition." Westcott and Mathers built an "extended" 
tradition on that original tradition. We are doing the same thing they 
did, though naturally with different results.

> "Secretary ECT":
> >> ...the 'magic' of the 'Golden Dawn' has to do with the 'resurrected god'.
> >
> > We disagree with this view.
> 
> so it seems that this is definitely one of the points of disagreement
> over the character of what you are creating (godforms involved).

Of course. We aren't using the Outer Order of the GD as a prep school
for a Christian Rosicrucian Inner Order, so we aren't compelled to ram
the square peg of the Pagan mysteries revealed in the Mss. into the
round hole of Christianity -- for example, by pasting the Osirian Myth
on top of it. It could even be possible that Mathers' "Continental 
contacts" were Rosicrucians who deliberately and underhandedly used a 
gullible Mathers to hijack the current of a non-Christian mystery 
tradition and convert it to a tool of their own dogma.
 
> > Our position is based on the fact that such allegorical symbolism
> > was wrapped around the fundamental training system of the
> > Golden Dawn by Westcott and Mathers.
> 
> I thought they were pretty much considered the fashioners of the GD.
> you're saying that only the Cypher Ms. matters, it seems.

That is correct, though somewhat over-simplified. The Mss. gives a
baseline description of what is "Golden Dawn". Westcott and Mathers
didn't invent the name "Golden Dawn", it's named as such in the Mss
itself. They were the fashioners of the HERMETIC ORDER of the Golden
Dawn, a specific manifestation. 

It's kind of like how so many people think that Henry Ford invented
the automobile. He didn't, he simply came up with the most popular
manifestation of it, and almost all subsequent manifestations have 
followed Ford's general pattern (for example, steering wheels instead 
of joysticks or cranks, and brake pedal on the left.)
 
> > It's an outer form, not the core of the system.
> > The core of the system is found in the Cipher Manuscript.
> 
> how did you determine where the "core" ended and the "outer" began?
> it seems rather arbitrary to me, because like Re one might select
> something larger and call it "core" and arrive at the opposite
> conclusion. is there some precedent for determining this "core"?

One has to draw the line somewhere. The Cipher self-identifies as "the
name and order/Golden Dawn." (Folio 1). So it's not illogical to take it
at face value and say, "what's in this document that calls itself 
"Golden Dawn" is what is 'Golden Dawn'."

> > Since most operating GD groups *are* based on Osirian orientation,
> 
> this argues for the orientation being "core".

So does that mean that only Fords should be properly called
"automobiles", just because they were a rarity before Henry started mass
producing them? In some way, shape or form, "Golden Dawn"
existed before Westcott found their coded manuscripts, just as the
automobile existed before Ford started cranking out Model Ts. They even
styled their lodge "No. 3", implying there were precedents. If the
Cipher Mss is considered the record of the first precedent, then what's
in the Ciphers must define the form.

> > The most popular versions of the GD
> > materials available are from the Stella Matutina, who were clearly
> > religious Christians,
> 
> did they self-identify as such? 

They certainly had all the trappings of Christian religion, including
the belief in Jesus as the incarnated God and Savior. It can all be
found in Regardie's 'black doorstop'. Read the description of the Rose
Cross Lamen, for example, or the benediction at the end of any of 
their Z2 based ritual forms.

> I've sometimes desired to identify
> others as such but out of respect I realized that my evaluations
> would be extreme and tried to keep them at bay. here, you seem to
> be evaluating their religion while simultaneously maintaining that
> religion isn't really the issue when dealing with "godforms". I'm
> not sure you're being consistent and I'd like to hear your response.

I'm certainly not trying to invalidate what Westcott/Mathers and their
successors built on the basic core of the GD system. Religion isn't an
"issue" in the sense that it doesn't matter what one builds on the
bare-bones framework of the Ciphers as far as "validity" goes. All we're
saying is that our redaction is every bit as valid as Westcott and
Mathers' version, not that it is "better" or "the only true way". We
happen to think it's better, but that's just our opinion and YMMV. The
"traditionalists" argue that the GD system is Osirian/Christian
exclusively, and we argue that it *can* be INclusive of that
interpretation (although we think it's a particularly bad fit) but that
it doesn't EXclude other interpretations.

So the response is that religion isn't an issue because more than one
religious interpretation can be redacted onto the basic framework of the
Ciphers, so evaluation of religions doesn't enter into the equation.
 
> > so most people take this to mean that whatever is
> > contained in them is *the* "Golden Dawn". It seems as if few people --
> > including many GD practitioners -- have ever actually read the Cipher
> > Manuscript itself. It can be quite revealing. Many people are surprised
> > to find that no godforms whatsoever are represented in the 0=0 Neophyte
> > Ritual and Initiation, for example.
> 
> so your argument really comes down to the contention that the Cypher
> Manuscript constitutes the "core" and nothing else need be maintained
> in order to link, methodologically, to the GD in name-brand?

As I said, that's simplistic, but fairly accurate.
 
> > Most people don't realize how much Mathers et al. layered on top of the
> > Mss. There are no godforms in the 0=0 Hall. There are Angelic Names in
> > the 1=10 (and throughout all the Grades), used as metaphors for the
> > Forces being invoked (expressed in the meanings of their Hebrew letters
> > and gematra.) Osiris appears in the 2=9, and again in the 4=7. "Christ"
> > appears *once*, and it's a passing metaphoric reference in the 4=7, and
> > it's *not* a reference to Osiris. The Main Officers play many godforms,
> > even swapping roles -- the Heirus speaks as Osiris in the 2=9. The
> > Hegemon assumes the form of Isis instead of Ma'at in one Path, even
> > though (theoretically) Isis can't leave the Dais -- she's behind the
> > Veil. There are other similar examples. The operative function appears
> > to be that the Officers simply assume various godforms (Hebrew, Egyptian
> > and/or Hellenic) as required by the Work of the particular Hall.
> 
> why isn't this the methodology? what clearly delineates "method" from
> "variation on the method"?

Adding something (such as specific godform assignment to the 0=0
officers of the Hall) is a "variation" because no godforms were originally
specified. When they *are* specified (in the higher Grades), it's clear 
they are specific to the particular work of that Grade initiation, for 
the same Officers adopt different godforms in different Grades.
 
> > Here's a useful comparison: Any Muslim accepts that the Koran is the
> > canonical basis of Islam. However, some Muslims give equal standing to
> > other historical Muslim teachings which came later, such as the
> > Shari'ah, which dictates the "Islamic Law" meant to govern earthly
> > affairs.
> > Therefore, to such strict fundamentalists as the Taliban,
> > anyone who does not adhere to the Shari'ah is not practicing 'real'
> > Islam and has no right to call themselves Muslim. Many Muslims strongly
> > disagree with this position, and believe the Shari'ah may have been a
> > useful part of Islam *in its time*, but it is no longer a necessary
> > guide to life in the 21st century. They believe that anyone who accepts
> > only the Koran as the basis of their religion may properly be called
> > "Muslim", regardless of whether or not they follow the Shari'ah or other
> > subsequent teachings.
> 
> but you're dealing in religions again, so this is somewhat confusing.
> you see what I'm getting at, don't you? you're using religious analogies

This seems like splitting hairs to me. I used an analogy to
automobiles also. Does that mean I think that the GD is a car, or can
only be discussed or understood as compared to cars? Or simply there is
something in the analogy that could illustrate the point?

> while claiming that what you're doing is not religion per se (in order
> to shift the godforms and not be accused of conversion to Thelema).

Eh? I don't understand where you got all that from. Why would "claiming
that what you're doing is not religion per se" preclude one from using a
analogy to religion? Karl Marx called religion "the opiate of the
people". Was he precluded from using the analogy to make a point simply
because he saw what he was doing not as religion but as sociology? (One
could argue the 'religious' nature of Marxism, but that's beside the point.)

If anyone wants to accuse us of "conversion to Thelema" they're welcome
to do so. We happen to think that Thelema is the natural development
from the GD system into our age. But then, we've incorporated elements
of boddhichitta and the Vajrayana into our rituals as well. So are we
accused of converting to Buddhism? Our Adoration in the 0=0 has 
distinct elements of the Tao Te Ching. Are we also accused of converting 
to Taoism? Some of our training includes using Spare's Sigil system in 
the GD context. Are we also Chaos Magicians? And our Portal Grade 
requires the death-and-rebirth of the Aspirant according to the Osirian 
formula. So are we Christians too?

See what I'm getting at here?

Our redactions are based on effacy and reason, rather than religious
restrictions. Everything the old Hermetic Order did with the core
teachings of the GD Mss had to serve the over-arching purpose of
conforming to Christian doctrine. Our's serve the over-arching purpose
of what makes sense (to us) for our time, and what works in practice.

> so you're basically Mackenzieist Golden Dawn, were you to agree with some
> writers on the subject and come to the logical conclusion that Kenneth
> Mackenzie created the document and ciphered it in Trimethian code before
> sending it along to Westcott (or passing it on in his paperwork
> inherited by him from KM's wife), despite Westcott's subsequent
> mythologizing via the fictitious 'Fraulein Sprengel'.
> 
> > So this all comes down to (oh the horror!) a sectarian debate.
> 
> not quite. Mackenzie didn't ever claim to have created the GD, 

This is making me dizzy. Do you mean the writer(s) of the Mss (Mackinzie
or whomever) didn't claim to be "the" Golden Dawn? Yes they did, it's
named as such in the document, in the first lines of the first page.

> whereas
> I think Mathers and Westcott *did* identify the entirety of what they
> created as the Golden Dawn. 

As the HERMETIC ORDER of the Golden Dawn. Number three. They were quite
clear that they were not the originators.

> subtract anything from it or change a part
> of it and you have an argument for why you're not doing the same thing
> as long as you're not directly connected via lineage. I haven't under-
> stood from you why you have selected the Cipher Ms. as a stop-point.

Because it self-identifies itself as being such, and Westcott/Mathers
took that core and added on to it.

> > It's like
> > the Catholic theologians telling the Protestants that since they don't
> > accept the Holy Trinity, the veneration of Mary, and the apostolic
> > succession of the Pope, they aren't practicing "real" Christianity and
> > shouldn't call themselves "Christian".
> 
> or is it more like Muslims telling Christians that since their prophet
> died on the cross or was ferretted away prior to actually dying, he
> deserves a prominent place as a teacher but not as God Himself? there's
> more than one direction you can come at this (from behind or in front).

You've totally lost me now. I'd need that clarified in non-allegorical
terms before I could even comment on it. I *think* I agree with that,
but 
I'm not sure...
 
> > There's a line in the Cipher Manuscript that says, "Avoid Roman
> > Catholics, but with pity." Perhaps there is an occult meaning of
> > those words that can illuminate this debate.
> 
> I gather it is intended to imply the masonic character of the document.

I'm sure that was the point of it. But taken in a "higher sense",
perhaps it serves as a lesson in "don't let this happen to you": avoid
turning the system detailed in the Mss into some form of "Magical
Catholicism", which the Stella Matutina seems to have tried to do, and
HOMSI does unabashedly in our time.

I hope this long-winded response answers your questions. Fr. IO sends a 
tip of the pointy hat. It's good to have thoughtful introloqutors.

- Fr. A.o.C.


'The old beauty is no longer beautiful; the new truth is no longer
true', is the eternal cry of a developing and really vitalised life. Our
civilisation has passed through the First Empire of pagan sensualism;
and the Second Empire of mistaken sacrifice, of giving up our own
independence, our own courage. And the Third Empire is awaiting those of
us who can see -- that not only on Olympus, not only nailed to a Cross,
but IN OURSELVES is God. For such of us, the bridge between flesh and
spirit is built; for such among us hold the Keys of Life and Death. --
Soror S.S.D.D (Florence Farr), Chief Adept of Isis-Urania No.3

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Care Frater:

Gnome d Plume wrote:

> I'm not going to repost all of this but I do want to say that it was
> one of the best , most informative and insightful posts we've had on
> this NG in quite a while--even though I don't completely agree with
> you on the minimal importance of Osiris, either in the background of
> the G.D. or the Western Tradition in general. 

I don't want to give the impression that the Osirian Mythos is
completely devoid of magickal value. We still use it, in the Portal
Grade. The Aspirant still has to deal with the Dead Guy -- and get
beyond Him. He's a vehicle, not the destination; a means, not an end. 

> The Osirian concept was
> spiritually in advance of Moses at a much earlier date, and the direct
> precursor of the Christ myth and the Hiram Abiff legend. The  R.R. et
> A.C.'s candidate crucifixion is not an exercise in Christianity.
> Christians cannot become Christ, they can only be Christ-like. 
> R.R. et A.C. resurrection symbolism is essentially Osirian.

I take your point. Frankly, there are many Pagans (at least those who
were raised in a Christian culture and rejected it) who have to come to
terms with and understand the difference in order to transcend it.
Relating it to Osiris helps, just as in a similar but inverted way,
relating Osiris to Christ helped Christians come to terms with Osiris
and Paganism.

- Fr. A.o.C.


"I know that I am mortal by nature and ephemeral; but when I trace, at my
pleasure, the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch
earth with my feet; I stand in the presence of Zeus himself, and take my
fill of ambrosia."  -- Claudius Ptolemy

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mika wrote:

> Remember that Osiris was only cockless for a brief period of time, a
> time which can be considered an intermediate stage of a magickal or
> alchemical process.  Prior to Set chopping Osiris to pieces, he had a
> penis.  After Isis refashioned and animated a replacement penis,
> Osiris sired himself as Horus, who has a penis.  So cockless Osiris is
> only a transitory phase.  Well, that's just one myth version, but
> personally I'm not aware of any Osiris myth that maintains him as a
> cockless God.

I think you all have the order of events mixed up.

First, Set tricked Osiris into getting into the "ornate box" -- the
first sarcophagus -- and locked him inside it, then cast it into the
Nile, where Osiris died of suffocation. The box drifted down the Nile
until it came to rest in the land of Lebanon, where a great cedar tree
grew around it. So magnificent was this tree that the king of Lebanon
had it cut down to make the central pillar of his palace. When Isis 
discovered the deed of Set, She and Anubis searched wide in the world to
find the corpse of Her husband with hopes of resurrecting Him. With the
help of Anubis (and His great sense of smell) She found Her mate in the
pillar of the Hall of the King of Lebanon. Isis posed as a nurse maid in
service to the Queen of Lebanon to aid her with the sickly child she had
born. Isis bided Her time until She could be alone in the feasting hall
and rescue Her Husband.

One night when the Moon was dark and the whole world was quiet, Isis
stole silently into the Feasting Hall. Using Her great craft She cracked
open the shell of the Great Cedar and released the Sarcophagus of Set
which held the body of Osiris. She loosed the pins that held fast the
door and swung it open. Within She beheld the face of Her Brother, Her
lover, Her Husband, the Green God, indeed now truly Green of Flesh.

She wailed in sorrow so piercingly that the son of the King died of
fright and the Great Cedar cracked further and the very roof began to
collapse. Shedding Her enchantment disguise of a nurse maid, Isis swept
Her wings about the body of Osiris and lifting Her skirts She entered
His coffin to kneel over His body. 

So great, so profound is the Beauty of Isis the Divine that even in
death the Phallus of Osiris attended to Her call. She mounted Him and
danced the bitter sweet dance of mourning until the Great God did come
forth into Her. Thus Horus the Younger was conceived. Then She gathered
up His Body, the box and the boy Anubis and fled back to Khem, as the
roof the Feasting Hall of the King of Lebanon collapsed behind them.

When Set heard that Isis was to attempt to revive Osiris He set out to
hunt down and destroy the body of Osiris. He found the body and cut it
into 12 pieces and scattered them around the land of Khem. Isis, with
the help of both Nephthys and Thoth, gathered all the pieces together
save one, His sacred Phallus. Then with Her magick She re-animated
Osiris, but having died He could not return to the land of the living,
for He could not bear the light of the Sun. So He became the Lord of the
Underworld, never to return.

And He never did get His Phallus back, for it was lost in the delta of
the Nile, where it gives forth life with each Spring, and is cut off
again with each harvest.

> There is a very direct and easy way to associate Tamuz/Dumuzi's
> 'bolting lettuce stalk growing by the water' with Osiris, as Isis
> fashioned Osiris' new penis from wood that had grown by the Nile.

It should also be mentioned that Tamuz was not a God, but a mortal man.
So the parallel is not exact.

- Fr. A.o.C.

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mika wrote:

> Thanks for a beautifully written story.

I am compelled to admit that it was, for the most part, cribbed from Fr.
IO's "The Tale Of Hoor", which can be read in it's entirety at:
http://www.osogd.org/library/study/knowledge/KNL1.html . (See Part 10)

> Yeah, after discussing this with a friend last night I realized I had
> some events mixed up, but the myth I know is still a bit different
> than the one you wrote above.  In the version I know, before Isis can
> retrieve Osiris from the cedar, Set chops the tree and Osiris up into
> pieces and scatters them.  So in a way, Osiris dies twice, first when
> he is buried in the tree, then when he is chopped up and scattered.

There are SO many variations on the basic story. They seem to be revised
every so often to conform with whatever the reigning orthodoxy was at
the time.

Even the story of the war between Horus and Set may well be political
propaganda by the priests of Osiris; Set was "restored" to his place of
honor as protector of the Barque of Ra and slayer of Apophis in the 19th
Dynasty, though eventually he was again deposed from this positon and,
for good measure, he was EQUATED with Apophis as "god of Evil" in the
New Kingdom (1554-1085 BCE). 

There is a papyrus from the era when Set was honored (Sallier IV, recto
2, 6ff), which was a 'mythically rendered short story' called "The
Contendings of Horus and Seth". The papyrus has several other literary
works on it, so it may have been used by its owner for storytelling or
entertaing himself and his guests. The text is, in fact, an odd
departure from the typical literary form used for sacred texts. The
behavior of some of the Great Gods is so shocking and strange that it's
hard to imagine it was not meant humorously, or as some form of
political satire. (Isis, for example, is depicted as harpooning the two
combatants who had assumed the forms of hippopotamii.) Yet at the same
time it conforms to the basic sacred concepts and uses the proper
hororifics. The juxtaposition of coarse humor and serious religion is
explained by some experts as a feature of the time it was set down. It's
possible that it was meant as a political satire (a common literary form
of the time) that ridiculed and reputiated the previous telling of the
tale with Set as the "villian".

As is pointed out in "The Tale of Hoor", there are many retellings of
the story, obviously altered to fit the beliefs of the dominant priesthood.

See "The Conflict of Horus and Set from Egyptian and Classical Sources"
by J. Gwyn Griffiths and "The Literature of Ancient Egypt", edited by
William Kelly Simpson.

> As my friend put it, Osiris isn't fertile like a corn God, he -is- the
> corn, he is the seed that gets planted.  His fertility is a result of
> the (alchemical) process he himself goes through, it's not a spreading
> the seed fertility like some kind of Green Man (if anyone gets that
> pun, take ten steps towards enlightenment...).

It still fits the tale of John Barleycorn though, for it is His body
itself that is cut down, cut up and consumed, then the "pieces" (seeds)
are scattered to repeat the cycle.

- Fr. A.o.C.

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