Golden Dawn Spirit Vision over Pathworking
Golden Dawn Spirit Vision over Pathworking

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.


  1. Nick,

    From what I have read, the reason the GD uses certain symbols, and has students study them, is because [in a perfect situation] these have been built up over countless years, by countless members and adepts. Okay, so this makes sense…

    However, in my experience, using the techniques described in this book, but also my own, part of the process is to look for unfamiliar symbols and figures. This gives a key to the effectiveness of the meditation and the level of depth achieved.

    Also, once we reach these sign posts we are indeed opening up to the astral in a steady way, but here is where people usually stop, for good reason sometimes.

    But, if I understand what you are stating correctly, you are saying that a person must inundate themselves with the symbols put forth by the GD system. Wouldn’t these symbols already be there, if this level of understanding had been acheived?

  2. Hi Nick,

    thanks for this post and the clarity and honesty within it. I think your distinction between some (if not most) modern techniques which explore the microcosmic psyche and traditional RR et AC techniques which explore the Macrocosm is very well put.

    From my perspective (which you have read in By Names and Images)the most important things your post highlights are:

    “illuminated by the Higher Will” and “the Adept”.

    These techniques are Inner Order work. The whole rationale behind them is that the lower, subjective psyche has to some measure been purified or at least held in check (waiting purification) by the Outer Order initiations and practices. The modern conflation of Inner Order work with Outer Order is often a problem.

    Without prior Outer Order work, or the equivalent, even Inner Order techniques will not ensure entry into the microcosm. However, as you said we can explore our own psyche very well.

    Beng somewhat simplistic, the modern view, influenced by our very individualistic culture is that both explorations are needed. The traditional view is that individual exploration is much less important. Today we are blessed to pick and choose between these two extremes 🙂 Thanks again.

  3. Kate: Symbols are absolutes, but there is about as much chance of a person understanding their absolute meaning as there is understanding God. The GD has loads of symbols, but people put different meanings on them or come at them in a different way. Also the GD symbols are not unique to the GD and so come with other meanings from different systems. What I meant is that you have to soak yourself in GD symbols and look at them in a GD way

  4. Perigrin: I agree I think you soon see the Macrocosmic is interlaced within the Microcosmic parts of the psyche but there is a “weeding out” process. Which many people make the mistake with. They assume, for example that they are talking with Anubis when they are chatting for hours on with an aspect of their psyche that corresponds with what they think is the opener. However the Macrocosmic entity that is Anubis sometimes does speak through this aspect of their psyche and when it does it makes a hell of a difference to the quality of the work.

  5. Hi Nick – yes, excatly. Emma Restall-Orr (Druid) once told me a story that illustrates this perfectly. She responded to a call for help from someone who thought they were getting possessed. It turned out this woman had a few years back attended a New Age shamanic workshop and contacted her “animal guide”, a crow. The crow however, was really just a part of her own microcosmic psyche and therefore any communications with it were never challenging or transforming and ‘it’ just advised her to go on with her own neurotic life.

    However, recently the astral form built up by years of internal communication had attracted the attentions of a real, macrocosmic crow-being who ‘moved into’ the form. The real communications were suddenly a lot less white-light like, were very confronting and contained real power which the poor women couldn’t equate with her nice crow. So she thought she was getting possessed, or something.

    The Gods are so wonderful that even when we do stupid things like this they are always there 🙂

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