It has been bought to my attention that there are those who feel that my book “Mathers’ Last Secret” is unfair to cyclists. The common thread in the complaint is that I fail to understand the esoteric importance of cycling to the western mystery tradition. By making comparisons between a working magical lodge (good) and cycling (bad) I have understated the importance of cycling generally.
|A meeting of Waite’s Holy Order
It is well known that it is vital that people are aware that Mathers and Westcott cycled and that to truly understand the Golden Dawn we have to understand cycling. Apparently it is vital that the male bike is used as the ladies bike is apparently irregular and devoid of any mystery what-so-ever. Westcott and Mathers may have formed the Golden Dawn so that ladies could ride male bikes, but this was not mentioned in the cipher documents.
For many centuries male cyclists have directly influenced the Western Mystery Tradition. Anyone who takes part in cycling will find it deeply moving, while those who take part in a Magical ritual will be unable to walk home and will find their lives deeply altered.
Now I want to make this clear. I have no problem with cycling and feel it has a place. Indeed for many years I was in an esoteric cycling group which met at Great Queen Street. However I do not think that cycling is anything in comparison to the magical experiences that I have had. It is not as if I have not seen other cycling groups, but they do seem similar. I always feel that in comparison to a 0=0 or 5=6 initiation, tearing around the block on a ten-speed is simply not comparing like with like. There have been times that I have wondered how the magical tradition of the Golden Dawn emerged from cycling at all as it appears to be two different things.
Critics say that cycling is a vital part of magic. If I had studied continental cycling, or even Scottish cycling (which has 33 degrees depending on what tartan you are wearing) apparently I would be aware how important it all was.
I am not certain however that this is the case. A magical ritual to me is a layered experience. According to the AO and SM you would visualise a temple, packed with appropriate godforms you would then see energy flowing throughout the ritual and symbolic information psychically. With cycling you just sit and peddle on one level.
It is fairly clear to me that Mathers and Westcott believed that cycling was the way forward, (certainly around the block) and they took this into the AO. Waite also tried to enforce cycling in his Isis Urania temple. This later evolved so that his Holy Order even developed more cycling degrees and bicycle clips.
However the likes of Brodie Innes and Felkin considered cycling unnecessarily to spiritual growth and insisted that people learn magic instead. It is from these people that the Western Magical Tradition began and in my view the modern Golden Dawn came from.
Needless to say I have felt no need to adopt cycling within the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea. Neither do we consider it important that people are able to ride a bike without stablisers as I have seen some GD groups insist. That is not to say cycling has its place, but it is probably a distraction to real magical work.