Lineage over experimentation

Here is another older essay which I have found and saved for this blog

There is a moment after you have received your 5=6 where you are sitting in your temple, your elemental weapons are consecrated and you are left wondering what to do next. True you might have shed-loads of papers given to you buy your order, but these are practical and experimental.
It is a very lonely feeling. You know that, despite the fact you are in an Order, what you do from now on is your own work.
No longer are you told “you must do this”, it is up to you to follow your path alone and as an individual. It is therefore not surprising that once people have reached a 5=6 they duck out of the GD and go and find something else. The strange thing is that “something else” could easily be included within the GD system. The Inner Order is such a wide series of concepts it is possible to hammer in any aspect of the Western Mystery Tradition within it with only a couple of knocks. However this approach is the opposite of the fantasy image of the GD as a physical order with intellectual teachings that take you from cradle to grave.
Anyone who is great in the Inner Order has carved a path of research of their own, usually in the form of a speciality. My take on the Inner Order is different from another Adept in the same Order, let alone others who might be members of other groups. One of the reasons is that within the GD the second order is not as tangible as the outer. True there are people running it within a group, but they are more symbolic in comparison to your own work. The only requirement is that you have to show up once a year to swap notes with others in your group. That is not enough to build a significant egregore on the lower astral, and therefore any group mind is formed at a higher level over many decades.
This is one of the reasons why the search for lineage within the higher grades of the Inner Order is a chimera. It is not simply a matter of ‘if you are doing the work it is more important than any grade you might hold’. It is that you are carving your own path through the intellectual information and finding your own spiritual direction within a system. If you are not doing that, you have no grade. There is no one who can really give you a grade, other than your own Higher Genius. Nor
is there anyone who can give you a certificate to tell you are connected enough to the tradition to initiate another. Most grades in the GD are pretty subjective, but often it comes down to what other people in the system will acknowledge you are and what you can do. In the case of Pat Z for example he has rescued information that could have been lost after the end of Whare Ra. But more than that his own personal work has managed to breath new life into it. the fact that he has managed to present that to others, in his books and his own group is an bonus.
However if you read between the lines of his books, it is clear that his own ideas and experimentation with GD concepts have given him the understanding to move the system on in his direction.
The work of the Inner is to make the work ‘real’. Lineage is something that is handed from one person to another, but it is a shadow of what it should be. It is a symbol of a spiritual lineage which is not handed
down from one person to another on a piece of paper. It is a connection to the Second Order, which is by far above all that, and links you to the innovators of Magic going back to the dawn of time. This is one of the other reasons I find the search for the Third Order so amusing. It is often carried out by those who have not truly found the nature of the Second Order.

Golden Dawn Spirit Vision over Pathworking

Since the 1960s the idea of ‘pathworking’ has largely changed the Golden Dawn techniques of ‘Rising on the Planes’.
Gareth Knight once told me that he started out using the GD techniques and then discovered they worked well without many of involved details that the older system had.
Recently I have been reviewing the GD techniques as part of my own work and am starting to wonder if the baby has gone out with the bathwater.
My own book. Magical Pathworking, uses modern techniques. But my view has been that they are taking place within the person’s own psyche and if they extend into the macrocosm it is more or less by accident.
This was good and powerful because it enabled much transformation work to be done on the personality. However it did lead to the lower aspects of the self overwhelming the experience.
Reading carefully what the GD was up to it is clear that they wanted to go beyond the personality and into the macrocosm. They argued that thought when projected with the strength of the lower will, under the guidance of reason, and illuminated by Higher Will can manage this task.
With this in mind the Adept sends a thought ray, illuminated by his Higher Self to the symbol which resides in his Sphere of Sensation. From that point the adept sees the Macrocosmic view and may step into it.
Boiling down the formula the GD system requires a lot more donkey work before such a Macocosmic pathworking is attempted.
Firstly the person selects an objective or destination. This is wide, for example I will go to the 32nd Path. But it will not be simply throwing one’s self onto the astral and seeing what you get. This is because you need the focus of an objective to get the sort of information you are after.
Next the operator would swat up on all the correspondences associated with the path and review any intellectual knowledge they may have. There should be some meditation on the various symbols. This makes the unconscious mind susceptible to the symbols and will open channels to improve vision. In addition the operator should memorise any names sigils and other tokens that are connected to the path.
The adept would then write and work invocations to the divine and angel powers that are set over that path. This could include the pentagrams and hexagram rituals. This empowers the intellectual learning within the sphere of sensation and creates a Macrocosmic connection.
Next the operator creates a Gate in his imagination. The most common is the Gate of the Veil, which is a door frame with a veil with the colour of the path and a symbol of the path.
This gate is supposed to be at the edge of the adepts sphere of sensation and forms the link between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic. It is clear reading the diaries of those who have used these techniques that there is a link formed in the process between the individual and the macrocosm and the result is much stronger.
Modern Pathworking has kept the gate but removed its real purpose. A pathworking begins at the gate with little precursor. This means that the result cannot be beyond the person’s own psychological sphere. The experience is limited because it can only give intellectual extensions of knowledge rather than Microcosmic bursts of inspiration.
The flow of a GD pathworking is connected to the operator’s own spiritual energy which allows the sphere of sensation to be reprogrammed by the experience.

Interview with Pat Zalewski

A couple of years ago I wrote this and it disappeared into cyber space. Anyway I get a few more hits on this blog these days so I thought it might be of interest.

Interview with Pat Zalewski

With his latest book ‘The Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn’, now in the shops, the Golden Dawn Doyen Pat Zalewski talks to me about working in one of the oldest systems of Hermetic Magic in the World.

In the 1960’s Pat Zalewski had his first brush with spirituality. After working as a boatman for an American company on the Meikong River. Though based in Thailand, he did regualr trips across to Laos and occasionaly to Cambodia. He was wounded twice in Laos and after six months found himself suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome in search of some sort of peace in India.

There were many things that Pat had tried to deal with his experiences. Martial Arts, Tai Chi had supplied him with a discipline and a sense of how energy moved, but he was still a mess.

“When I got to India, Tantra was like sipping a cool glass of water on a hot day. ” he said.

He studied Tantric master Vivandatta for six months then enrolled in a four day block course in Yogic breathing at the University of Calcutta, which helped shape his view on energy dynamics.

At the time Pat says he got a lot out of his time under Vivandatta, but with a catholic upbringing he found his experiences in tantra limiting. He knew he had to accept a Hindu theology and he was not ready to do so.

“The Hindu Gods tend to get in the way a bit and do not offer much in return,” he says.

He returned to Australia in 1969 and became black belt in Karate under Hireo Tanaka, a former stduent of karate master Gichin Funakoshi. He decided move to New Zealand on a whim and stayed there for 30 years, serttling in Wellington. It was > there that the spiritual quest continued, this time in the Western Mystery Tradition.

He was drawen to the Golden Dawn through reading Dion Fortune, and Ithell Colquhoun and Regardie. When he read Regardie’s Llewellyn Publications tome it was like being greated by an old friend. . To Pat there was little difference between the East and the West. Both used energy, but the Golden Dawn was ambiguously Christian and didn’t require much of a theological jump.

Colquhoun mentioned a branch of the Order which operated in Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand and Chris, who grew up there, rang up a few friends to see if she could track it down.

The temple, called Whare Ra had declared itself dead a few years before. The temple had been closed and sold. Older members of the temple were keen to keep their veils of secrecy. When Pat and Chris tracked down the former head of the Order, John Von Dadelson he told them he was not interested in talking. However somehow they managed to find some Whare Ra people who were.

The most important of these was Jack Taylor. Jack had left Whare Ra in the 1960s over a row about the Order’s future direction.

Pat says that like many magical orders close to death, Whare Ra had promoted leaders who were shadows of their predecessors. It was crippled by the secrecy that had protected it for so long. While it had meant that many of the members could be high profile community leaders, in the late 20^th century it meant that it could not take advantage of the boom in interest in esoteric thought.

“Those leaders had made it into tight group which could not grow,” says Pat. “Some members were more interested in Christian mysticism than magic and much of the teaching material was censored or moved up to higher grades where only the leadership would see them.”

Taylor on the other hand had studied under Mrs Felkin, one of the founders of the Order, and was much more interested in practical magic.

Although Taylor was not sure if there was any shelf life left in the Golden Dawn, he showed Pat and Chris a version of the Golden Dawn which could not be found in the Israel Regardie books.

Talking to Pat, this Golden Dawn was about energy and the way God forms work and interact. There is no scope for those who think they can grab the rituals from a book shelf and get the same effect. Nor does it suit those armchair magicians who love to pontificate on intellectual niceties without picking up a wand.

But Taylor’s approach does not favour those who think they can skip the theory in favour of the ‘intuitive approach’ either.

” Theory for me in very important. I go 50 percent practical and 50 percent theory,” said Pat. “You can do ritual without knowing all the theory but that is up to the individual. You can’t teach this quality as it is in you to start with, but when you tecah others you must give theory to those who cannot do the practical.”

At the same time the Golden Dawn was a living system. This flies in the face of what a number of people say about the Golden Dawn, namely that its language is out of date and its rituals too clunky for the modern era.

Pat says that such critics should look a lot harder and blame the way they have been taught about the Golden Dawn.

“The fault is then in the teacher in not explaining in plain language what is happening… the real depth of the GD has not yet been reached,” he says.

After several years of training, Taylor gave Pat the highest grade he could, a 7=4, and chartered them to build a temple in Wellington. Thoth Hermes ran for a number of years and managed to get three of its members into the 7=4 grade before it closed.

Pat started to write down his experiences, mostly to make sure that the teaching that Taylor had given him was not lost. This lead to a string of books and lead him to become a well known GD pundit.

In the early 1980’s, Pat wrote to Israel Regardie about a collection of documents called the ‘Processes’ that Felkin had taken from Rudolph Steiner. These documents were not well known in Whare Ra nor was their influence and direction. This resulted in them corresponding for a year with Regardie, who visited Pat in Wellington in August 1983.

“We gave him an honorary 6=5 in appreciation for his efforts in preserving the Golden Dawn. It was just something we wanted to do in appreciation for how much we admired the man.,” Pat says.

However Pat said that there were differences in the way that Regardie saw the Golden Dawn and what Taylor had taught him.

The Modern Golden Dawn groups base a lot of their views on how Israel
Regardie saw the system, what are the flaws in this approach?

“Francis was great friend of mine, but at one point he wanted to strip the GD down to a planetary system, have sheets of coloured plastic over the vault walls and also was to ignore the elemental grades (just using watch tower rituals) because he thought them worthless, ” Pat says. Francis had a tremendous intellect but he also was one eyed at the best of times on certain issues- as we all are, he added.

Many of the people who follow Regardie’s work never met the man nor knew what he stood for or his personal views on magic.

“They often state a position he took in the 1930’s or when he published the Falcon press edition. I can tell you after he visited us his views changed on the GD in many areas. But the Falcon Press edition was already in final print at that stage or close to it,” Pat said.

Many people believe that everything that can be written about the Golden Dawn has been already published. That which has not, the inner order material, should not see the light of day because it can become too complex for uninitiated.
“I have given both the unpublished Mathers papers of the THAM and a great deal of my interpretation.” Revealing this material is why Pat’s latest book ‘The Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn’ is likely to stir a fair bit of controversy.

He said he started writing the book nearly 16 years ago turning some scattered notes on temple diagrams in a more systematic structure.

Another ‘modern’ Golden Dawn student, Tony Fuller managed to find some of the THAM papers written by Mathers and he had a chance to compare them with what he had done himself. Mary Greer also helped by supplying the table of Shewbread paper.

When Pat put all this together it gave a very clear indication of what Mather’s was trying to achieve with his Inner Order, but it was clear that people needed to do more work to bring this to life.

He felt that by publishing the material he would stimulate others follow suit and make the 5=6 grade the 5 level structure it was designed to be and not just the single level ZAM aspect that was published by Regardie.

However he also realised that this would not be a mass market book for those who wanted a simple how to on the Golden Dawn. The Inner Order Teachings of the Golden Dawn was meant to be a book for those who had more than a symbolic connection with the Order.

The material includes unpublished material on the Hermetic cross, Table of Shewbread, Seven Branched candlestick, the GD trumps and a deeper alchemical understanding of their nature. There is also a Mathers explanation of the 1=10 grade.

“There is a hell of lot there that is new. Also I have included my own diagram explanations as well from various sub grades,” Pat said.

But this does mean a re-think of the way many think Golden Dawn saw its high grades. Rather than being impossible as BOTA and some other GD off-shoots have tried to claim, or purely administrative, Pat sees them is a continuation and deepening of the training system.

Pat thinks that some of the resistance against some of the higher Golden Dawn grades was that many of the founders of such groups never reached that state, nor got any of the papers.

“In BOTA Paul Foster Case got up to ZAM and not above it in the AO. So In BOTA that is the top level. Case never had the full 5=6 papers anyway. So the BOTA stigma came form that. If Case never got beyond 5=6 then no one else would do so. If you read his book True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order then you will find that what he writes about the mastery of these levels. However the dogma of BOTA tends to ignore this fact.” Pat says.

He said that many of them believe that because they have a 8=3 grade they are supposed to be Masters of the Universe who chat to angels. He sees the higher grades as all being in Assiah and the teachings as providing more definition to the elemental rituals and of course more deeper personal studies.

Pat’s latest book can be found here

Robes and the Golden Dawn

Doing all the preliminary work for setting up new temple I have been giving some thought to thinks like cloaks and tabards for the officers. For the last decade, like many groups, we have used tabards in leiu of cloaks. These are cooler than cloaks and less likely to make a mess when you walk around. I consulted the ritual however and it specifically talks about the middle pillar officers wearing robes… black, white and red. The advanced documents show drawings of cloaks.
Robes would be better than tabards or cloaks so why were these used?
The problem with modern perceptions of the GD is the belief that they operated much like we do. People wore robes and then a cloak over the top. However it occurred to me that Victorian women would not be allowed to strip down to just a robe and wear it in front of men even with a cloak over the top. This would like wearing your underwear in a ritual and throwing a cloak over the top. To the victorian middle classes a woman in her underwear was naked!
But you could not wear a robe over a victorian dress (see the picture)
What if instead of wearing robes the GD wore their every day clothes with a cloak over the top? This would be very masonic and in keeping with the tradition and the times.
The weak point in my argument is the question about what the non officers wore. The ritual refers to a black ‘gown’. The meaning of word gown during this period was two different things. There was a the idea of what we would call ‘a dress’ and there was also the concept of what the Victorian judges would have worn — a black shapeless over garment (which could have evolved into the Tau robe but certainly would have looked a lot different.)
Frankly I would not want modern street clothes in a ritual and would favour robes as a modern evolution.
If modern groups were to obey the ritual literally then officers would just wear an appropriately coloured robe with a cross sewn on the breast. These days we dont have a problem with robes so we should abandon the cloaks and tabards completely.