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How unfortunate.

Ave, the latest round of cross-order drama, one of the opposing leaders saw fit to denigrate the magical education offered by my Order, and to basically insult the lot of us as ignorant. The worst part about the post is the obvious misunderstanding of how initiation and magic itself work-I say misunderstanding, because I assume this gentleman isn't actively trying to deceive people. He is clearly an accomplished Magician, however....assuming this is a misunderstanding is probably wishful thinking. He argues basically that huge parts of the Initiation rituals, and of all the GD magical rituals, take place on the Astral plane-therefore, Astral initiation is completely valid because most of the important parts of the ritual take place on the Astral anyway. He then goes on to say that we mustn't know even the basics of ritual magic if we do not understand this, going on to imply-in smarmy, catty fashion- that we consider all work on the Astral invalid because we consider Astral Initiation to be invalid. That we can't do a bloody LBRP correctly. 

Come on, man.

This is stupid at best-and deceptive, underhanded marketing at worst. I'm not going to pick apart the concept of Astral initiation-we can agree to disagree. I'm not into attacking people based on differing understandings. We've all had to adjust to the vast distances between many students and physical temples in this modern age. Taking our different understanding and turning it into an attack on our entire education, however, is beyond the pale. You know what? The man isn't stupid. He's a man who has reached an honored and exalted grade, and shown deep understanding of GD ritual in the past. I would be stunned if he actually believed the nonsense he posted. 

 People who don't know enough to realize how absurd his statement is may be deceived because the gentleman is an authority, and that is an unacceptable abuse of his position and influence.  It seems to be an attempt to tar us in the minds of any potential students that stumble upon his blog. (Just to be clear, marketing itself isn't the problem-it's the nature of this particular attack that has me up in arms.)

 I don't care about whether the man or his Order agree with mine-we don't have to agree.

 I don't give a shit about his long standing feud with my own Order's head. They don't have to break bread together.

 Lying and insulting the quality of my own education-and that which my Order offers my own students- using deception is plain unacceptable, and I'm not going to let that shit slide. My work, and that of my students, stands for itself. We've poured our hearts and souls into this Art. I've done my best to stay out of all this foolishness, and have gone out of my way to let members of this gent's Order know that I respect them and the work they do. I'm not just mouthing that, I mean it. This isn't about the man's Order, or his students-it is about his using his position as an Authority to cast aspersions on the quality of education of an entire Order in a deceptive manner. Go ahead and say what you will about us Truthfully. Say you disagree with us putting active Magic in the Outer, or any other thing that we have actually done and is honest. We can argue our positions based on merits-there doesn't need to be some monolithic Golden Dawn understanding. But this? The quality of your Order has absolutely nothing to do with the number of students you have-why sacrifice your integrity in a transparent bid to negatively influence potential students? This sort of underhanded attack should be beneath him.

Again, this isn't an attack on the individual, or the Order. Both the man and the Order have done good, and plenty of it. This is me calling out a particular tactic for what it is-underhanded, un-fraternal, and unacceptable.



  1. Fra Peregrin wrote:

    Care Fr AIT,

    Thank you for this post where you express some very important points: members of the larger GD community can agree to disagree with respect. I think this is essential.

    As you say we cannot expect any “monolithic Golden Dawn understanding” and disagreements should be respectfully aired with logic, care and in a case-by-case manner without bringing in other matters or insulting other people.

    A good example is on the MOTO blog where you and I disagreed, though without rancour or personal attacks.

    Perhaps before blogging or commenting magicians should read some exchanges in any heated academic debate to see how it is done? It really does not matter what subject, in virtually all cases contrary points of view are expressed and attacked without personal references and wide sweeping insults.

    Even better, we can try true Socratic Dialogue, where our ideas are given as a gift to others not to bludgeon them into accepting our point of view. To quote Karen Armstrong:

    “…a truly Socratic dialogue must be conducted with gentleness and without malice. It was a joint effort to obtain new understanding: you expressed yourself clearly as a gift to your debating partners, whose beautifully expressed arguments would, in turn, touch you at a profound level. Socrates once described himself as a midwife whose task was to help his conversation partner engender a new self. By learning to inhabit each other's point of view with honesty and generosity, participants were taken beyond themselves, realised that they lacked wisdom and longed for it, but knew that they were not what they ought to be.”

  2. Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you for your comment-what you've said about Socrates and the nature of scholarly argument in his day make a lot of sense. Our debate on Magic of the Ordinary ( -if you haven't read Peregrin's excellent blog, please give it a look.) was challenging and enlightening for me. I think it's important that those of us in the Magical community learn to debate without identifying our Selves with our Understandings; this way, an attack on the understanding doesn't feel like an assault on our Selves, and our reactions can be reasonable and scholarly.

  3. Care Fr AIT,

    I have just tried your tab idea and can now comment! Ta.

    Yes, our ideas are not ourselves. However, people with low self esteem or an incomplete sense of self can mis-identify themselves with their ideas. This one reason why Regardie and others have insisted on therapy as part of magical training. It is one reason why some RR et AC Colleges will not initiate anyone who has not passed their Saturn return (29ish), so they are mature, know who they are and who they are not to some degree. :) ta.

  4. The GD community has had this cross order drama going for such a long time - one wonders if we are ready to let it go, its much more entertaining than the alternative.

    I wouldnt get upset what the grand muckety from the other camp is saying irregardless. Its not like this person has any more authority to designate real vs fantastical Golden Dawn work than anyone else. Perhaps the problem isnt with his point of view; perhaps the problem is with this attempt to homogenize every different order under one banner, when they are no longer doing the same thing.

  5. Aaarrgg... I just tend to see it all as a side-effect of organized whatever. Reminds me of mainline protestant denominations and their carrying-on. Just noise detracting from the community building and advancements that could occur if logical and scholarly (as advocated in previous comments) discussion was the norm. I also feel that there are other concepts of more value to discuss than the validity or invalidity of astral initiation. I believe it comes down to individual experience and operational models and philosophies of magic. I am not inclined to laugh it off altogether because of my background- i.e. the use of dolls as proxies to 'baptize' in someone's name to do healing or other urgent working when the person is not physically available. Since I have had that experience, it shifts what I am open to versus another person. To deride and be an ass in general on such non-essential points (is it not so- if an initiation has any empowerment to confer, it's gonna happen or not... it is the happening or not happening that ultimately makes it valid). The ultimate proof of the validity of any path to me is the transformation it empowers the individual to realize. Like a rabbinic scholar said when asked to sum up the body of Jewish religious thought, "Love God above all else. Everything else is just commentary". So, I say we are active participants in the Great Work or not. Character is not one-dimensional and it is through misguided passion that one's flaws often become apparent.


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