I wrote this in 2009 and I thought it was time to dust it off now that my new book Magical Imagination, which is reviewed here is out. 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 Imagination, 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.