How is MOAA not a Golden Dawn group

After years of trying to convince me that I am not Golden Dawn, it seems that people now want me to belong to their small pond and take the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea with them. Their argument is that we are using the Golden Dawn rituals and teachings so we MUST be Golden Dawn.  Fortunately life is not that simple.

At a practical level, we can look at why MOAA is NOT Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn shunts on very clear tracks you did something, you passed a test you got a grade, you got to the top, you hung around a bit and taught others. We do not do that…

Perhaps, we need to define what Golden Dawn means. The Golden Dawn was the first order of a three-levelled creation. When it started, it was a masonic style order which allowed women to enter. It was not a magical order and lacked many of the foundations to make it one. When Samuel Mathers tried to make it into a magical order it died in 1900.

The Golden Dawn Rituals are bland and masonic. MOAA does not use the Golden Dawn rituals. It uses a ritual based on the much more magical Whare Ra rites which have adapted those rituals to suit modern magical needs. We have not shortened them or voided any of them, although some parts have been rewritten. We see the outer order as part of a magical process of transformation. We have removed a couple of officers which were there for masonic, rather than magical, reasons and use inner structures and visualisation as part of our work. This was alien to the Golden Dawn.

Officers are required to work with and develop their own godforms. This was not part of the Golden Dawn which believed that everything had to be built by the Hierophant and the chiefs. 

Using the Whare Ra rituals, we are in a different place from the Golden Dawn in any event. Where Ra developed many techniques for its rituals which were unpublished and we use some of these, but we also use modern LATER methods which were developed from Dion Fortune’s tradition.

It is my belief that these provide the missing link that much of what Whare Ra lacked. This means that the energy is different from a Golden Dawn working. We do not use eastern terms or methods. This makes us different from Whare Ra.

Our Portal ritual is ONLY “similar” to the Whare Ra one. Frankly, that ritual was a mess and needed to be rewritten.

The second order 5-6 ritual has been reworked. While many people have praised Mathers’ 5=6 the second and third parts of the ritual do not work properly.

Our Second Order has a different name and different rituals. This concept is alien to the Golden Dawn which saw the 5-6 as sacrosanct.

Our training is much more practical. It has the same rote learning of basic information, but you cannot get to the top by passing a few tests. You have to work with the forces of each initiation.There is also a substantive amount of practical experiences and exercises. This was alien to the Golden Dawn where you would automatically get to the top by passing exams. There is no rush to get to the top. It takes two and a half to five years to go through the outer order of MOAA. This is at odds with the Golden Dawn.

We are also experimental. We encourage people to try things they can manage, we allow people to experiment and see what they get.

Secrecy is not the same as silence. We have some things which we keep secret for practical reasons but we value the Mystery of Silence.

In the second order, material is not generated from other groups and we do not believe any contact requires to provide the Chief adept with a big pile of information yet. In fact everyone works with the contact to their own level of awareness and ability.

Adepts are expected to carry out their own research to add to the tradition. Although I teach, I am not going to be the only one nor do I want people hanging on my every words as a leader. This is against the Golden Dawn which says that only people at the higher grades are worthy.

Contacts and gods are not to be served but worked with. This idea is alien to many occult traditions.

So in terms of hierarchy, the idea that you need a Chief Adept, desperate for attention, swanning around pretending that they are in contact with some visible or invisible chiefs is an anachronism of the Piscean age. This puts us at odds with the Golden Dawn which says the Chief Adept is a god and if you disagree with him, you are in schism.

All religions are treated as important. We are more like Ancient Alexandria mixing Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Hebrew and Christianity. We believe that it is impossible to work that tradition if you do not have some concept bigger than you are. The Golden Dawn was Christian – heretical and accepted other godforms– but still Christian.

We are not concerned with our past or our tradition. We research these things and learn from them, but the value of a paper is not how old it is, but what it a Magician can do with it. This is very alien to the Golden Dawn.
Therefore, when people claim that the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea is Golden Dawn we can safely say… no we are not. We just use some of its techniques.

What we will be is something bigger and something a little more inclusive.  It is really exciting, while at the same time liberating to say “I am not a member of the Golden Dawn.”

Defeating a Golden Dawn Internet Troll

You will have heard how I believe that the Golden Dawn egregore is hopelessly contaminated by the antics of some of its key leaders. Here is a run down of things that the Golden Dawn Internet trolls have in common and how you might defend yourself against a Golden Dawn sock puppet

Internet trolls are not very bright, are fixated on a single idea and can be defeated by using your head

  • They are never use the name of the leader of a group or identify the group which they belong.  Generally, a Golden Dawn leader has to be seen in the eyes of their followers as being above being an Internet troll. If they have a large membership they will use a closed Internet group to ask their followers to pretend to be Internet trolls. If they lack members who will do what they are told they will set up a series of sock puppets. 
  • Golden Dawn leaders who like to attack people are not particularly bright. They will set up a number of sock puppets in and around the same day. While they might patiently not use their sock puppet for a few months they will often forget to update their sock-puppet’s profile or post anything so their news feeds are not empty.
  • Their sock-puppets deny any connection to their real order, or pretend to be members of another order which they want to take the blame for the attack so that those two groups will fight.
  • Sock puppets never answer questions about themselves or their own magical beliefs. Often they will pretend that answering such questions will violate an oath.
  • Sock puppets will use at least one or two of the leader’s favourite words. For example, “astonishing” “talking points” or “side-show” identifies one particular leader. If you think you are dealing with a sock-puppet from a particular group visit that site leaders blog. Their website is often crafted by a minion so is not likely to have these “key-words” in any Facebook trolling.
  • A sock-puppet always attacks.  You would think that if you wanted to create a decent sock-puppet you would build it up so people would find it believable. However, a Golden Dawn sock-puppet is the equivalent of a burner phone. They will usually attack their target within two or three posts.
  • A sock-puppet is generally a sleeper. Not even a Golden Dawn leader is stupid enough to join a site and then attack straight away. They will join and be forgotten about until the Leader wants to attack someone.  
  • A sock puppet will always attack based on the leaders’ current campaign and shit list. Old arguments are forgotten.
  • A sock puppet has to stick to their original story and they cannot evolve or develop. This causes problems if the Golden Dawn Leader is using another person as a remote control sock-puppet. So if a sock puppet says “on June 1977 you blew a goat in Maine before a crowd of OTO people” and your reply was “I was born in 1979” the sock puppet will reply something like “in what Golden Dawn grade do you blow a goat?”
  • A sock puppet on a group will usually have one or two more sleepers placed ready if it turns out the trolling is going wrong. The function of these sleepers is to make it look like the original troll is part of a majority of opinion. The idea is to encourage a pack mentality.  People will be more inclined to side with a troll if they believe that they are the dominant opinion.
  • Sock puppets have no sense of humour or irony. Often you make a joke at their expense they will take it literally and attempt to use it against you.
  • While Internet trolls are everywhere, Golden Dawn sock puppets have a political goal – they are seeking to destroy another group’s work and make their own leader look good. The more prominent, popular and productive the leader of an order is, the more likely he or she is to be the target of a sock puppet.  If you see a sock puppet in action, chances are their target is doing something interesting.
  • Sock puppets have fragile feelings. After half an hour of attacking someone, they suddenly find themselves questioned by more than one or two people – they will start claiming that they are being picked on. This is supposed to inspire sympathy and empathy from those who have been bullied online in the past. 
  • Sock puppets present things as facts without any evidence and will ignore requests to provide it. 
  • Not feeding the trolls does not entirely work. If a sock puppet makes an outrageous claim about their target and if the target, fails to respond this will be presented as an admission of guilt. If you refuse to answer the question, the target will be accused of evasion.  
  • Sock puppets lie. There is nothing that comes out of their mouth which is a fact – however reasonable it may seem. They will often claim that they have good witnesses who would defend their lie (if they were there). “I have spoken to people who were in that order 30 years ago and they don’t remember you.” Really, who?  How do we know how credible your witness was.  Maybe it was that little gobshite who was pissed off that you got all the attention or was also relying on rumour.
  • Sock puppets will discredit based on unclaimed facts eg “Nick Farrell was never a member of OTO… I have witnesses who can prove it” “I never said I was a member of OTO.” 
  • Sock puppets will attempt to create a universe based around a reality which is simply not true but fits the Golden Dawn leader’s vision for themselves.  Psychologically this is called gaslighting and if a troll is good at it, people will start to believe the alternative history is the correct one. This is a weird experience as things that you know happened are claimed did not happen and things which you know did not are presented as a reality. For example, it was a policy of one Golden Dawn group to claim that Pat Zalewski did not get his 7=4. One sock puppet even tried to prove online that Jack Taylor did not exist or was never a member of Whare Ra. It is fortunate that Golden Dawn leaders are usually crap at pulling this off and are only believed inside their own organisations where the standards of credibility are too low.
    Engaging a sock puppet (thanks Wikipedia) 
  • When under stress a sock-puppet will slip up and forget what they said at the start of any attack. Often what they said when they started does not match the new negative view they had at the beginning. “I heard you ate a baby during one of your 0=0 meetings” will end up with “You are always pressuring people to become vegetarian.”

Defense against Sock Puppets and Trolls

The main defence against Golden Dawn trollish sock puppets is to deny what they say initially and appeal to the moderator (off list).

Ask them to answer questions and to poke holes in their theories.   My kung-fu teacher said that when you are fighting against someone who does not use your style, you want to get them to mimic your moves. They will lack your experience in your style so you will defeat them.  At the same time you should not copy THEIR moves.

At no time ever follow the logic of their argument or attempt to engage it at all. Remember if they say “you do not hold that grade” it is up to them to prove it. It is not up to you to defend yourself.  The answer there is… really how do you know that? Show me your proof!  If they are forced to spend all their time defending their initial fight premise they will never get to the battle they want to fight.  For example, the goal of a sock puppet attack might be “nick farrell was never a member of the Golden Dawn” but it might start with “nick farrell claimed he was a 0=0 in BOTA… I have proof he wasn’t.” It doesn’t matter that you have never claimed you were a 0=0 in BOTA ask to see their proof anyway.  If they don’t have it, or try to move the argument on to bigger topics don’t let them.  This keeps them narrowed in the small battle (which they are losing) and prevents them from getting onto the bigger campaign which they want.

Make them prove every allegation.  “You said this in your book…”
“I don’t remember saying that…where was it written?”
 “I read your book King over the Water and it shows you have no knowledge of the Golden Dawn rituals”  “What was it that you saw that you think was wrong?”
“You said that in the 1=10 the banner of the west should not be in the east.”
“Actually I did not say that in King over the Water can you find the exact page number?”
This will undermine them because they are not arguing from fact… once they have been shown to be doing this they will have lost their audience.

Do not lie.  The truth is always your friend and is what gives you crediblity. The sock puppet is lying and knows it. You do not have to lie for them to convince the rest of the group that you are right.

In the argument above, I also asked the sock puppet why he thought I was wrong about the banner. After initially trying to claim that he was not able to say because of his oath, when this clearly did not fly… he made a big mistake. He actually came up with a reason why I was wrong. Once they do that, they reveal their own level of magical expertise and they are fighting any war on your terms. I had clear reasons for writing what I had… in this case, the troll indicated that he did not really know anything about the use of the Banners of the East and the West in the Golden Dawn system. If he really was a Golden Dawn leader using a sock puppet then he should go back to remedial classes.

 Do not get angry  This is a tough one.  Just remember that they are only doing this because they are losers and you are not.  They are attacking you because you are an expert on something and they cannot match you in a magical discussion. The fact that a group uses sock-puppets to attack you means that they are afraid of you and no you provide something far better than you can offer.

All this buys you time while you find a moderator. 

Moderators in most Golden Dawn groups and lists have to take a tough line on sock puppets or else the group will end up like alt.magick.  If a moderator can’t be found will not take on the sock puppet (normally by expelling it) you should leave and you should make it clear why.  If you resign from the group the Sock puppet will claim victory and say it was because you were exposed to the light of day. You can be sure that no one in the group will believe that. In fact if you are a regular contributor of information to the group they will resent the troll for attacking you and their group mind.  Remember a sock puppet is a stranger, you will not be.
If you leave the sock puppet will shut up completely after their “victory” and no one will trust them again. If the group is that important to you,  you can return after a period of time.  Do not come back with a big fanfare and do not reengage or inflame that troll just go back to what you were doing, and do it well.

Beyond the Sun released

“This book contains the Secret Inner Order Teachings of the missing order of the Golden Dawn – Whare Ra. Whare Ra managed to keep secret and above all keep running long after the other Golden Dawn magical orders had given up the ghost. Closing in the late 1970s the Order was founded by Dr Robert Felkin nearly 100 years ago. Working in New Zealand, Whare Ra became a secret forefront of occult teaching.
Nick Farrell publishes the Second Order Rituals of this Order including the 6=5 and 7=4 in their complete and unedited state as well as the 6=5 training papers and lectures. He also examines the history of Whare Ra and provides commentaries to the rituals.
Contained in this book are the 6=5 experiences of the poet WB Yeats and other adepts who went through the various initiations. It also contains magical exercises inspired by the Whare Ra material
This book is limited to 100 copies and was published on the anniversary of Robert Felkin’s death.


This limited first edition is selling out faster than I expected which is good.  Thanks everyone.


Magical Egregore 101

Since the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea decided to leave the Golden Dawn, there has been some somewhat strange comments about egregores including one very confused comment from one clearly uninformed “chief of an order.”  Ironically there was  been one comment from a chap who has spent a long time claiming I was not Golden Dawn for years, suddenly insisting I was because I did the same rituals as him.  It is nice to be wanted, I guess!
Since I learnt about egoregore early on in my training it never occurred to me that people did not really understand how they worked, so I thought I better explain.  If anything it will make why we have walked away from the GD egregore clearer.

An egregore is a spirit, similar to the Roman concept of a Lare in that it forms spontaneously and appears to have a personality.  It is formed when a group is started and in psychological terms is called a “group mind.”  In my book Gathering the Magic I said that this  egregore is made up of the sum total of aspirations, beliefs of all group members past and present. In psychological terms they refer to it as a ‘group mentality’ however they stop short of describing it as an individual, although some like British psychoanalyst Wilfred Ruprecht Bion  from the Tavistock Clinic who pioneered some work on the ‘group mentality’ have found them themselves reluctantly labelling it as an entity.

Among his therapy group Bion found this entity could behave like primitive human with the entire attendant drives. For example, if the group was attacked they would all behave in a ‘flight or fight’ reaction against the external foe.    This is all standard stuff. It could be seen a rowing club or a drama club. Bion noted that an egregore personified the ‘basic assumption of the group’, which if the person fought against a ‘group undertow’ would drag them in another direction.  If they don’t go with the flow then the group will enact a fight or flight reaction against them.  Again, this is something that an unscrupulous leader will use.  If a second in command can present enough of a case to the group that the leader should be removed, they will work quickly to expel him on the flimsiest of evidence extremely quickly.   This can happen intentionally, but sometimes it happens that the second in command gets swept along with the group mind if they find that their leader has been misbehaving.   In the Golden Dawn revolt of 1901, Florence Farr and William Yeats, who until then had been identified as friends of Samuel Mathers, found themselves with the rest of the mob holding the pitchforks and torches.

The Golden Dawn suffers from some major parasites.
Magical groups, because of their dependence on imagination and astral images develop an unusual form of particularly powerful egregore. It can actually assist them reach higher states and do more than an individual could manage. A group egregore is powered up every time a rite is performed and the longer and more often a group meets the more powerful it becomes until it has the power to do lots of interesting things some good, some bad.

On the plus side it means that all the magic you do, whether you are with the others or not, suddenly develops a special power.  It is like you are tapping into a reservoir of energy that you never had as a solo magician.  I had been carrying out a Golden Dawn ritual called the Ritual of the Pentagram to clear out any lower astral nasties from a room for years before joining a Golden Dawn group.  But somehow, upon joining the old dusty rite developed a brand new sparkle; it was easier to visualise and the room felt completely different afterward.

On the negative side you can fall foul of a group egregore if you don’t toe the group line on everything.  You can wake up one morning with a different view of the world, go to your group working as normal and find that you just do not get on with any one any more. After a while it becomes clear that you are not welcome and you have to leave.  

There after the people in the same group that you have known and loved will shun you and speak your name in whispers.  Nothing particularly bad, although you might have the distinct opinion that if they had the choice they would beat you with sticks and shove your head down a toilet. This is because your sudden change of viewpoint goes against the mindset of the egregore.

Each group has an egoregore and it is part of a larger one for an Order.  There is often a larger one which represents the tradition (in our case the Rosicrucian tradition).  When a group is formed its leaders and teachers attempt to form a link with first the tradition and then a contact which agrees to work with them.  This link is then attached to the egoregore.  In the Golden Dawn this egregore is powered by the Second Order.

Over the years egregores will become corrupted.  Some of their members, or chiefs might let the side down.  Or a politically motivated person might try to take over the group. They can also attract astral parasites, which are the astral wildlife which feed off intense generation of energy and emotion. The Golden Dawn had several methods to spring clean every year (the equinox ritual and the use of the HRU and HUA).

While a group is active it is fairly easy to see how it all works.  The difficultly comes when a group breaks up or becomes inactive as was the case with the Golden Dawn.  Generally an egregore remains dormant on the astral and will become activated again when people start to identify with it.

Despite what many might think, working with another group’s egregore is easy.  It is a matter entirely of identification.  If you think your group is connected to the Golden Dawn, or Gerald Gardner or Alistair Crowley it is.  It might not be rational, egregores are not intelligent.  If you say you are a Golden Dawn order you are – even if there is a lot of evidence that you are actually a four kids with a copy of Regardie.   This issue of identification is more important than things like rituals.  Rituals might help you focus on an egregore but they are not needed for the egregore.  External identification is also important.  How outsiders see your group will help define it because an egregore is built by thought, and thought can change it. It is for this reason that the Golden Dawn oath prohibited the disclosure of the name of the temple.  It is also the reason why, after the Horos Trial the Golden Dawn changed its name.  Suddenly its egregore could be modified by the great unwashed.

Felkin pulled his Order out of the GD and the SM egregore
When we started the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea we were firmly connected to the Golden Dawn egregore by our own identification.  It was because we saw ourselves as working within the Golden Dawn tradition.  This was particularly important when I was the only member of the Second Order.  But what we found was that the egregore of the Golden Dawn was ultra-conservative.  If we bought about a logical change, the egregore kicked and screamed – after all it had more than 100 years defending itself against too much change.  Identifying too much with the Golden Dawn egregore opened us up to all the pathology of a 120 year old order which had not cleaned itself up enough.

However connection to the Golden Dawn egregore was optional.  There had been several cases even within the GD history where leaders had NOT connected to the GD egregore.  Dr Felkin disconnected his Stella Matutina from the GD egregore and later disconnected his Smaragdum Thallasses from the SM.  Paul Foster Case pulled his order from the AO egregore and Waite did it several times.

The way they did it was by reconnecting their new order to an impulse behind it.  They also proceeded to identify themselves with the new current rather than the old one.  This meant purging the old name from the rituals and course material and (often) changing godforms, moving the inner locations of the temples and of course using a different name.

The claim that the rituals are important to the Golden Dawn egregore is pretty bogus.  The rituals were written by someone who was never in the order, after being reworked by someone who was never initiated into it.  They have been used by a wide range of different orders who have clearly different egregores – BOTA, Stella Matutina, Waite’s Holy Order, Whare Ra, HOGD, AO, and Hidden Light.

The Whare Ra vault based on different designs
What this allowed was for changes to come in which would not be contested by the egregore and means that you do not have to deal with the sins of the past, or its old chiefs or the old parasites.

For us, this desire to change seemed to arrive with the creation of our Second Order – which powers the first.  Initiations started to take on a different favour and power of their own.  Much of this came as an experience of the 5=6 and approach which was different from the original order.  This flowed into the outer order where the Golden Dawn egregore came up to bite it.  It is obviously better to spend a few months rewiring that egregore into something new, than it is to keep fighting it.

As a side note I am also disappointed that the GD safeguards to clean up its egregore clearly do not work.  HRU and HUA appear to be too obscure (and unknown) to help.  It might be because we have lot any teaching to do with these figures.

The Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea is not a Golden Dawn Group

For a long while I have described the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea as a traditional Golden Dawn group. From today it is not and we will stop describing ourselves in that way.
MOAA will no longer look to the past for any particular knowledge or security, but to its future.  And rather than trying to pour new wine into old skins we will be more secure in our own independence and ability to move in our own direction.   
The word “Golden Dawn” has come to mean the tradition which encompasses all its off-shoots including the modern renditions of the Stella Matutina, Smaragdum Thallasses and the AO.  However most of these traditions do not run anything like the original Golden Dawn and have been chained to an egregore which is largely hostile to and undermines their activities. 
The Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea, with its emphasis on experimentation and developing the magical tradition is completely at odds with this “golden dawn” egregore. In fact in our opinion this particular egregore has done its best to commit suicide over the last 20 years.    Its use by Greek Fascists has placed another nail in a coffin which has been sledgehammered by people trying to turn it into a cult or a business, or by kids, armed with a copy of Regardie trying to set up Magical Orders without knowledge or ability.  
It should not be necessary to summon the ghost of a long dead and dysfunctional order to prop up an order which in most cases works much better.  Self-confident groups which have something real to offer do not need to evoke the past to describe what they are doing now or in the future.
The Aurora Aurea Vault
In any event the historical Golden Dawn egregore is nowhere near as magical as the groups that replaced it and is a quasi-masonic shadow of the modern groups that bear its name.   In our view the use of this egregore actively works to undermine the ability of good groups to function within the 21st century.
That is not to say that the “Golden Dawn” methods do not work.  Indeed the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea will continue to use the rituals and general structure of the Smaragdum Thallasses (Whare Ra) order, which was descended from the Golden Dawn but resolved its egregore problem by rewiring itself. 
The Whare Ra Vault
As Smaragdum Thallasses found its own roots to a hermetic source independent of the Golden Dawn, so has the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea.  We have developed our own contacts and method of using the Smaragdum Thallasses system and have our own set of goals which we feel would be constrained by continuing to adopt the old Golden Dawn egregore and name.
Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea will also be seen as being part of a wider “golden dawn community.”   To most people looking at our system we would probably appear to be a bunch of “Golden Dawn people” who emphase magical techniques, but at a deeper level, particularly within our second order, we are not and I feel it is time to make that clear.
In many ways this statement makes us “new” and will be the beginning of work we will be doing to distance ourselves from the “golden dawn” egregore and evolve our own connect with the source behind it.  We will be updating our websites and material accordingly.  While Aurora Aurea is Latin for Golden Dawn, placing it in a “dead tongue” means that it goes to a “different place” and or own lineage and egregore.
 MOAA continues to be a traditional magic order, but is not a traditional Golden Dawn order.
The goals of the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea:
1. Fuse the Inner and Outer plane traditions of the Smaragdum Thallasses (as expressed by the Dion Fortune tradition and the pure Golden Dawn).
2. To develop a scientific and individualist approach to magic.
3. Restore a balance between religions within magic so that a person might develop their own religious understanding free from any dogma.
4.   To provide magical training to those who are ready using the latest communication methods.
5. To experiment with new methods of magical expression and to share that information.
6. To eliminate any discrimination within occultism on the basis of sex, religion, race, sexuality or beliefs.
7. To establish better communication between Western Mystery traditions to the enhancement of our own.
8. To encourage each student to develop their magical gifts to the best of their ability so that they can take a pivotal role within an evolving humanity.
10. To assist a student and adept in the attainment of their own spiritual destiny.
11. To continue to study and adapt the Smaragdum Thallasses system.
12. To create a magical order where practical techniques are given priority over intellectual understanding.
Issued in the Hour of Venus on the Day of Venus

20 December 2013

Golden Dawn astral initiation rituals do not work magically

I am famous for being blunt and the headline statement will get a few people upset. I have said over a number of years that I do not believe that astral initiation into the Golden Dawn  work, but have not said why.
I would LOVE astral initiation to work. As the head of an order, it would mean that I could set up temples in the US or other far-flung parts of the world at a great rate. If I was charging fees for this, I could make a bomb. It would enable groups to be established without me having to bring people to Rome for training. In short, astral initiation is a tool for empire building rather than creating magicians. If MOAA used astral initiations there would be a huge temptation to empire build.
None of the people I had ever met who said they had been astrally initiated into the Golden Dawn had any experience which indicated that anything useful happened. Those who claimed mystical experiences had none of the signs in their sphere of sensation, nor did their experiences show that an astral initiation had taken place.   For example one person said that during their astral initiation, they had seen a pyramid and that was proof they had been initiated into the Golden Dawn.  However, a Pyramid is not a symbol in the 0=0 and it is not proprietary to the GD.  Others have just said new Age sorts of answers like “I felt a white light” or “I was surrounded by love.”  I get that when I eat chocolate, it does not mean that Lynd hazelnut is a self-initiation into the Golden Dawn.  If someone told me, “I felt scared shitless, I could not speak, I felt like throwing up and then I felt Horus was banging a sort on the back of my neck” I would thing you had something close to what a 0=0 is like.
Astral initiation is possible and takes place at a senior level of magic all the time. However, it does not take place at an outer order level. Firstly, because to be astrally initiated you have to be able to get up onto the astral levels, which a beginner cannot do. Secondly, it needs an initiating temple to perform a ritual on the astral plane at a correct time and to perform the entire ritual without scripts or direction.  For this reason, astral initiation is traditionally carried out by a high-level contact to a student and is not something which works in a structured group environment.
So let us look at two rituals which are being used for astral initiation. The first is supposed to involve using the Golden Dawn Z documents and sees the candidate as a talisman. 
The candidate’s name is placed on a list of those who want to be initiated, sometimes a photograph is used, or an astrology chart. This list is placed in a black bag and “initiated” as if it were a talisman. The logic is that since a talisman can be charged, then a human can be too by proxy.
Intellectually this technique could technically work. The talisman version of the Zdocs creates a thought form which is initiated with force. The thought form would then slowly transform the candidate’s sphere of sensation until it reached a standard comparable to initiation.
Practically however the Z docs do not allow a talisman to be adjusted to a candidate – it was written assuming that you were fusing a spirit to an inanimate object. If you look at the wording of the Z2 document, it is different for a talisman with good reason. You are looking to tie the spirit of a talisman to a physical object and not the complex operation of breaking down the sphere of sensation which the 0=0 is supposed to be doing. Most of the talisman ritual is focused on the talisman and the astral form of the force you are trying to attract to it. A list of names or symbol of a candidate will become charged (as a talisman) but the person will not. The best-case scenario is that your talismanic list will draw the correct experiences to a candidate over time. This is unlikely, particularly as it breaks the rule of having a talisman focusing only on one or two outcomes. Your poor talisman thought-form could be trying to reach two to ten different people at the same time and bring them an experience which is supposed to be life changing.
So what about plan b? This method involves initiating an astral form of a person using something connected to them. You create a simulacrum of a person and then perform the 0=0 ritual on that. Afterwards, you send the simulacrum to the person and fuse it to their sphere of sensation.
This requires you first to build a particularly dense astral body and then build the thought forms for the Golden Dawn ritual as normal. You could not do that for a list of people. It would have to be a two-part ritual which involved a rite to build a strong enough astral body. This thought-form would have to be built from the energy of the officers and would be quite draining. They would then have to carry out the initiation proper.
It would take a great deal of experimentation to see if this worked and there would be some problems.
The 0=0 requires the purification and consecration of the candidate. In this situation, you would be purifying and consecrating the thought form. There is nothing to make the thought form do the same thing to the candidate’s sphere of sensation. Even if there was, it is difficult to see how a thought form would manage it.
Then there is the oath which has to be administered to the candidate and tested and sealed into their sphere of sensation. In this situation, the oath is being said by a thought form and NOT by the candidate. The thought form will be bound by the oath and tested by the 42 assessors and not the candidate. Then there is the splitting of the sphere of sensation to the four sons of Horus, something that I consider an important part of the 0=0. What would be split here is the thought form’s “astral form” and not that of the candidate. This means that not all the problems of leaky spheres of sensation which plague most candidates would be fixed.
On the plus side, a thought-form could perhaps bring an awareness of the Higher Self and perhaps make some changes to the sphere of sensation but this would be nothing like the experience of a physical initiation.
I mentioned that astral initiation does exist and I can say that there have been a couple of situations where it happened to me.  Neither case involved a ritual at all, all where while the initiator, and myself were in an astral state. I was wasted for some weeks afterwards. It gave me no status in any order other than in my own personal development.
In the MOAA correspondence course, we use a form of astral self-initiation but it takes more than a year’s worth of preparation before the 0=0 grade initiation takes place. It connects the candidate to the forces behind the Golden Dawn and their Higher Self. However, it does not involve any ritual on our part at all, nor does it count as a 0=0 in MOAA. It has an effect (although it is not as good as a 0=0) because the candidate is forcing the connections and the contacts are doing all the ritual work. In the astral work, the candidate sees what happens to them and interacts with it. I think it is the closest you can come to an astral initiation, but it takes a long time to build up to that point.  One thing I find interesting about this particular method of astral initiation is that the people we have put through it soon found a source for a physical initiation.
There are some other problems with Astral Initiation. Given that most candidates either do not feel anything (or are not trained enough to feel anything) it requires a lot of trust that the group is kosher. Ten years ago I wrote how a group was making a fortune by doing mass astral initiations.  A friend who lived around the corner from the group’s house applied for a fake astral initiation. He was told that the ritual would take place at a certain time and he would have to tune into it. Instead, at the time he went around to the house where the group met. He was invited in and found the entire group drinking beer and watching Gerry Springer. In other words, they were collecting the cash and doing nothing. Not only is astral initiation good for empire building, it can be a good source of income for the unscrupulous.
Watching Dr Who will connect you to the GD better than astral initiation.
One of the excuses made for astral initiation is that it gives people a chance to experience something if you cannot get to a physical temple. However, if the thing does not work then what is the point?A candidate would be better off meditating on their own than carrying out a bogus astral initiation. In fact, I would say it would be more challenging and fulfilling for a candidate to watch a good episode of Dr Who than to pay cash for an astral initiation and have nothing happen.

Within the Golden Dawn or Stella Matutina there was no practice of astral initiation. It was used in the AO as a Mathers money making exercise to squeeze cash out of rich Americans (and it is not clear what, if any, ritual or astral work was done for this). It had the bonus that allowed them to establish US temples, but there is no indication that they worked. 

Nick Farrell’s secret chief sauce of the WISE

For many years I have kept SECRET this most excellent ELIXIR which ALCHEMICALY TRANSMUTES even the most base of the animal kingdom into something tasty.  It was past to me by my on SECRET CHIEFS and I transmitted it to those of the most SENIOR BRETHREN

in ITALY where they had heard of it not. It should be prepared after much prayer for the making of the SECRET SAUCE is not to be embarked upon lightly.  If it is prepared incorrectly it can partake of too much of OUR FIRE and not be pleasant.  But if you follow the MIDDLE WAY between FIRE and Water you shall find the elixir should transform into a REDDENING of pure Fire EARTH.
It is ideal for transmuting the charred flesh of the BBQ into something which tasteth nice.  Indeed many have claimed that it is a MIRACLE of MYSTICAL SCIENCE.

Take then the following.
1 Tablespoon of the purest olive oil.
2 cloves of the bulbs of Alliaceae (Garlic)
3 cm of Gingiber (Ginger)
1 Escalonia  (shallot) finely chopped
1 teaspoon of the grindings myrtle pepper  from the e Greater Antilles  (All Spice)
1 teaspoon of the grindings of Sinapis hirta (mustard).
2 teaspoons of the spice made by the Turks of Broda (Paprika)
1 teaspoon of the grindings of Capsicum being a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae (Chilly powder)
230gms of dark brown sugar
400g of Tomatos
280mls of the MOTHER OF VINEGAR (red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons of the Sauce of Worcestershire
Salt and pepper
Over a medium flame warm the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook for three minutes.  The vegetable matter should be transformed by the heat to the colour of the Sun.
Add in the Allspice, mustard powder, paprika and chilli powder and stir for no longer than a minute.
Add the sugar and stir for 30 seconds or until the sugar takes on the nature of caramel.
Add the Tomatoes, vinegar and Worcestershire Sauce and stir 20 times clockwise while reciting a Paternoster or the Orphic Hymn to Mars.
Raise the flame and simmer for 15 minutes.  The sauce must be exposed to the sunlight.  Do not simmer with a lid on for that will create a sauce of great evil.
When the time has passed. Take from the heat and allow to cool to the temperature of blood. Then liquidize until it is smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.

Pour into a sterilised bottle. It is best left in a cool place for 24 hours for the sauce to transmute and its flavours to arise.