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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: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 21:21:08 GMT

Re O'Stat wrote:
 
> "Fr. A.o.C."  wrote:

> > The possibility that Re doesn't want to admit is that perhaps we are
> > sincerely and honestly convinced of what we are doing, and we earnestly
> > believe our reasons to take the name Golden Dawn are sound.
> 
> On the contrary. I have no reason to doubt that you are sincere.
> But as "Secret Chief" pointed out concerning the A.S.,
> 
> "I don't deny that Denning and Phillips departed from the Golden Dawn
> material in some substantial and interesting ways.  So did Crowley and
> P.F. Case.
> 
> "In that sense, Aurum Solis is no more phoney than the A.'.A.'. or
> BOTA."
> 
> And then, Gnome added:
> 
> "They had some original ideas and made some decent contributions.
> Maybe the U.S. A.S. can rename itself and rise again? Let us hope so."
> 
> That makes perfect sense to me.
> If you depart from the path of a group, rename yourself and rise again.

The Arum Solis case is an interesting one. Using your measure of
remaining "true" to an established tradition to determine 'naming
rights', it's Osbourne Phillips and his new partner who should be
changing *their* name. After all, they're the ones changing the focus of
the original Order (as described by the "Magical Philosophy" series),
while Mr. Billings and others in the US wish to carry on the tradition
as before (I think -- Al is welcome to correct me on this.) So who
should be calling themselves "Arum Solis"?

People who might have been somewhat familiar with the core of the
tradition may well be shocked to find how much the name-bearers have
altered things. Those people would be far more comfortable with what Al
Billings and others are doing, but if they change *their* name, doesn't
that lead to more confusion, not less?

My suggestion would be to use an alternate variation on "Ordo Arum
Solis", which is the original name; the "Arum Solis Society" or some
such. By retaining the identifier of "Arum Solis" somewhere in the name,
it conveys accurate information by use of a specific meme -- which is
the whole purpose of labeling. A label is a symbol for what's behind the
label when it's unpacked.

But if instead they follow your kind of advice and they change the name
to "Occult Al's Club", all the information packing is gone from the
label, for there is no reference in the common lexicon as to the meaning
of "Al", and "occult" is too vague, as is "club". It's useless as a
label. A knowledgeable person who looked at their course of study or
attended a ritual might say, "hey, you guys are doing the Arum Solis
work. Why didn't you just say so in the first place?"

So in point of fact, it would be dishonest of us NOT to use the words
"Golden Dawn" in our name, since that is the system, as named and
described in the Cipher Manuscripts, that we use.

It seems like Phillips has done the same thing with the A.S. that
Mathers did with his RRetAC. What we have here is yet another instance
of the insidious nature of Christianity. Westcott/Mathers chose to view
the ancient tradition of the Golden Dawn as described in the Ciphers --
which is clearly Pagan -- and apply their Christian mind-set to it.
According to Westcott himself, the system of magick described and
elaborated in the Ciphers is far older than Christianity.

Let's say that Westcott never found the Ciphers at all. Assume they
remained hidden until a group of Pagans (like us) found them and
translated them. So this group of Pagans went about building a
functioning magickal order, taking the name "Golden Dawn" from the
document itself, and fleshed out the ritual frameworks using the obvious
Pagan world-view of the document that (also) resonated with their own
beliefs. Why would they not be able to consider themselves a bearer of
the name, intent, and system as it was called in the document they drew
it from?

Osiris in the Hall of Great Truth is not in there. There is no reference
at all to Osiris being equivalent to the Heirophant in the 0=0. Where
did this come from? From Westcott and Mathers, who cut it from whole
cloth. So why is what they did considered equally fundamental to the
nature of "Golden Dawn" as to what's in the fundamental document they
built it on? 

Re, your position is a matter of faith, not reason. We certainly can
"rationalize" our reasons for doing what we do. Is that supposed to be
an insult? Unfortunately, you can't do the same for your position. Your
only consistency is the "four legs good, two legs bad"-like mantra of
"Osiris is the GD, no Osiris is not the GD." You offer no rationale for
this belief, any more than the Christian declaring the Holy Bible is the
"Word of God". You constantly beg the question, rather than offer any
substance to back up what you say.

"The Holy Bible is the Word of God"
"Why is the Holy Bible the Word of God?"
"Because what people wrote about the Holy Bible says the Holy Bible is
the Word of God."

"Osiris is necessary for the Golden Dawn."
"Why is Osiris necessary for the Golden Dawn?"
"Because Wynn Westcott and Samuel Mathers, who popularized about the
Golden Dawn, said Osiris is necessary for the Golden Dawn."

What you're displaying is a faith-based belief that whatever Westcott
and Mathers did is the One True Way of the Golden Dawn, and anyone who
doesn't do things exactly like they did, even if based it on the same
source of the Golden Dawn, is not "Golden Dawn". The fact that you offer
no rationale for your position is evidence that it's a matter of
religious belief for you, not reason. You have no reason, you don't need
any -- your faith is enough. 

We have a situation like that of the Catholics and Protestants.  The
doctrines such as the Holy Trinity, of Transubstantiation, of the
Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the Intercession of Priests were
defined at the Council of Nicene (325ce); they are not explicitly stated
in the Bible. But for Catholics they are as dogmatically binding as
anything that actually IS in the Bible. The Protestant Reformation was
built on the foundation of "if it isn't in the Bible, it isn't necessary."

Re, someone said you were arguing like a mullah. More like you're
arguing like a Catholic priest. The codification of the rites of the old
Hermetic Order by Westcott, Mathers and Woodman is your equivalent of
the Council of Nicene. By your measure, Protestants have no right to
call themselves "Christian" and should have called themselves something else.

If you have any rationale besides this, you've yet to state it.

> Why not be superior to what went before?

Because we're not "superior". We make no claim to be. The notion that we
are 'superior' has never been expounded by us. What gives? We only say
this is what we wish to do, by our best understanding of the Way. We
don't ask anyone else to follow our way or change theirs. We think what
we do is an "improvement" inasmuch as it allows people who do not accept
the Old Aeon paradigm, but still find value in the fundamental core of
the GD system, to work the system and find nothing in it "contrary to
your moral, civil or religious beliefs." That was a compelling reason to
strip the Christian/Osirian dogma away from it and return to the
original core.

> You've already changed so much; take a new name to represent it!
> Stand on your own!

We do take a new name -- is anyone else named "Open Source Order of the
Golden Dawn"?
 
> > In Re's eyes that may make us seriously mistaken. Fair enough. But what
> > bothers me about Re's various pronouncements on the issue us that he
> > tries so hard to ascribe foul and nefarious motivations to our adoption
> > of the name Golden Dawn. If he was simply saying that we're incorrect,
> > that would be fine, for he's entitled to his opinion. But he goes beyond
> > that. He ascribes underhanded motives to what we're doing, and I must
> > object to this characterization.
> 
> And you have every right to do that.
> However, this isn't about me; it's about your group.

It is about you, or about what you're stating as fact without rationale
to back it up.

> I have no doubt you think you should call yourself the G.D.
> I think that, if anything, you should be thankful for my posts as it has
> allowed you and others in your group to rationalize your action.
> 
> But the fact is, you have changed from the original G.D. workings.

No more than did Westcott and Mathers. You've yet to state why what
we're doing is any different, except that they did it before we did.

> Why don't you celebrate that! Why don't you proudly announce it?

We do. It's clearly stated in all of our documents.
 
> IMNSHO, it was a typical Piscean age tradition to claim "We aren't good
> enough! We need an ancient background. We need secret chiefs. We need to
> have a history that goes back 5,000 years."

The original teachings embodied by the Ciphers transcend the Aeons --
this is why they are so useful and effective. The core knowledge in the
Ciphers is *not* the product of the Aeon of Pisces, it is *far* older
than that. Westcott's redaction was a product of that Aeon. Ours is a
product of the current Aeon.
 
What this is is crypto-monotheism. In a polytheistic view you have no
need to make one thing superior to another, but in a monotheistic
(Piscine) tradition, you have to make your God (or belief-set) more
important (or more correct) then any one else's. If I might be allowed a
bit of armchair psychoanalysis too (fair's fair, right?), I think you're
simply projecting your inner monotheism, and with it your insecurities,
on our work so as to condemn it.

> Wake up to the Aquarian age. What YOU have to say is far more important
> than any claim to history. A tradition is nice, but if you're going to
> change it, why call it the tradition?
> 
> Frankly, I seen nothing "nefarious" so much as being locked into a
> Piscean mentality on this naming.

You're psychoanalyzing again. First we're exhibiting a strange sort of
Oedipus Complex, now we're slaves to unconscious conditioning.

Do you have any actual training in psychoanalysis? There are members of
our Order that actually DO have extensive training, who had a lot of
input into our formulation. This question was indeed examined, and
perceived to be inapplicable. You're not bringing up any point that we
haven't already considered ourselves.

> Of perhaps it's just marketing? 

Define "marketing". We're not selling anything, so any nefarious
motivations related to "marketing" are a moot point. If you could alter
that to "advertising", then perhaps I can go along with you, to a point.
We think using "Golden Dawn" in our name is accurate and will attract
the attention of the people our work will appeal to. Many will examine
our work and quickly realize, "No, these folks are a 'New Aeonic'
version of the Order, and I was interested in something more like the
old-fashioned way." And more power to them, may they find their Path
elsewhere. We're honest and up-front about it, instead of hiding some
"inner order" doctrine (like HOMSI's hiding of their Christian dogma
from their outer order initiates) so within minutes one can determine if
what we offer is suitable to a given person.

But other people will be, like so many of the magically-inclined today,
of a less Christian and more Pagan persuasion, but are interested in the
system that spawned so many of the practices of modern Pagans. Before we
came along, they would examine the old Order documents like the Stella
Matutina redactions of Regardie (and carried on by the Ciceros), or the
RRetAC-heavy dogmatism of Griffin's HOGD, or the even heavier Christian
influence of HOMSI, and reject the Golden Dawn system entirely -- due to
the mistaken notion that it is dogmatically Christian (as the Osirian
additions of Westcott/Mathers are by their own admission a "paganized"
representation of Christian doctrine.) Thus these seekers throw the baby
out with the bathwater, not realizing that the core of the system itself
is NOT confined to a particular religion -- or Aeon -- at all. Part of
our Work is to correct this misconception, and reveal the universalist
character of the system.

> How many people would join up with the
> "Occult Sam's Club" as opposed to the "Golden Dawn?"
> :-)

See above comments on "Occult Al's Club".

You see, your position would be more rational if the Ciphers contained
NO MENTION of the name "Golden Dawn" at all -- if rather the name was
coined by Westcott and Mathers. But this is not the case, and that's the
point you never address.
 
> Tradition? 

But there is a tradition, called the Western Mystery Tradition, of with
the Ciphers are a functional microcosm.

> Secret Chiefs? 

The Ciphers make no mention of Secret Chiefs, and neither do we. Another
addition by Westcott (see Runyon's "Secrets of the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscripts")

> A long lineage?

It's the same 'lineage' as the original Hermetic Order, but we're a
different branch off the trunk of that tree.

> Bah!
> Let success be your proof.

That's what we're doing.

> > This is all sadly annoying to me, in that it puts words in our mouths --
> > or in this case, thoughts in our brains. On these forums we have tried
> > our best to clarify our intentions and motivations, and detail the
> > process by which we arrived at our conclusions -- including the
> > conclusion that we are, in spirit and in fact, a satrap of the Golden Dawn.
> 
> You're the Golden Dawn if it was filtered through Crowley.

And what you call "THE Golden Dawn" is the Golden Dawn filtered through
Westcott and Mathers. So?

> You're the Golden Dawn if Osiris is not on the Thrown of the East.

Which is also a concept "filtered" through Westcott and Mathers. POINT
TO OSIRIS AS HEIROPHANT IN THE CIPHERS, Re. You can't. It isn't there.

> You're the Golden Dawn if the focus is on Thelema and not the G.D.

The correct way to put it is "the focus is on Thelema rather than
Christianity." Although this simplistic idea ignores the focus on Buddha
Dharma and Taoism that also make up elements of our redaction.
 
> Unfortunately, that's still not the G.D.

I'll add that one to your litany collection.

> It would not be annoying to you at all if you didn't feel there was some
> truth in what I have posted.

[snipped repetition of the same point]

What utter nonsense! If someone is saying something about you that isn't
true, and you seek to correct it and state your point-of-view, the only
reason to do so is because you think the person is really right? I could
level the same charge at you, Re.

For example: I once posited that perhaps your motivation for this entire
exchange was that you knew someone in our Order and maybe you had
personal reasons to cast aspersions on us. You denied this most
emphatically, and seemed quite annoyed at the idea. "I don't know anyone
in your group. I don't care what you do", you said indignantly. Did you
respond and correct me because there was some truth to what I posted? If
you really don't care what we do, why are YOU taking so much time to
respond? Do we "annoy" you, because you feel there is some truth in what
we have posted?

What concerns me, and inspires me to respond to your questions (and the
questions of others), is that OTHER people reading these exchanges might
think there is "some truth" in what you've posted. I am utterly
convinced that your position is, though not entirely without merit,
fundamentally flawed.

> > We only say this is what we wish to do, based on our best understanding
> > of the Way. We don't ask anyone else to follow our way, or change
> > theirs, or even agree with our interpretation of what "Golden Dawn"
> > means. While we certainly believe we have made an improvement (otherwise
> > what would be the point) what makes that a statement of insincerity? Why
> > is Re so convinced that in our secret hearts we "know" he's "right", and
> > therefore we are lying when we say otherwise?
> 
> Because it annoys you.
> If you didn't think what I have posted was accurate, why would it bother
> you at all?
> 
> If somebody says you never studied anything occult, you could blow it
> off. You know you have. But you're coming up with all sorts of defensive
> rationalizations to support your G.D. claim.

That's a extremely simplistic and inaccurate metaphor. I'm not "blowing
you off", Re. I'm responding to you at length because you're raising
valid issues -- I never said you weren't. Valid questions about complex
issues deserve detailed answers. If the answers are not reducible to
mere platitudes, then they must be extensive. It's a complicated issue.
One could reduce Einstein's Relativity theories to the platitude
"everything is relative", and that would be a factual statement. But the
implications are far more complex, and deserve detailed expansion.

> > I don't like being called a liar. And I will continue to challenge any
> > statement Re makes to that effect, such as his insulting attempts at
> > amateur armchair psychoanalysis.
> 
> Most psychanalysts sit in armchairs.

And know their patients personally and intimately before they offer a diagnosis.

- Fr. A.o.C.

"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and
he'll be warm for the rest of his life." -- Terry Pratchett

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