There are those who like to see the Golden Dawn as all sweetness and LVX and assume that it would never touch those dark regions of the unconscious where demons and other nasty beings like hang out.
Of course, since Christianity arrived and told the pagans that their terrestrial gods were all demonic and the underworld was hell, it has made life a little more black and white.
However encoded into the Golden Dawn 0=0 is a formula which suggests that that particular ritual is a journey to the underworld of archetypal proportions.
Your standard visit to the underworld, at least while you are alive, is to rescue something, a princess or the love of your life, and get away still alive without looking back. Of course, if you are dead it is another matter but the rules of what you meet are similar.
When the candidate enters a Golden Dawn temple they are hoodwinked which mimics death. The first thing they meet is a guardian with the head of a dog. This is of course Anubis the god of the dead, but he is also a version of Cerberus the dog-headed guardian of Hades. In the Golden Dawn the candidate is called “Child of Earth” which is actually a part title from the Orphic Mysteries. In the Orphic Mysteries a candidate refers to themselves as a Child of the Earth and the Starry Heavens when they enter the Underworld. In the Stella Matutina the underworld references were even more obvious with the candidate being told that the “mother of darkness has blinded him with her hair” and the “father of darkness hath hidden him under his wings.” The mother of darkness was Prosephone and the father of Darkness was Pluto. It is a reference to the candidate being dead,
In fact, the Golden Dawn Z documents make references to this part of the ritual being the closest that the candidate is to physical death (while being still alive) and this being similar to the Alchemical idea of Negredo.
Now the candidate is placed in the Temple of Maat which is part of the Egyptian underworld to be judged by the 42 daemons of Justice. Underworld judgement after death is a common thing in most major religions. That which is bad is cast down deeper into “hell” or Tartarus and that which is good is allowed to continue.
The candidate, still blind, is placed in the northern part of the temple, the place of “forgetfulness, dumbness and necessity and of the greatest symbolical darkness.” These are references to the waters of the underworld in the orphic mysteries where the candidate is lead to two fountains. One of these is said to make him forget his past life and will render him dull so that he is completely happy in the Underworld and does not try to sneak back. Initiates are told not to drink these waters.
Then in this place he is reminded of his mission in the Underworld.
The voice of my undying and secret soul said unto me: ‘Let me enter the path of darkness and maybe there shall I find the light. I am the only being in an abyss of darkness. I came from an abyss of darkness before I was born and the silence of a primal sleep. And the voice of ages said unto my soul: ‘I am he who creates in darkness, the light shines in darkness and yet the darkness cannot overcome it’.
The mission then is to find his Higher Self, the Light, in the Darkness of the Underworld. So he journeys through the Underworld meeting both Horus/Mars of the Underworld and Osiris Pluto and then finally coming to the centre. In the Centre he is united with his Higher Self and find the “Light in the Darkness” attempts to return to the material world.
What is important, and often overlooked by Golden Dawn types, is that the candidate is not instructed in the Light, but the darkness. In otherwords he has to learn things from the Underworld, which is the unconscious. It is not enough to think, “I am heaven bound” firstly you have to deal with your shit.
The next thing is that you have to deal with the terrestrial world (in the elemental grades) and only then can you train for real magic and the path becomes a spiritual quest.
The Golden Dawn is telling us that we must not see our path as an escape from our Underworld, but we must enter into it to find the light. We can’t escape from the world but must give reverence to the terrestrial gods before we can consider any assents.
The beginning of this process is not a step into the light but into darkness.
Gone from mystery into mystery
Gone from daylight into night
Another step deeper into darkness
Closer to the light.
(Closer to the Light)
All this explains why there is psychological fall out from our 0=0 experiences. You always get Thor in your Netherworld when you play with the darkness.