God and the Golden Dawn
God and the Golden Dawn

God and the Golden Dawn

The Internet has been seeing a debate about the influence of religion in the Golden Dawn. One person said she had problems with the Golden Dawn work because she had largely “lost her faith” as a result of her experiences with Roman Catholicism.
The Golden Dawn makes the claim that it is religion non-specific and the second order requires you to be sympathetic to Christian symbolism.

Most of those who followed the Golden Dawn historically have been Christian, although extremely unorthodox, and in modern times there have been those who have been interested in paganism.

One of the main weaknesses of the atheism of people like Richard Dawkins is that it is entirely based on the assumption that religion is comfortably defined by its theology. This makes it easy to rebut because it is entrenched. However I can get through the ‘God delusion’ agreeing with most of it and saying that Dawkins has not even begun to address what I believe. My ‘religion’ is different and it will be different tomorrow too.

To prove the existence of God I do not have to accept the dogma of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or anything. I can accept the ‘big bang’, evolution, dinosaurs, all the scientific proof offered, I can deny the literal existence of the flood, chariot wheels in the Red Sea and get on with it.

Although my spiritual path started within Christianity, after many years I have come to the conclusion that I am not even remotely Christian or believe in any religious package that has evolved through time. To me occultism ultimately creates a system that leads to the founding of your own religion based on ideas nicked from many different sources. I am influenced by Kabbalah but that is because the mystical nature of the system is extremely generic. Despite Jewish ancestors (until my Grandfather) I have no wish to follow that spiritual path. I personally think that God has better things to do than monitor my eating habits and anything that is based on unshakeable rules is not really for me (I am currently working on getting around the law of gravity).

So what has replaced exoteric religion for me? Something else. If I were to tell it to you and you believed it would be a exoteric religion too and thus the point defeated. But I can tell you how I got my religion.

Occultism loves the idea of masks. In the GD there are lines like “the priest with the mask of Isis spake and said”. It is one step from masking ‘pagan’ gods to masking monotheistic ones. “The priest with the mask of JHVH spake and said…” The Gods are many streams flowing to an unknowable sea. You use the masks to understand the nature of the water, but you cannot understand the ocean by looking at a single river. First you look at the different types of streams, rivers and lakes to give you an idea.

Then, one day, you stop looking at these things and go to the beach. Eventually you swim but only after you have checked for sharks, tides and other hazards. Where I am at the moment is standing on that beach and dipping my toes in. The ocean is a big unknown. I have been lead to it by the Golden Dawn and other esoteric teaching, but it does not have a name or a doctrine, or dogma, it does not require worship and I have an inkling about what it is. When I want to focus it, I use one of the masks, but I am careful not to confuse the mask with the reality.


  1. I don’t like zealous atheism. Sometimes I get the impression that they mirror image some of the worse sides of fundamentalist theology. But that is just me.

    I like your ending analogy. There is a similar saying that I like too:
    “Do not mistake the map for the terrain.”
    In Qabalistic terms – a force is always larger then it’s correspondence.

  2. Hi Nick,

    thanks for this very interesting post in which you raise some essential points we all need to be aware of.

    With regards Christianity and the Golden Dawn, many of the original Orders required candidates for initiation into the Outer, not Inner Order to be sympathetic to Christianity. To quote from memory, the pledge form stated: “the candidate, if not a Christian, should at at least be prepared to take an interest in Christian symbolism”.

    The traditional Order I have been involved with also views the Inner Order as a Christian order. Specifically in the 5=6 oath it reads: “I, (Frater XYZ), a member of the Body of Christ”, making reference to believers in Christ and the Church. And of course Father CRC’s name is explained as “The Rose and Cross of Christ…”.

    I think there has been a definite shift in how the GD and RR et AC relates with Christianity over the last 100 years. Pat Zalewski in his Secret Inner Order Rituals book discusses some of his discomfort in finding the surviving members of Whare Ra were Christian in outlook and expected members of the Order to be so too.

    These days it is very different and as you say some members have a pagan outlook. It will be interesting to see how this shift effects the GD. Thanks 🙂

  3. Great post. People ask me about Golden Dawn and always refer to it as my “religion” and ask what I believe, and I always have to sigh and present my case very carefully.

    I like the reference you made about masks. That whole paragraph reminds me of a concept I thought of a while back. Human minds act as prisms for all things, separating the pure white light that contains all colors within it into a whole spectrum of colors. It is our nature to do so because we are the Ashim, the Angelic Host of Malkuth. It is our calling to take the pure simple whiteness of Kether and use it to create the vastness and variety of Malkuth.

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