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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.

11 thoughts on “Magical Egregore 101

  1. A wonderful article. My experience with a magical group egregore involved an unscrupulous group leader that worked some twisted magic upon it. I was a newbie, so I did witness the breakup of the group, but had to rely on the information from much more advanced friends. The egregore was magically programmed by the group leader to do certain things. It would speed up the progress of people that 100% supported the leader and did exactly as he said, but others it would work to slow their development. The egregore was very very strong, solid enough for evocation into a crystal. There was even a way to call on a protective egregore for defense if needed. In addition, it was rumored that he used the egregore as a way to siphon off magical power and use it for his own purposes, and also to spread out the karma of his deeds to the whole group, rather than the costs of his actions being just on his shoulders. I understand completely about a need to get away from the GD drama of the past.

  2. Hi Nick, Hopefully this gets through. I also posted this to Pat’s forum where there is similar discussion.

    You appear to be confusing aspects of mob mentality with a Spiritual Egregore. Mob mentality works primarily through emotional identification; if someone believes they are part of a group and has an emotional attachment to such then the group mind of such begins to influence the individual. Such group minds can form very quickly, for example, if a group of persons witness someone being abused or something they feel unjust they can often become emotionally moved and begin to riot and function as a group, etc. Members caught up into such a group can begin to do things they would never typically do because of the mob mentality of the group mind. This type of group mind is limited to the lower Astral realm. A Spiritual Egregore is similar to mob mentality in that It has a strong influence on the individuals of such but Its influence reaches far beyond the Astral realm to the Spiritual.

    The specific Egregore of the Golden Dawn, for example, was created primarily by Westcott and Mathers from a variety of sources. These gentlemen were among the highest Initiates in England at the time. To gain access to the Spiritual Egregore of the Golden Dawn, one must be properly Initiated into it. Properly means the person Initiating you must be at least a 5=6 within this same Spiritual Egregore and must have the capacity and training to do so.

    To give you an example, I have access to all of the rituals of the Society of the Inner Light. Although Dion Fortune definitely has Lineage and training to the A.O. and the S.M., her rituals differ dramatically from the Golden Dawn rituals. If I were to decide to create a group that used her rituals, I would be in a similar situation as many persons attempting to start a Golden Dawn group today. I would have her written rituals and even better I would actually have access to a few persons that went through these rituals in the actual Society of the Inner Light Order group and can help me understand what I don’t find written down. But without ever being properly Initiated into the Society of the Inner Light I will not be recognized as an Initiate of such by the Spiritual Egregore of that group. I may come to emotionally identify myself with the Society of the Inner Light to the point where a group mind forms with other members of my group and I may begin to emotionally react to what someone says about the actual Society of the Inner Light. I may join Inner Light forums and argue with other Inner Light groups on who is the real Inner Light group and who is not ( sound familiar 🙂 but I will not ever become part of that Spiritual Egregore of the Society of the Inner Light without first being properly Initiated into it. And with the Society of the Inner Light, as with the Golden Dawn, this requires a physical Initiation into the Spiritual Egregore.

    So I definitely do agree with Pat ( and Lenny and Frank Salt ), that anyone “doing the G.D. rituals” are part of the Spiritual Egregore of the Golden Dawn but I was emphasizing that to “do the G.D. rituals” requires far more than working off written copies of such, published or unpublished, building the regalia, and calling themselves the Golden Dawn. One must be admitted to the Spiritual Egregore by someone that is already a certain level with the Spiritual Egregore and has the capacity and training to do so ( one of course must also be accepted into such by the Spiritual Egregore Itself ).

  3. Similarly, but at an entirely different level, one cannot form an outer vehicle to this Spiritual Egregore, unless they are a 7=4 of this Spiritual Egregore. This is why Felkin desperately searched until he found Steiner whom he recognized as able to confer this level upon him. And yes I agree the specific Egregore of the R.R. et A.C. of the S.M. is different than the specific Egregore of the R.R. et A.C. of the A.O. for this very reason. We hear of Mathers’ making persons 7=4s “on sight” but as we are unable to determine all the circumstances surround each of these cases and it was of course Mathers, as a co-creator of the outer vehicle of this Spiritual Egregore, he was fully empowered to do such. I will also take this opportunity to suggest that it is ridiculous to claim he did such for money as he did not do the same for the 5=6s which presented hundreds of opportunities to “make money” in this manner if he so choose instead of the relatively few 7=4s he conferred.

    One can though, make themselves a 5=6 or 7=4 of whatever group mind they wish relatively easily 🙂 They simply need to, as you suggest, start identifying themselves as such. But this is certainly not the same as functioning within the Spiritual Egregore of the Golden Dawn created by Westcott and Mather by any stretch of the imagination.

    in L.V.X.,

    Tony

  4. Hi Nick,

    Much of what you say about egregores is correct, excepting egregores are not a spirit. Spirits are something else. Whereas Egregores are a psychic pool.

    By using keep elements of an egregore (such as the GD ceremonies) and history etc then you tap into that original egregore. A new egregore is not started, it is simply a new branch of the vine so to speak. When looking at egregores you need to see how much your tapping into or using of an older source.
    The only way to start a new egregore is completely from scratch – rituals and all.

    Re: the Golden Dawn ceremonies, and you statement that “The claim that the rituals are important to the Golden Dawn egregore is pretty bogus.” distresses me. You cannot be GD without them. There is no doubt in my mind that the ceremonies of the GD are clearly inspired works containing the essence of the GD. The Powerhouse of the egregore. It is very apparent to me at least, when one actually looks at what is going on with Ani’s alchemical journey – as he completes the Paths throughout the system.

    I have no desire to get into an agruement with you regarding the GD ceremonies, however I am shocked that you think the GD ceremonies are bogus to the GD egregore. GIven that, it is probably best that you
    no longer consider yourself, or your Order Golden Dawn. I hope we can retain friendly communications as we have done in the past, even though personally I am dynamically opposed to your stated. I wish you all the best for your magical Order in the future.

    LLL
    Lenny

  5. Thanks for the article, Nick – and comments from Anon and Tony 🙂

    This is a very interesting topic, and I tend to agree with both Nick and Tony. Nick, I think you do not describe the inner, higher planes components enough. Without Spiritual and Mental level contacts, feeding into the astral forms, a magical egregore is not magical 🙂 I am not saying you are not aware of this or do not work this way, as I know you do – only that it is not described well here.

    Tony very accurately describes the traditional conception of the passing of spiritual … ‘acceptance’ into a magical egregore.

    I agree fully, Tony with what you say re the FIL/SIL. However, I feel it may be debatable if that fully applies to the GD. The reason being that the GD itself seemed to ‘die’ with the last traditional temple from the classical era, in the early 1970s. It was then picked up and revived soon after with folk with no lineage – for example, as nice as Regardie may have been, no one can say with his limited GD ceremonial experience he had any lineage or even be in a position to induct Chic and Tabby into the egregores of the GD and RR et AC as you describe.

    The reason why it was, and is able to be picked up, is because it became less than hermetically sealed with diffuse boundaries. Now, the SIL (FIL) has been continuous and hence, you are right – the only way you can be inducted there is through someone’s own link etc. The same with the various Masonic bodies, even though their rituals are as public as the GD’s. We could set up our own Masonic Lodge – but without a charter from a GL, we would not be Masons.

    The GD, being public, having a break in activity, means anyone can pick up and enter this egregore.

    Now of course, and I am not sure of the history here, this tends to suggest that BOTA and perhaps others who had some continuity (did they?) were not fully part of the GD eregore, or their work did not stop the hermetic seal unravelling. I am not sure on this, and I am not completely advocating the view just described, only stating it as how it may work.

    Either way, the positions here can be kinda related to traditional sacramental Christianity and the newer Protestant forms. In the first, one only becomes a Christian through Baptism by an already linked authority (Bishop or priest), where the second, one’s own personal faith and allegiance to Christ makes one a Christian. I am pretty sure we all know wonderful Christian folk, doing the world good, from both persuasions. And I am pretty sure, we all know wonderful GD magicians with and without admittance by another into the GD egregore? No? 🙂

    1. Thanks Peregrin, to use your Sacramental analogy, a Bishop does not have to be part of the Roman Catholic Church to possess the power to ordain Priests in the view of the RCC ( even the last Pope acknowledged this stating that it was permissible for Roman Catholics to receive the Sacraments from none RCC Priests and Bishops if none were available and such Sacraments were just as valid as their own ). If the RCC died out tomorrow, using your analogy, would you suggest the Bishops that remained alive would not have the Sacramental authority to ordain Priests? Would a break caused by the RCC organization dying out permit anyone to start ordaining Priests ( of course this is a hypothetical argument using your Sacramental analogy above ). And of course the Golden Dawn is not the RCC 🙂 But if there were 7=4s alive after, for example Whare Ra died out, that had received the Transmission of the Etheric Link, would they not have ability to transmit this Link to others? Would not a person that received a 5=6 in the A.O. before it died out have the ability to Initiate 0=0s afterwards or does this ability cease with the death of the organization? Agreed that anyone can be a wonderful magician without admittance by another into the G.D. Egregore ( I just wouldn’t call them a G.D. magician ). Of course a person’s spiritual evolution does not depend upon admittance by another into the G.D. Egregore for that matter 🙂 To state the obvious, many persons have received Gnosis without ever hearing about the Golden Dawn 🙂 in L.V.X. Tony

    2. Hi Tony…. I am going to write a more detailed reply when I get time… but quickly refering to the link… The Link does not connect to the egregore of Whare Ra but to the contacts behind Whare Ra. The Link is basically a recognition that the person is “linked” to the tradition and can form their own group. I think one of the problems I am having is with the identification of the name “golden dawn” which is, to quote Dr Who, a fixed point in time. My “golden dawn” experience comes from groups which were successors and had a different egregore so why am I claiming to be “golden dawn” when not of these groups do so?

    3. Thanks Nick, my points have nothing to do with your specific situation – only your description of how Egregores work.. I understand the view of “The Link” and how it was viewed as well as continuing “The Link” within Whare Ra as very few Whare Ra 7-4s received it – it was typically reserved for someone that was going to be a Chief of Whare Ra. The main points being that just because someone is using the published or unpublished written rituals, made the regalia, and are calling themselves Golden Dawn this does provide access to the Golden Dawn Egregore. The Golden Dawn Egregore has built-in safe guards to protect Itself from just anyone accessing it – especially a Neo-Nazi Greek political party 🙂 in L.V.X., Tony

  6. Hy Nick an others greats peopel here. Thanks for your post, i agrea with most of the points.
    I am lucky to have been dully iniitated into the Golden Dawn Current, and i enjoy every day to walk on the red narrow path. I agrea about how hard and sticky is the egregore when we try to walk on the wild side. It is like it tells : walk on the road and i will give you gold, walk aside and i will offer you hell and decay. So i did choose to walk on the road to see where it lead. Of course i did my own wild tries, just to see how jealous the egregore is. So i stick on the track. Maybe i am some of te mad who want to continue on this road but it is my own choice even if i may be the last one on it.
    I wish you good luck on your new way. maybe it is easier to follow.

  7. It is possible… in fact the GD did have some self healing systems on board. But they have largely broken down and the egreogre is now badly damaged. It has become like a car which is too rusted to be worthwhile restoring.

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