Setting up an Order
Setting up an Order

Setting up an Order

One of the early difficulties for an Order is that you get lots of members wanting to join and set up their own temples.
On one hand more temples good for the Order, it means that you can offer training in lots of different locations and effectively your teaching spreads. However at the same time, if you were to allow this, the quality of your training plummets.
If an Order is created by someone with magical experience, perhaps in different groups, who has made their own contacts and developed their own pattern of teaching they become a source for a base of founders.
These founders become the first wave of the “new” tradition. They are trained using the experience and contacts of the group’s creator. However they have to go through complete training of the system or else they are undeveloped themselves. They cannot pass on anything to anyone because they have no experience of it.
For the growth of an Order this is a period of waiting. If the founder members survive their training then they can pass on the system to others and create new groups based around their own founder members.
The temptation is always to rush this process to get the maximum number of groups. Take for example the Magical Order of the Aurora Aurea. We have groups in Dublin, Slovinia, South Africa, Italy and England. As yet none of these can initiate because the leaders of those groups have not completed their training. People have to come to Rome to be initiated. This slows everything down considerably and effectively rules out any “global domination” plans for the order in the short term.
While waiting for their leaders to be trained, these groups hold meetings and gain ritual experience. Most groups hold Anticums which are public versions of the rituals which outsiders can join in and see if they are interested in the energy and philosophy we have.
It also means that these groups have an evolving egregore which develops over time until the group finally has an initiated leadership. A MOAA “warrant” is a sign that the egregore has evolved to the point where it can handle the energies of a full temple.
But Heirophants have to not only to carry out their own personal work but face additional training so that they can do the job. You cannot hand a person a copy of the Z documents and tell them to get to it (for a start the Z documents do not cover any grades but the 0=0). This is specialised stuff and not for everyone. Because someone has reached 5=6, it does not mean that they are an initiating Hierophant, any more than that grade symbolises that they are a seer, an exorcist or any of the other specialisation.
You do not expect the drive of a car drive well
if they have not been trained
why do you expect a person off the street
to be able to initiate or run a group?
All this need for training stands in the way of a group speeding fast but it also means that there is more within each group to hold it together. If I was to give a warrant to three people and a token adept’s grade, as was done in the GD, and told them to get to it, the net result would almost certainly be long term trouble. The new group would have no training, no philosophy and be only able to initiate into their own ignorance. Given that people believe all sorts of myths about the GD (such as the meaning of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram) until they are trained out of them you would be spreading ignorance. The fact that you are giving a token grade out to someone, means that they have not had to deal with the lower self. Their egos will inflate and the group will soon fall apart.
At this point it comes down to a choice. Do you want a big order where people are simply playing at being magicians or do you want one which actually does what it says on the tin but moves slightly slower? Is the temple a place for the mutual masturbation of the egos or is it a place of training for serious magical work. Are grades hollow declarations of status, or are they symbols of true spiritual attainment.
In the case of the initiates who have had to come to Rome for initiation it has become like a spiritual quest. Something that they value and has meaning. They might have had to make sacrifices to obtain it over and above their personal studies. They are not able to come as often as they would like because of financial considerations. But this turns out a more dedicated founder member of a future group. They have made sacrifices to obtain it.
The issue of Adept training also comes up. While many groups are happy just to use Regardie for their adept work and that is it, in MOAA adept work is extremely involved. Regardie is just the tip of the iceburg for a series of projects that an adept has to come out with. An adept is by nature a researcher and has to come up with their own material too. If they are a founder member of a group, then that should evolve in that direction too. None of the stages in MOAA are taken lightly and the forming of a full temple is probably one of the biggest pieces of work a person can take on.
There is an old gag about Alexandrian Witches.   “How many Alexandrian witches does it take to change a lightbulb?
“One to be the high priestess who orders her priest to change the lightbulb and about 50 to a 100 of their mates pulled in off the street to assist in this great work of magic which was practiced in this manner since Ancient Times.”
If we are not careful it can be changed to  how many Golden Dawn magicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
One to be the Exempt Adept who, as Imperator of the temple holdeth the true lineage to Ancient Egypt, who shall, in accordance to the ancient cipher, bring forth  two others he hath met in a pub and shall grant unto them the grades of Adeptus Major and Adeptus Minor, so that they shalt recruit ye local masonic lodge, and anyone else interested,  to uphold the Lightbulb so that the light shall shine in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. 
That is not to say that a person cannot make their own contacts and studies and form an Order of their own.  It is just that once they do, they are forced to look at this vexed question.


  1. Good Post Nick.

    Also, Alexandrian Wicca has luckily changed since the days of Sanders – don’t tar a lineage with the brush of its predecessors, at least no more so than you would tar your own order with the bought grades of an earlier GD.

    Otherwise though, a good post and much to muse upon.

    Docet umbra

  2. Hi Nick,

    Congratulations on a fine article. Although we do not agree about everything Golden Dawn, I find your management philosophy as stated above quite interesting. You present a cogent philosophy and compelling arguments. I hope to see more of the same as such articles help people better understand the legitimate differences between Golden Dawn orders, each that contribute to the diversity of our GD community.


  3. Anonymous

    It appears that former members of Bourkon’s temple claim that Desmond Bourke was never a member of that temple and that no ceremony above the 5=6 was given either given to Ruggio or to Tereshenko. The entire fabrication of Bourkon’s temple as an point or origin for AO transmission is built on a lie.

  4. Hi again Nick,

    Anonymopus trolls publishing such nonsense really does not promote harmony in our community.

    In reality, there are both signed grade certificates as well as signed charters from Serapis to Ahathoor, despite the strife that anonymous trolls are trying to stir, based on alleged hearsay from anonymous “members” of an unnamed temples.


  5. I don’t think his problem is Serapis to Ahathoor, it is where Serapis got it from that anonymous troll is pointing to. If Serapis got it from Tamara the point is how if she had nothing to do with the AO. That information comes from former members of the Sphinx and Pyramid who are not anonymous. I was thinking of writing an article on this Order because it is quite interesting. But her “lineage” comes from her own Enochian contacts and she seemed to have more than a little help from Regardie. The Order used cut down versions of the grade rituals until you got into the second order when you learnt a pretty interesting Enochian system. But everyone I have spoken to suggests she took the contact system well beyond what was expressed by Fortune. This lead to a falling out with Regardie who thought she was nuts (remember he did not have a high impression of channeling). What is interesting is the connection that this group had with the Order of the Cubic Stone. This group started GD and became increasingly anti-GD as time went on.
    For the record I am not a big fan of anonymous posts. I understand that in the GD a lot of people want to sale under the radar and I tend to look at them in terms of merit and I have chopped a few so far.

  6. Anonymous

    Dear David

    I was talking about Bourkon’s Temple, not Serapis. You do know the difference? You brought Bourkon into it, as did SR, on your website in past blogs have claimed descent from it through the AO. The problem you have with Serapis is that Bourke was never a member of that temple nor participated in its rituals. Bourke had no AO charters to give anyone nor the teachings or training, as you well know. You mention certificates. Are they now important? Leslie, an anthropologist, made an interesting post about their non importance quite recently on your blog. You have not and cannot produce any evidence of any AO connection. Those of us who knew Bourke quote well in the UK and his propensity to exaggerate his importance with outrageous claims that had no substance. It got him into trouble quite often and it nearly got him fired at one point. Ask Bob Gilbert about that. The two things you never got from Bourke were the 6=5 and the 7=4 and AO rituals from him as he had none to give.

  7. This is a great post, Nick! Thanks.

    While I would like to think that all this would be common sense to GD leaders out there, recent events and invitations have shown it not to be the case. Ta.

  8. Anonymous

    Well David, two Initiates from the Serapis temple maintain that all Bourke gave them was charter recognizing two 5=6 grades and he took no part in initiation rituals whatsoever or passed onto them any AO rituals. None of these initiates saw any charter given to Bourke from any AO chief nor could he produce any when asked.

  9. You guys keep coming back with “talking points” and anonymnous trolls as you have now for the last 20 years. Pat Zalewksi for years lied about having a letter from Desmond Bourke claiming he denied any GD lineage o4 involvement. When cornered into publishing the letter, this was exposed as a lie, Pat then changed his goal post and his line of propaganda attack.

    You guys want to go on endlessly with nitpicky propaganda talking points about one specific lineage or another. Then you turn around and come back and say “It is really the work that matters.”

    Well, for once we agree, It is indeed the work that does matter. But what you guys keep ignoring and will likely get this post cancelled is that you can not do the work if you do not have the esoteric transmissions.

    In spiritual traditions is is precisely the spiritual transmissions that matter, which is what makes the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega unique.

    Our order does not keep attacking the lineages of other orders like you guys are obsessed with doing.

    In the AO, we are too busy practicing NEW MAGICK that we have from the Secret Chiefs, the existance of which we just proved to the assembled Adepts of the International Conclave.

    So how about if you guys go do some magick for a change instead of harassing other Golden Dawn orders, for once in 20 years?

  10. Boy, it’s a good thing the AO made contact with the Secret Chiefs and got some NEW MAGICK to practice just in time for their claims to authenticity to start evaporating! Otherwise someone might think they just made all that shit up, huh?

  11. @ Rufus Opus

    Thank you for the wonderful complement, suggesting that I have invented the ancient Egyptian Isiac tradition. This is not the first time something like this has happenned, having previously been llikewise accused of having invented both the Rosicrucian and Hermetic traditions as well.

    Even speaking German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, and English, however, such creative genius are a bit too large shoes for me to fill.

  12. Oh, so the NEW MAGICK is really the “Ancient Egyptian Isiac Tradition?” I thought the NEW MAGICK was being revealed to you by the CONVENIENT REAPPEARANCE OF THE SECRET CHIEFS. Thanks for clarifying.

  13. Ah, I see where I got confused. When you said “In the AO, we are too busy practicing NEW MAGICK that we have from the Secret Chiefs, the existance of which we just proved to the assembled Adepts of the International Conclave,” I thought you meant you were “practicing NEW MAGICK that we have from the Secret Chiefs.”

    So… is it NEW or Ancient?

  14. Nick, he said in his blog post it was transmitted by Priests of Isis to Europeans during Roman times and preserved by Adepts of the Hermetic tradition. 😐

    I bet it’s more “preserved” wisdom from the Ancient Wiccans of Italy, like that Great Rite thing he tried to get off the ground last year.

  15. I find it fascinating that the SECRET CHIEFS APPEARED TO THE AO TEMPLE AND REVEALED all the stuff Warnock and Greer just happened to have translated into English, right after the Picatrix was published, at the same time Nick was publishing stuff that convincingly debunks most of your lineage-based claims to authority.

    Since Nick started demonstrating publicly that you were getting your credentials from Madam Blavatsky’s Baboon, you’ve tried to shift the argument for validity to the alleged SECRET CHIEF REVELATIONS. It’s not like you’re very subtle about it, either.

    BTW, just to make sure I’m using the style guide correctly, when leaving comments on GD blogs, you put the things that are TOTAL BULLSHIT in all caps, right? As a way to let the audience know when to laugh?

    Just making sure.

  16. And another thing, Griffin…

    Why do you insist on filtering all this shit through the GD mythos? I mean, as one business man to another, I know the GD brand has weight to it, but it also immediately limits your market, and you can’t possibly charge enough on the smaller demographic to make up for the difference in potential sales.

    You’re selling traditional grimoire techniques, a very hot item right now, and NEW AGE CHANNELED WISDOM on how to apply that stuff through a GD filter, and the Wicaan Great Rite crap. Spin these SECRET CHIEF REVELATIONS with an alien/UFO focus (they’re extra-terrestrial Intelligences from the Spheres of the Planets, after all), and you’ve got products that could run the gamut of the modern spiritual and esoteric markets!

    And you’re limiting yourself to a core group of Ceremonial Magickians. CMs are a bitter and sarcastic lot, intelligent and cynical. There will always be someone in the audience who will see through your shit, no matter what you do. And we have no lives, and nothing better to do than sit around proving you’re an obnoxious twit.

    But look, you’ve already got the Picatrix stuff in a GD magical system, I’m sure, and you know how easy it is to turn that into a pagan gold mine. It wouldn’t take long to turn the CHANNELED WISDOM OF THE SECRET CHIEFS into new age gold.

    Use your alchemy skills, man!

  17. RO, Do you understand the psychological concept of projective identification? It is accusing others of what we ourselves are doing. Apply this concept to your statement above and you have a wonderful examination of your own work, although you clearly know nothing at all about the oath bound material of the Alpha et Omega!

  18. Griffen, I didn’t accuse you of anything, I suggested a business model that would reap you huge rewards, and questioned why you weren’t following it. I critiqued your myopic business model there.

    Do you bring the same level of reading comprehension to your interpretation of esoteric texts?

  19. Griffen, from your blog post:

    “the newly released, supplemental Second Order curriculum contains entire systems of unpublished magic, including pre-Qabalistic and pre-Egyptian, hierarchies of Chaldean Spirits for each of the 4 elements, 7 Planets, 12 Zodiacal signs, 36 decans, 72 quinants, and even each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac!”

    SURE IT DOESN’T COME FROM THE PICATRIX, released 2011-06-07, shortly before you started posting about the SECRET CHIEFS REVEALING NEW MAGICK.

    I’m sure that’s just a coincidence… unless your SECRET CHIEFS are really John Greer and Chris Warnock, in which case you might want to let them know they’ve been promoted.

    Are you sure you want to publicly and officially declare that the Picatrix and information contained within it does not enter the AO curriculum?

  20. As I said before, our curriculum does not contain anything from the Picatrix, but rather oath bound material from Hermetic and Rosicrucian sources. The actual content of our curriculum was just verified by the assembled Conclave of the Adepti from a cross section of the entire Golden Dawn community.

    We have revealed publicly only a tiny crumb of information about the actual content of this oath-bound material, because every time we do release any information someone comes along and makes something up, pretnding that they have it too, or they misrepresent it, as you are doing now.

    I have told you twice now that our curriculum is Rosicrucian and Hermetic and has nothing at all to do with the Picatrix.

    You are completely ignorant of the actual content of our curriculum. Please cease and desist from further attempts to misrepresent the content of oath bound material of which you remain completely ignorant.

  21. You are welcome, R.O. Please excuse me for being so harsh with you, but our order has been attacked with ongoing misrepresentation and defamation for two decades now. I no longer have patience for misrepsentation and our legal team is following events on the internet and in recently published works with great attentiveness.

  22. Picatrix is black magick. For you, Rufus Opus, all that exists in the world of magick are old grimoires that are published or are soon to be published. This is true for you.

    It is, however, not true for everyone. There remain rich veins of oath bound spiritual lineages that do not depend on the belief of the profane, including yourself, in their existance.

    I hope you have fun with your black magick with the Picatrix!

  23. I don’t use the Picatrix, but I have looked at it because it was influential on many of the western systems of magic we use. I am surprised that you think it is black magic David. I would not say it was any more black magic than using Cacodemons in Enochian, the lesser key of Solomon, or for that matter Abramelin. All three can be used for black magic and indeed have been used for it.

  24. I apparently don’t understand what the GD considers “Black Magic.” Isn’t it common knowledge in the GD that just about every time Agrippa mentions the Arabians, he’s talking about the Picatrix?

  25. Anonymous

    Having been at the conclave, I can verify that the adept’s magick in A.O. does not have anything to do with Picatrix nor any other published or previously written and distributed system. Although I am oathbound from giving details, I can say that its basis would appear entirely novel to a modern ceremonial magician. However, the interesting thing to me is the fact that I have glimpsed aspects of this material during my ritual work at various times and, surprise, even hidden within the original Golden Dawn material. I’ve always felt intuitively there was something more to it but after having put this new knowledge under personal scrutiny, I have unveiled enough to realize that we shouldn’t even worry about arguing on the net with people who are not involved with it. It’s like arguing with a Neophyte student about his ego when you can really only point him in the right direction, guide his work and allow him to change himself with the ritual work. Otherwise, it would be as Rufus Opus implied, a spreading of ignorance.

    V.H. Frater T.f.L.

  26. Interesting: the 2012 Conclave was advertized as “open to all Initiates of the GD community”. None of those who always attack Griffin showed up there.
    Were they afraid they could be proven wrong? Were they afraid they could realize just how little they really have? That we have to leave to speculation. We can never know for sure. But you know a tree from its fruits, right?

    Well, I was there at the Conclave. And I got to see and experience first-hand what the “new material” is all about. In fact, it is ancient stuff, as David Griffin wrote. It just had never been published so far. The part of the system we were working with (and a small one only it was of what we got introduced to!) is intricate and highly sophisticated. No-one could ever reconstruct it from the published sources — period.
    V.H. Fr. LDM

  27. Did anyone show up at all? We have only seen pictures of you three and a small group fixing the vault. Given the publicity for the event and the fact that I circulated my Order (which has a few US members) I would have thought there would have been a few more than eight. Surely not everyone else other than these eight are anti-AO?
    Lets be clear about this, I welcome the fact that you are developing your “New Magick.” I am interested because I have my work cut out using the Golden Dawn system. I don’t think that anyone has scratched the surface of what the GD is capable of and I am happy to keep digging into that. This is not saying that I am basing my work on Regardie either or intellectually finding more from limited sources. I am talking about the practical use of the magical system within the Golden Dawn. Published material on the rituals and documents is the tip of the iceberg of a very deep symbolic and spiritual system which has to be worked to be properly understood. I have been through lots of different groups in my time and at the end of the day I have come to the conclusion that you only need one good one and the Golden Dawn represents that for me. When I look at the fact that my C drive is nearly full with all the stuff I have written for the Outer Order alone and my H drive is filling up fast on this magical approach to the second order material, I think that the last thing I need is another subsystem.

  28. Anonymous

    I am bit confused…..I see in the photo on AO’s blog that only two adepti were initiating frater from Ireland (first and second adept). I thought that AO was traditionalist in their orientation and thus followed traditional ways (you know free standing Vault, 3 adepti, hodos etc). But then again perhaps their Secret Chiefs were also playing a role in the initiations. If they were would they not be First/Second adept instead of Third and Hodos?

  29. So let me get this straight. Because nobody wants to participate in a weekend getaway with someone who has persistently attacked, defamed, threatened so many in the Golden Dawn outside his order for the last 20 years that we are all somehow all ignorant or too lazy to travel to cure our ignorance?

    Got it.

  30. Anonymous

    I make this comment without prejudice and as one who has practiced ceremonial magic since 1974: this was not “pic’n mix” magic I experienced at the H.O.G.D. 2012 Conclave.
    Inside the Vault of the Adepti of the Isis-Hathor mother temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega I winessed Magic not available in published material and where all the other Golden Dawn orders dead-end, thus far. Those in attendance (which were many) received positive proof of the existance of the Secret Chiefs in the form of New Magic that was recently released by the Third Order of the Alpha et Omega.
    This is a milestone year and it is now the Vernal Equinox and down through the years I have seen many’s the “ego-centric/theo-monopolistic/fraternal cointel” controlling agencies, call it what you wish, waste our precious time because knowledge is power. The purpose of these scraps is for the victor to write him/herself into history and deflect the true seeker from the Path of Knowledge.
    I would suggest that we reflect on the lecture on “The General Guidance and Purification of the Soul” and refresh our obligations in the Great Work.
    Sometimes the Truth is hard to face.

    V.H. Frater I.M.S.A.

    1. You make the false assumption that all other GD orders dead-end with published teachings. In fact, in my experience very few, if any, have nothing more to offer than what can be purchased at the local bookstore or downloaded from the internet.

      There is no proof, for what you’re trying to prove, in being taught something. If I say something, and you find value in it, this does not imply that there is someone else involved in the conversation or the transmission of an idea. The argument you make for proof of the existence of certain people is entirely illogical, not to mention supported almost exclusively by anonymous people (who for all we know are all the same person).

      Might I suggest you stop trying to prove a unprovable point that nobody else really cares about? Move on?

  31. Anonymous

    To Fr. I.M.S.A. … I am glad to hear that you, as ceremonial magician since 1974, was impressed with HOGD/AO “New magic”. It is always good to see people doing the actual work rather than preaching on the net how great they are. I fully support your statement that “Sometimes the Truth is hard to face”. We should all remember that because “No matter how cleverly you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.”

    Isn’t that true?


  32. One of the big over looked reasons for Adepts not showing up to Griffin’s con-fab is the timing. All his gatherings seem to be scheduled during periods where if you have officer’s responsibilties to an Order or lodge, you don’t travel to visit other lodges and groups. That elimates all the other major Golden Dawn leaders from showing up…and may be one of the reasons that he schedules them when he does.

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