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Goetia versus secrecy, Masonry & bogus history

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  • Jake Stratton-Kent
    opening remarks This is close to an outline manifesto, relevant to the POV of my writings and distilled from over 4 decades of involvement in magic, public and
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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      opening remarks

      This is close to an outline manifesto, relevant to the POV of my writings
      and distilled from over 4 decades of involvement in magic, public and
      private. I'm sure many will reject it out of hand, or mount a defence of
      aspects of occultism it attacks - but nothing said here is unconsidered;
      while the unquestioning retention of what it opposes desperately requires
      critique. Some of it explains why I'm a controversial figure, who many
      traditionalists find too radical, and 'post moderns' consider old
      fashioned. These easy dismissals are neat ways of avoiding important
      issues, when in fact the similarities between the extremes are more
      extensive than the differences, which is part of the problem, as I outline
      below.


      *Goetia versus secrecy, Masonry and bogus history in modern occultism*

      The historical links between goetia and shamanism are very strong. If you
      are
      familiar with the 'Greek shaman' thesis of Burkert et al, 'goes' was
      originally
      the Greek for shaman, especially as psychopomp. Funnily enough the same
      word, in
      its later devalued sense could also mean 'witch'. Properly understood
      goetia is
      - essentially - the one authentic and continuous link the modern Western
      tradition has with the past, and that includes modern witchcraft (as I
      believe
      Hutton pointed out, and he is certainly right historically speaking).

      There are various reasons I find the 'Masonic' model a dead loss in the
      many, many areas of modern magic where it applies. I see two reasons for
      Masonry
      in magic, one good enough, the other p*** poor. The good enough one was as a
      cover for free thinkers in an age when - for example - non-attendance at
      Anglican church was an imprisonable offense in England. That time is over.
      The other I will
      come to later.

      The whole Secret Society model is not only unhelpful, but actively
      counter-productive. It is the principle reason why so much energy is
      expended
      fighting tiny little wars between factions (between witch groups, between
      rival
      Golden Dawns, between thelemic groups etc etc). Energy that could be better
      spent elsewhere - like incorporating the real advances in recovering our
      tradition made possible by *non-secretive* sources like academia. Indeed,
      one
      reason parts of the grimoire community are advancing faster than any other
      area
      nowadays is that it doesn't automatically include this model! Which,
      whether in
      Magical Orders or Witchcraft leads to infighting, stagnation and
      parochialism. I
      also have no more time for 'invented history', which the entire occult world
      seems to rely on to an alarming extent. But lets start with secrecy.

      Nothing I've heard from witch groups or magical orders in the last forty
      plus
      years has led me to feel they possess *any* privileged information - let
      alone
      insights - regarding goetia. Its been more of the same for decades, indeed
      since the C19th it has hardly moved at all - at least, not among occultists.

      From my perspective, what I've learned about goetia in the occult world as
      manifest since the C19th is very unimpressive. Even if someone is jealously
      guarding material from deeper into the C18th/C19th it still lacks a lot of
      context, info and insights now available from modern scholarship, the papyri
      etc. Things have stood still for so long that modern research has got
      further
      along without them, and they don't want to catch up! Where magic is going
      is not
      like where it has been since early modern times, but very few have caught
      on to
      that.

      Which brings me to the Bertiaux/Grant end of the spectrum, what I call 'dark
      fluff', a major epidemic in recent modern occultism.
      There are so many 'darker than thou' types out there playing silly games
      with
      the Qliphoth, Necronomicon, Atlantean initiations and such. The grasp of the
      roots of magic in this 'niche' is even more bogus than the 'occult
      establishment' of the C19th and its offshoots. Indeed, they are much more
      similar to that establishment than they imagine. Spookying up the Golden
      Dawn,
      Crowley and modern witchcraft with a dash of Lovecraft and Qliphoth etc is
      no
      more informed about the real roots of Western magic in goetia. Its just
      more of
      the same in all but the most superficial details.

      Which brings me to the other aspect of 'why we used masonry'. It was as a
      *substitute* for elements of the magical tradition we'd either lost, or felt
      uncomfortable with in a more orthodox religious environment than currently
      exists. Virtually every western school has relied on Masonry to fill in the
      gaps
      for so long that they are no longer very interested in recovering what it
      was
      substituting for. There is so much Masonic bathwater that has to go to make
      room
      for real babies in the bath, and change frightens people. Hence bogus
      history
      and Masonry predominate, even though there is much better information and
      different structures available.

      The *real* roots of what has been called 'black magic' by later
      philosophies and
      religions, is in fact an incredibly rich tradition distinct from them, *not
      defined by opposition to them*, or even reliant on similar terms
      (qabalistic or
      neoplatonist).

      In short, through clinging to bogus history and the secret society model,
      we are
      selling ourselves very short indeed as Western magicians.

      ALWays

      Jake

      http://www.underworldapothecary.com/


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • AaronL
      Greetings, Jake! For the most part, I agree with what you have to say. Although, I think you would do much better to discuss why the study of Goetia can
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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        Greetings, Jake!

        For the most part, I agree with what you have to say. Although, I think you would do much better to discuss why the study of Goetia can proceed without Masonic-based secret societies, than to actually denigrate the societies in and of themselves.

        The magickal orders and secret societies *do* have a place in the Western Mystery Tradition (WMT). Speaking as someone who is about as deep on the inside of that culture as you can get, I do not agree with you that they are stagnant or holding the WMT back. There is a lot of work and innovation going on in my Tradition right now. I would say that for the first time since the 19th Century, the lodge-style orders are in something of a renaissance.

        And I would certainly argue that they are *not* using Masonry to "fill the gaps" of anything. In fact, it is the other way around. Masonry has removed itself from its own mystical underpinnings so far that, these days, young Masons are apt to seek out the Golden Dawn to fill in gaps. A few years ago, Chic Cicero joined the Masons with the intention of learning something about the origins of the GD. After reaching the position of Grand Commander of Florida, he found nothing useful in that regard - and in fact found himself teaching *them* the mysteries behind their tradition. (And brought a slew of them back to our Temple.)

        You are correct that the orders are not going in the direction that you are pulling. Even my own Solomonic work (which you know is pulling in pretty much the same direction as yours) is done outside the confines of my order. But I just can't see my work in the order as some sort of detriment to my Solomonic work.

        In fact, my work in the order plays a rather important role in my Solomonic practice. No, I don't blend the systems - I don't use Golden Dawn rituals and techniques as a basis for the grimoire magick. However, the grimoires *do* happen to mention in places that some sort of ordination is helpful in performing the magick. In other words - it helps if one undertakes some form of initiatory process.

        I'm not a Catholic, so becoming an priest in the Church isn't going to happen. However, I am a Gnostic and a Hermeticist - and as such I became "ordained" by working my way through the Golden Dawn's Outer Grades and into the RR et AC. I have sat as Hierophant - which you could translate as "High Priest" - in my Temple and initiated others into the Tradition. (Currently I am a past-Hierophant, but I will sit as Hierophant again when my turn comes back around.)

        In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my Guardian Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual authority necessary to hang out with the angels and spirits of the grimoires. When they say, "John Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.

        I'm certainly not saying that is the *only* way to gain the necessary spiritual authority. But it was the way for me, and it works. And I see just as much relevance in the order as I see in what you and I are doing with the Solomonic material outside the orders. The fact that they are different does not make them mutually exclusive.

        LVX
        Aaron



        --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, Jake Stratton-Kent <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
        >
        > opening remarks
        >
        > This is close to an outline manifesto, relevant to the POV of my writings
        > and distilled from over 4 decades of involvement in magic, public and
        > private. I'm sure many will reject it out of hand, or mount a defence of
        > aspects of occultism it attacks - but nothing said here is unconsidered;
        > while the unquestioning retention of what it opposes desperately requires
        > critique. Some of it explains why I'm a controversial figure, who many
        > traditionalists find too radical, and 'post moderns' consider old
        > fashioned. These easy dismissals are neat ways of avoiding important
        > issues, when in fact the similarities between the extremes are more
        > extensive than the differences, which is part of the problem, as I outline
        > below.
        >
        >
        > *Goetia versus secrecy, Masonry and bogus history in modern occultism*
        >
        > The historical links between goetia and shamanism are very strong. If you
        > are
        > familiar with the 'Greek shaman' thesis of Burkert et al, 'goes' was
        > originally
        > the Greek for shaman, especially as psychopomp. Funnily enough the same
        > word, in
        > its later devalued sense could also mean 'witch'. Properly understood
        > goetia is
        > - essentially - the one authentic and continuous link the modern Western
        > tradition has with the past, and that includes modern witchcraft (as I
        > believe
        > Hutton pointed out, and he is certainly right historically speaking).
        >
        > There are various reasons I find the 'Masonic' model a dead loss in the
        > many, many areas of modern magic where it applies. I see two reasons for
        > Masonry
        > in magic, one good enough, the other p*** poor. The good enough one was as a
        > cover for free thinkers in an age when - for example - non-attendance at
        > Anglican church was an imprisonable offense in England. That time is over.
        > The other I will
        > come to later.
        >
        > The whole Secret Society model is not only unhelpful, but actively
        > counter-productive. It is the principle reason why so much energy is
        > expended
        > fighting tiny little wars between factions (between witch groups, between
        > rival
        > Golden Dawns, between thelemic groups etc etc). Energy that could be better
        > spent elsewhere - like incorporating the real advances in recovering our
        > tradition made possible by *non-secretive* sources like academia. Indeed,
        > one
        > reason parts of the grimoire community are advancing faster than any other
        > area
        > nowadays is that it doesn't automatically include this model! Which,
        > whether in
        > Magical Orders or Witchcraft leads to infighting, stagnation and
        > parochialism. I
        > also have no more time for 'invented history', which the entire occult world
        > seems to rely on to an alarming extent. But lets start with secrecy.
        >
        > Nothing I've heard from witch groups or magical orders in the last forty
        > plus
        > years has led me to feel they possess *any* privileged information - let
        > alone
        > insights - regarding goetia. Its been more of the same for decades, indeed
        > since the C19th it has hardly moved at all - at least, not among occultists.
        >
        > From my perspective, what I've learned about goetia in the occult world as
        > manifest since the C19th is very unimpressive. Even if someone is jealously
        > guarding material from deeper into the C18th/C19th it still lacks a lot of
        > context, info and insights now available from modern scholarship, the papyri
        > etc. Things have stood still for so long that modern research has got
        > further
        > along without them, and they don't want to catch up! Where magic is going
        > is not
        > like where it has been since early modern times, but very few have caught
        > on to
        > that.
        >
        > Which brings me to the Bertiaux/Grant end of the spectrum, what I call 'dark
        > fluff', a major epidemic in recent modern occultism.
        > There are so many 'darker than thou' types out there playing silly games
        > with
        > the Qliphoth, Necronomicon, Atlantean initiations and such. The grasp of the
        > roots of magic in this 'niche' is even more bogus than the 'occult
        > establishment' of the C19th and its offshoots. Indeed, they are much more
        > similar to that establishment than they imagine. Spookying up the Golden
        > Dawn,
        > Crowley and modern witchcraft with a dash of Lovecraft and Qliphoth etc is
        > no
        > more informed about the real roots of Western magic in goetia. Its just
        > more of
        > the same in all but the most superficial details.
        >
        > Which brings me to the other aspect of 'why we used masonry'. It was as a
        > *substitute* for elements of the magical tradition we'd either lost, or felt
        > uncomfortable with in a more orthodox religious environment than currently
        > exists. Virtually every western school has relied on Masonry to fill in the
        > gaps
        > for so long that they are no longer very interested in recovering what it
        > was
        > substituting for. There is so much Masonic bathwater that has to go to make
        > room
        > for real babies in the bath, and change frightens people. Hence bogus
        > history
        > and Masonry predominate, even though there is much better information and
        > different structures available.
        >
        > The *real* roots of what has been called 'black magic' by later
        > philosophies and
        > religions, is in fact an incredibly rich tradition distinct from them, *not
        > defined by opposition to them*, or even reliant on similar terms
        > (qabalistic or
        > neoplatonist).
        >
        > In short, through clinging to bogus history and the secret society model,
        > we are
        > selling ourselves very short indeed as Western magicians.
        >
        > ALWays
        >
        > Jake
        >
        > http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Aaron H
        I don t think this had anything really to do with what is the real roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions such as
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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          I don't think this had anything really to do with what is the "real" roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions such as "Goetia". Some people such as yourself are interested in going all the way back to the PGM era. Some people, such as myself, are only interested in the Renaissance era which has definitions codified by people like Agrippa. Other people are only interested in post-victorian era. All of these have changes in the definitions and practices. There isn't anything "more real" about it, as we are talking about the invisible world and the ideas that surround its interaction. Who is going to say how they interact with invisible friends is more correct, lol? Anyway those ideas naturally change and evolve, even if only through writing about it.

          I think what is more trendy is the idea, if its older than it must be more valid or correct. How far are we going to go? It's silly in my opinion, personally.

          So, i'll continue to use Agrippa's definition of Goetia because that is the era of occultism I'm interested in.

          I'm not interested personally in reverting definitions back to pre-renaissance, eventhough I will recognize the evolution of such definitions. And that is just my prerogative.

          Not everyone is interest in reviving definitions and or practices that far back.


          Sent from my iPhone

          On Jul 25, 2013, at 3:44 AM, "Jake Stratton-Kent" <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:

          > opening remarks
          >
          > This is close to an outline manifesto, relevant to the POV of my writings
          > and distilled from over 4 decades of involvement in magic, public and
          > private. I'm sure many will reject it out of hand, or mount a defence of
          > aspects of occultism it attacks - but nothing said here is unconsidered;
          > while the unquestioning retention of what it opposes desperately requires
          > critique. Some of it explains why I'm a controversial figure, who many
          > traditionalists find too radical, and 'post moderns' consider old
          > fashioned. These easy dismissals are neat ways of avoiding important
          > issues, when in fact the similarities between the extremes are more
          > extensive than the differences, which is part of the problem, as I outline
          > below.
          >
          > *Goetia versus secrecy, Masonry and bogus history in modern occultism*
          >
          > The historical links between goetia and shamanism are very strong. If you
          > are
          > familiar with the 'Greek shaman' thesis of Burkert et al, 'goes' was
          > originally
          > the Greek for shaman, especially as psychopomp. Funnily enough the same
          > word, in
          > its later devalued sense could also mean 'witch'. Properly understood
          > goetia is
          > - essentially - the one authentic and continuous link the modern Western
          > tradition has with the past, and that includes modern witchcraft (as I
          > believe
          > Hutton pointed out, and he is certainly right historically speaking).
          >
          > There are various reasons I find the 'Masonic' model a dead loss in the
          > many, many areas of modern magic where it applies. I see two reasons for
          > Masonry
          > in magic, one good enough, the other p*** poor. The good enough one was as a
          > cover for free thinkers in an age when - for example - non-attendance at
          > Anglican church was an imprisonable offense in England. That time is over.
          > The other I will
          > come to later.
          >
          > The whole Secret Society model is not only unhelpful, but actively
          > counter-productive. It is the principle reason why so much energy is
          > expended
          > fighting tiny little wars between factions (between witch groups, between
          > rival
          > Golden Dawns, between thelemic groups etc etc). Energy that could be better
          > spent elsewhere - like incorporating the real advances in recovering our
          > tradition made possible by *non-secretive* sources like academia. Indeed,
          > one
          > reason parts of the grimoire community are advancing faster than any other
          > area
          > nowadays is that it doesn't automatically include this model! Which,
          > whether in
          > Magical Orders or Witchcraft leads to infighting, stagnation and
          > parochialism. I
          > also have no more time for 'invented history', which the entire occult world
          > seems to rely on to an alarming extent. But lets start with secrecy.
          >
          > Nothing I've heard from witch groups or magical orders in the last forty
          > plus
          > years has led me to feel they possess *any* privileged information - let
          > alone
          > insights - regarding goetia. Its been more of the same for decades, indeed
          > since the C19th it has hardly moved at all - at least, not among occultists.
          >
          > From my perspective, what I've learned about goetia in the occult world as
          > manifest since the C19th is very unimpressive. Even if someone is jealously
          > guarding material from deeper into the C18th/C19th it still lacks a lot of
          > context, info and insights now available from modern scholarship, the papyri
          > etc. Things have stood still for so long that modern research has got
          > further
          > along without them, and they don't want to catch up! Where magic is going
          > is not
          > like where it has been since early modern times, but very few have caught
          > on to
          > that.
          >
          > Which brings me to the Bertiaux/Grant end of the spectrum, what I call 'dark
          > fluff', a major epidemic in recent modern occultism.
          > There are so many 'darker than thou' types out there playing silly games
          > with
          > the Qliphoth, Necronomicon, Atlantean initiations and such. The grasp of the
          > roots of magic in this 'niche' is even more bogus than the 'occult
          > establishment' of the C19th and its offshoots. Indeed, they are much more
          > similar to that establishment than they imagine. Spookying up the Golden
          > Dawn,
          > Crowley and modern witchcraft with a dash of Lovecraft and Qliphoth etc is
          > no
          > more informed about the real roots of Western magic in goetia. Its just
          > more of
          > the same in all but the most superficial details.
          >
          > Which brings me to the other aspect of 'why we used masonry'. It was as a
          > *substitute* for elements of the magical tradition we'd either lost, or felt
          > uncomfortable with in a more orthodox religious environment than currently
          > exists. Virtually every western school has relied on Masonry to fill in the
          > gaps
          > for so long that they are no longer very interested in recovering what it
          > was
          > substituting for. There is so much Masonic bathwater that has to go to make
          > room
          > for real babies in the bath, and change frightens people. Hence bogus
          > history
          > and Masonry predominate, even though there is much better information and
          > different structures available.
          >
          > The *real* roots of what has been called 'black magic' by later
          > philosophies and
          > religions, is in fact an incredibly rich tradition distinct from them, *not
          > defined by opposition to them*, or even reliant on similar terms
          > (qabalistic or
          > neoplatonist).
          >
          > In short, through clinging to bogus history and the secret society model,
          > we are
          > selling ourselves very short indeed as Western magicians.
          >
          > ALWays
          >
          > Jake
          >
          > http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jake Stratton-Kent
          ... yes, I managed to write three volumes so far without any reliance on Masonry, the qlipoth or Qabalahaha - perhaps a chapter pointing out they weren t
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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            On 25 July 2013 11:18, AaronL <kheph777@...> wrote:
            >
            > Greetings, Jake!
            >
            > For the most part, I agree with what you have to say. Although, I think
            > you would do much better to discuss why the study of Goetia can proceed
            > without Masonic-based secret societies, than to actually denigrate the
            > societies in and of themselves.

            yes, I managed to write three volumes so far without any reliance on
            Masonry, the qlipoth or Qabalahaha - perhaps a chapter pointing out
            they weren't there, and aren't needed would have helped. There is no
            denigration here, it is a straight, from the shoulder critique of the
            weaknesses in modern magic and their source.

            > The magickal orders and secret societies *do* have a place in the Western
            > Mystery Tradition (WMT).

            they *had* a place - whether they are playing a progressive role *now*
            is a different matter.


            Speaking as someone who is about as deep on the
            > inside of that culture as you can get, I do not agree with you that they are
            > stagnant or holding the WMT back. There is a lot of work and innovation
            > going on in my Tradition right now. I would say that for the first time
            > since the 19th Century, the lodge-style orders are in something of a
            > renaissance.

            I expect disagreement, but I see no renaissance. Whereas without even
            being part of the 'scene' I can't help but notice the latest GD War!
            It's old, its dull, it is holding us back.

            > And I would certainly argue that they are *not* using Masonry to "fill the
            > gaps" of anything. In fact, it is the other way around. Masonry has
            > removed itself from its own mystical underpinnings so far that, these days,
            > young Masons are apt to seek out the Golden Dawn to fill in gaps.

            well yeah, obviously I'm talking about 'Irregular Freemasonry' of the
            occult type, the Blue Lodge is beyond irrelevant; that doesn't make
            the irregular brand any more progressive or useful.

            > You are correct that the orders are not going in the direction that you
            > are pulling. Even my own Solomonic work (which you know is pulling in
            > pretty much the same direction as yours) is done outside the confines of my
            > order. But I just can't see my work in the order as some sort of detriment
            > to my Solomonic work.

            or to put it another way, the fact you're doing progressive grimoire
            work outside Masonry is what enables you to participate in a
            globalised dialogue in which occult masonry is a non-contributor.
            There is no guarantee such groups won't try to co-opt these
            developments to make themselves seem cool and trendy, and diminish the
            paradigm shifting potential in the process, but the point stands.


            > In fact, my work in the order plays a rather important role in my
            > Solomonic practice. No, I don't blend the systems - I don't use Golden Dawn
            > rituals and techniques as a basis for the grimoire magick. However, the
            > grimoires *do* happen to mention in places that some sort of ordination is
            > helpful in performing the magick. In other words - it helps if one
            > undertakes some form of initiatory process.

            the key words being *some form* - it appears to me that five minutes
            after someone decides to become an occultist the words 'magical order'
            float thru their mind, without ever considering whether there are
            other options available. And there are...

            One really obvious one is the so called 'Gnostic Church' model. This
            has already been partially co-opted by Irregular Masons - thus
            reducing the potential for change and sharing of information etc. by
            excluding or reducing interaction with a 'congregation' or community
            of non-initiates. There are others too, such as the Mass Movement
            (Theosophical Society being one example, TOPY being another, both had
            massive impact - far beyond what the closed group has achieved in a
            long time. And take note that the impact of Regardie *revealing* the
            secret GD system is where our impetus really came from. If Mathers and
            co had successfully 'tyled the Lodge' we wouldn't be having this
            conversation!


            > I'm not a Catholic, so becoming an priest in the Church isn't going to
            > happen. However, I am a Gnostic and a Hermeticist - and as such I became
            > "ordained" by working my way through the Golden Dawn's Outer Grades and into
            > the RR et AC. I have sat as Hierophant - which you could translate as "High
            > Priest" - in my Temple and initiated others into the Tradition. (Currently
            > I am a past-Hierophant, but I will sit as Hierophant again when my turn
            > comes back around.)

            yeah I know the drill, I have a GD/AC background myself, but notice
            how you already put 'Gnostic' in the same context. It doesn't have to
            be there. In fact the potential is far less when it is, as all
            potential to organise differently is automatically subtracted.

            Being in a magical order never *stopped* my occult work either.
            However, since I abandoned them altogether, I discovered I could move
            a lot faster without the dead weight holding me back. Had I stayed
            there would be no Encyclopedia Goetica, the old cliches about goetia
            were too deep rooted to make that a supportive environment.

            > In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my Guardian
            > Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual authority necessary to
            > hang out with the angels and spirits of the grimoires. When they say, "John
            > Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron
            > Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic
            > Order of the Golden Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.

            Surprise, my Angel also instructed me to get involved with Orders and lodges.
            But that was a long time back, and there is more to the picture. Some
            of the lessons I have learned *required* being in a magical order,
            there was not much chance of seeing the inherent problems without
            doing so. I've also - throughout my life - been part of several *other
            types* of community, and that is no coincidence either.

            In any case, the power of the 'goes' is personal, remember goetia is
            named after the operator, quite the opposite of magic giving its name
            to the magician. I no longer have to say 'I Frater N, of the Grade N,
            am come to this working...'. I've been there, but no more.

            Now to reintroduce my other points, because my statement was a unity,
            not a collection of disparate points, an overview rather than a
            selective attack.

            Witches imitate masonry, and the unproductive squabbles of Bicca and
            Bitchcraft has continued for as many decades as the 'charter and
            copyright BS' of certain orders.
            This 'Secret Society' characteristic has expanded far more in the last
            forty years than the far more important elements of grimoire magic
            which give them their real roots.

            With both witch and Order forms, supposed 'secret knowledge' makes
            them impervious to the massive amount of information available outside
            their closed circles. So too the Dark Fluff brigade, pretty much
            everything they have comes from the same 'occult masonry' sources;
            whether leaning more to the witch end or the order end - there is
            nothing new there either. What they *all* have in common is Masonry,
            bogus history and secrecy. Communication and assimilation of
            information available from external sources - many of them
            *non-secretive* sources - would do more good, but these masonic
            elements not only do not encourage that, they impede it.

            Incidentally, bogus history and secrecy are both inheritances of the
            Masonic model; they may have served a purpose once, they no longer do
            so; 'post modernist' endorsement of bogus history notwithstanding.

            Jake

            http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
          • Rob
            ... This is an interesting point, and something I wasn t aware of as a general rule... it was my HGA (or equivalent, since I didn t do the formal Abra Melin
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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              --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, "AaronL" <kheph777@...> wrote:
              > In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my
              > Guardian Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual
              > authority necessary to hang out with the angels and spirits of the
              > grimoires. When they say, "John Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but
              > who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of
              > the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
              > Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.

              This is an interesting point, and something I wasn't aware of as a general rule... it was my HGA (or equivalent, since I didn't do the formal Abra Melin working) that sent me to Ifa, with exactly similar results. Pretty much anything I address with my name, rank and serial number *g* acknowledges me and welcomes me to the club.

              Funny how tens of thousands of years of shamanic cultures insisting "you can't initiate yourself" turned out to be right, versus fifty years of "you ain't the boss of me, I do what I want!" Wonder how that happened.

              Grinning,

              Zad / Awo Ogbe Di
            • Jake Stratton-Kent
              ... Perhaps more familiarity with some thinkers in your field but outside your box might be useful (been a habit of mine for years). Fact is you could hardly
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                On 25 July 2013 11:23, Aaron H <enigmius.ah@...> wrote:
                > I don't think this had anything really to do with what is the "real" roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions such as "Goetia". Some people such as yourself are interested in going all the way back to the PGM era....
                > I think what is more trendy is the idea, if its older than it must be more valid or correct. How far are we going to go? It's silly in my opinion, personally....
                > Not everyone is interest in reviving definitions and or practices that far back.


                Perhaps more familiarity with some thinkers in your field but outside
                your box might be useful (been a habit of mine for years). Fact is you
                could hardly get me more wrong or miss the point more completely. Sure
                the PGM are a major interest of mine, just as Agrippa is my second
                most page tagged resource work. My other key influences in goetia
                exhibit no sign of 'old is best': the GV is C18th, my main ritual
                frame derives from the GD Neophyte ritual and Quimbanda is here and
                now. What I argue for is understanding and embracing the commonalities
                of the tradition over its many periods: archaic, Hellenistic,
                medieval, Renaissance and yeah even the early modern.

                The problem I was describing is that to a large degree modern
                occultism does not do this, and much of what we see is in fact a mish
                mash of GD and Crowley on the Masonic model (take Gardnerian Wicca,
                with a Masonic model, and heavy initial Crowleyan influence).
                Similarly, the widely imitated Grantian excesses of embracing the
                Qliphoth and Lovecraft is pretty much all that distinguishes
                'ultra-modern' magic from either ceremonial magic or modern
                witchcraft. In other words, the Masonic model and several of its flaws
                have become generic. Taking an overview of occultism rather than
                focusing on a pet niche this feature is so salient it has to be
                examined; which I have done over a long period of time, and concluded
                it is a problem.

                The GD/AC Masonic model is an all pervading influence in the occult
                mainstream - regardless of how superficially different the
                manifestations are. Along with habits of 'secrecy' that impede
                research and dialogue, we have bogus history; these too originate in
                the same sphere, GD and modern witchcraft, and have been taken on by
                the Dark Fluff offshoots. This is not a 'want to live in the past'
                nostalgia, it is a bang up to date critique.


                ALWays

                Jake


                On 25 July 2013 11:23, Aaron H <enigmius.ah@...> wrote:
                > I don't think this had anything really to do with what is the "real" roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions such as "Goetia". Some people such as yourself are interested in going all the way back to the PGM era.
                Some people, such as myself, are only interested in the Renaissance
                era which has definitions codified by people like Agrippa. Other
                people are only interested in post-victorian era. All of these have
                changes in the definitions and practices. There isn't anything "more
                real" about it, as we are talking about the invisible world and the
                ideas that surround its interaction. Who is going to say how they
                interact with invisible friends is more correct, lol? Anyway those
                ideas naturally change and evolve, even if only through writing about
                it.
                >
                > I think what is more trendy is the idea, if its older than it must be more valid or correct. How far are we going to go? It's silly in my opinion, personally.
                >
                > So, i'll continue to use Agrippa's definition of Goetia because that is the era of occultism I'm interested in.
                >
                > I'm not interested personally in reverting definitions back to pre-renaissance, eventhough I will recognize the evolution of such definitions. And that is just my prerogative.
                >
                > Not everyone is interest in reviving definitions and or practices that far back.

                Jake

                http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
              • Jake Stratton-Kent
                Incidentally, there is a background for secret societies that goes back to the archaic era of Western magic. Pythagorean, Orphic, private religious
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                  Incidentally, there is a background for secret societies that goes
                  back to the archaic era of Western magic. Pythagorean, Orphic, private
                  religious associations of the Greco-Roman era. That could easily be
                  used as ammunition against me *IF* I was banging the 'older is better'
                  drum. Which I am not. Such societies also exist outside the WMT right
                  here and now. But I don't equate initiated ATR membership with modern
                  ceremonial magical Orders or covens; and the same goes for the above
                  mentioned ancient societies.

                  So lets get the rabbit in the cross hairs. The main problem lies in
                  the *Revivalist* secret societies and their legacy (structural,
                  qabalistic, the qlipoth skewing traditional demonology etc). So sure,
                  we might need an initiating society or equivalent, but right now we're
                  lumbered with an image of one that was missing way too much and had
                  some serious flaws. Just as I had to give up angels to rediscover them
                  without preconceptions, modern occultism needs to detach itself from
                  how it thinks about group organisation before it makes the necessary
                  adjustments. Difficult, sure, but who said magic was an easy ride?

                  http://www.consciousearth.us/socrates-unexamined-life.html

                  There are other issues than organisation, also from the GD/Crowley
                  influence (which goes way beyond their own sphere, into grimoire
                  studies etc, for obvious reasons).

                  I seriously consider the introduction of the Qlipoth into modern
                  occultism by the GD to be a tremendous mistake, with next to no
                  precedent in any previous phase of WMT.

                  Another is that many aspects of Western magic have no essential
                  relation to qabalah. Many for instance relate to astrology, and will
                  only be distorted by the generic qabalah.

                  So, one way or other, whatever new information or new approach or
                  emphasis comes along, the tendency is to force it into a generic
                  strait jacket with so much baggage the potential is all but stifled by
                  the wrong environment.

                  Jake

                  http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
                • Jake Stratton-Kent
                  ... roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions such as Goetia . Some people such as yourself are interested in going all the
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                    On 25 July 2013 11:23, Aaron H <enigmius.ah@...> wrote:
                    > I don't think this had anything really to do with what is the "real"
                    roots of western occultism vs false roots. Ideas change as do definitions
                    such as "Goetia". Some people such as yourself are interested in going all
                    the way back to the PGM era. Some people, such as myself, are only
                    interested in the Renaissance era which has definitions codified by people
                    like Agrippa. Other people are only interested in post-victorian era. All
                    of these have changes in the definitions and practices. There isn't
                    anything "more real" about it, as we are talking about the invisible world
                    and the ideas that surround its interaction. Who is going to say how they
                    interact with invisible friends is more correct, lol? Anyway those ideas
                    naturally change and evolve, even if only through writing about it.
                    >

                    As mentioned already I don't do 'niche magic', though obviously many do,
                    yourself included. 'Joined up magic' is more my cup of mugwort infusion. So
                    here is my *DEFENCE* of the Golden Dawn, from that exact perspective! I
                    quote from 'Crossroads', an article about an emergent synthesis.

                    <Crowley undoubtedly had a piercing presentiment of the need for a
                    renaissance of magic; restoring it to a position of importance in
                    contemporary culture and bringing it �up to date�. His emphasis on sex and
                    drugs, while potent in its appeal to the youth of the sixties onwards, did
                    much to submerge features of the older traditions worthy of attention.
                    Similarly he bought into many mistaken assumptions of the early revival,
                    and emphasised some unhelpful or at least marginally important elements,
                    such as irregular Freemasonry. In the latter he mirrored the Golden Dawn
                    and other nineteenth century features of the occultism of the day.

                    The track record of the Golden Dawn is a little more varied. Many
                    �neo-traditionalists� today are too eager to point to its failings, while
                    neglecting some of its more important insights and successes. While the
                    Masonic emphasis is � in my opinion � a negative inheritance, there are
                    many positives. There is for example the clear appreciation by the Order
                    and its founders that *Western magic is a continuum*. The incorporation in
                    their initiation rites of elements inspired by the Eleusian and
                    Samothracian Mysteries represents far more than a mere display of
                    erudition. So too the incorporation of a good deal of Egyptian symbolism �
                    often dismissed as due to the Egyptology craze of the time � reflects
                    appreciation of the roots of Western magic in the distant past.>

                    We can thank them for a fair deal else, like bringing Enochian back into
                    the light.

                    So there you go, I think the GD did a good job with the existing materials.
                    Their sense of Western Magic as a continuum, with features from many
                    periods worthy of integration, is close to my own. Unfortunately, many of
                    their successors - and Crowleyan equivalents etc - have been less
                    visionary, even though they have far greater opportunities in terms of
                    information. The GD tried their darndest to do joined up magic; hiding in
                    niches now is missing the point. Informed Syncretism is a good thing, Magic
                    thrives on cross-fertilisation!

                    Untyle the lodge, escape the niche, embrace dialogue

                    ALWays

                    Jake

                    http://www.underworldapothecary.com/


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jake Stratton-Kent
                    ... funnily enough, Grimoire magic is an exception to that rule, working your ass off *is* the initiation. Organisationally, the only group structure visible
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                      On 25 July 2013 13:44, Rob <iamblichos@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, "AaronL" <kheph777@...> wrote:
                      > > In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my
                      > > Guardian Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual
                      > > authority necessary to hang out with the angels and spirits of the
                      > > grimoires. When they say, "John Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but
                      > > who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of
                      > > the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
                      > > Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.
                      >
                      > This is an interesting point, and something I wasn't aware of as a general rule... it was my HGA (or equivalent, since I didn't do the formal Abra Melin working) that sent me to Ifa, with exactly similar results. Pretty much anything I address with my name, rank and serial number *g* acknowledges me and welcomes me to the club.
                      >
                      > Funny how tens of thousands of years of shamanic cultures insisting "you can't initiate yourself" turned out to be right, versus fifty years of "you ain't the boss of me, I do what I want!" Wonder how that happened.

                      funnily enough, Grimoire magic is an exception to that rule, working
                      your ass off *is* the initiation. Organisationally, the only 'group
                      structure' visible in grimoires is the mentor student relationship. No
                      sign of Lodges, covens or anything similar.

                      This is partly why I'd agree with a blog post by another reader of
                      this thread, http://nick-farrell.blogspot.it/ that the one exception
                      to my critique is Masonry provides Initiation, and also his rider that
                      just the same Masonic initiation isn't it!

                      The key players in ritual are not officers reciting, but the spirits -
                      or whatever else we might choose to call them (Invisible Stations in
                      GD parlance for instance).

                      Meanwhile I stand by my statement that collectively we need to back
                      off from what we've been 'conditioned' to think the ideal 'group'
                      structure is. Don't anyone else rush off and start yet another group
                      with only a hapenny of difference from most others! :P

                      the wrong medium drowns the message.

                      Jake

                      http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
                    • Jake Stratton-Kent
                      On 25 July 2013 15:18, Jake Stratton-Kent ... top guys I read on the grimoires are Aaron, Joe Peterson, Skinner & Rankine, (tried to be as wholehearted with
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                        On 25 July 2013 15:18, Jake Stratton-Kent
                        <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                        > familiarity with some thinkers in your field but outside
                        > your box might be useful (been a habit of mine for years).

                        top guys I read on the grimoires are Aaron, Joe Peterson, Skinner &
                        Rankine, (tried to be as wholehearted with Li-blank-ski, but gave up!)
                        Do I always agree? No, but they are the top guys and I shd be aware of
                        their positions if I want to be informed and intellectually honest in
                        my writing and work, which I do. Plus a bunch of others coming up,
                        some of them posters here, mentioning no names Bri, Red, Mike...

                        'You don't have a right to your opinion, you have a right to an
                        *informed* opinion'

                        Jake

                        http://www.underworldapothecary.com/
                      • AaronL
                        ... You see no renaissance *yet*! This is not a simple black and white issue. Right now, from the outside, it doesn t look as if they are playing a major role
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                          --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, Jake Stratton-Kent <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:

                          > > The magickal orders and secret societies *do* have a place in the Western
                          > > Mystery Tradition (WMT).
                          >
                          > they *had* a place - whether they are playing a progressive role *now*
                          > is a different matter.
                          >
                          > I expect disagreement, but I see no renaissance.

                          You see no renaissance *yet*!

                          This is not a simple black and white issue. Right now, from the outside, it doesn't look as if they are playing a major role in the advancement of occultism in the greater society. (Not like they did in the 1800s and early 1900s.) But, since they are - after all - secret societies, most of what is going on is not readily apparent from the outside.

                          However, it *is* going on even if you can't see it. Does this mean we are going to sit on what we are doing as "secrets"? No. Just like the first time around, we are doing our thing rather quietly, but then our adepts will (and already have) begun to publish.

                          What you are seeing right now from the outside is an "in between" state. The secret societies basically fell in the mid-1900s. During the latter half of the 20th century, all that was left was Thelema and the OTO - which doubtlessly had its effect, but not so much these days.

                          Then, over the last few decades, work was being done to revive the secret societies. For example, Chic Cicero's life's work has been largely to gather up the remnants of the old societies and get them re-established. His work has not been about innovation.

                          Now we are entering the second phase of that revival - Chic's generation is just starting to give way to the first wave of new young adepts. And we are the ones who are picking up where things were left off 100 years ago and moving forward.

                          And we are *just now* beginning to publish. As you know, my books have thus far been about the Old Magick - Solomonic grimoires and Dee's Enochian system. It has literally been within the last few months that my first major G.D. publication came out: an anthology called "Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls" - where we have taken the old Flying Rolls and updated them for a modern perspective.

                          The Commentaries book is just a baby step. Over the next few years, we will be releasing more and more books that contain completely new material and illustrate just how we are innovating. Until these publications come out, no one can say whether or not what we are doing is going to have an affect on the greater occult movement.

                          > Whereas without even
                          > being part of the 'scene' I can't help but notice the latest GD War!
                          > It's old, its dull, it is holding us back.

                          <SIGH> That is complete and utter bullocks. There is no "GD War." What you are seeing is the efforts of a single, sad little man and a few of his true-believers sitting around all day every day posting again and again on the internet. These trolls are doing their level best to make enough noise to make it *appear* there is a "GD War" going on, but it's nothing but bullshit.

                          I could go on and on about this, but I'll make this post shorter by asking you to *please* read this blog post:

                          http://aaronleitch.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/the-golden-dawn-wars-or-much-ado-about-nothing/

                          There is more fraternity and cooperation going on between all of the Golden Dawn orders right now, as we speak, than has *ever* been the case before in history. The fact that *one* single group chooses to stand apart and relentlessly attack everyone else doesn't mean we're all wallowing through the muck.

                          > > helpful in performing the magick. In other words - it helps if one
                          > > undertakes some form of initiatory process.
                          >
                          > the key words being *some form* - it appears to me that five minutes
                          > after someone decides to become an occultist the words 'magical order'
                          > float thru their mind, without ever considering whether there are
                          > other options available. And there are...

                          There are, yes. But for some of us the magickal orders are the way to go. We find deep meaning and beauty in what we are doing. There is no reason to class us all as a bunch of wankers. ;)

                          > One really obvious one is the so called 'Gnostic Church' model.

                          You bet.

                          > long time. And take note that the impact of Regardie *revealing* the
                          > secret GD system is where our impetus really came from. If Mathers and
                          > co had successfully 'tyled the Lodge' we wouldn't be having this
                          > conversation!

                          Oh without a doubt! Like I said above - first we do the work quietly, and then we publish. It could be argued that Crowley and Regardie established that model. And now its happening again.

                          > yeah I know the drill, I have a GD/AC background myself, but notice
                          > how you already put 'Gnostic' in the same context. It doesn't have to
                          > be there. In fact the potential is far less when it is, as all
                          > potential to organise differently is automatically subtracted.

                          I don't get you here. I put Gnostic there because I'm a Gnostic. And the G.D. is essentially a gnostic system. For me, it is my "Gnostic Church." I'm not saying this is the case for everyone - merely using my own stance on the issue as an example. And I certainly don't see how my approaching the G.D. as a system of Gnostic initiation somehow lessens it...?

                          > Being in a magical order never *stopped* my occult work either.
                          > However, since I abandoned them altogether, I discovered I could move
                          > a lot faster without the dead weight holding me back.

                          This is where you and I part ways. I have advanced in my occult work the same as you have. I dare say you and I and a few others are doing a lot to make some *major* advancements in Western occultism. But my order has not held me back or been dead-weight to me at all. Thus it is something in your particular experience that made your order affiliations dead-weight, and not something intrinsic to the order structure itself.

                          Now, if my order were actively trying to *stop* me from doing the extra-order work I have been doing, then I'd agree with you. But my order has supported and encouraged my work. (Hell, Chic and Tabatha wrote a preface to "Secrets of the Magickal Grimories" saying how important my work really is.)

                          > Had I stayed
                          > there would be no Encyclopedia Goetica, the old cliches about goetia
                          > were too deep rooted to make that a supportive environment.

                          Ah - see this is what I'm talking about. You were in a stifling environment, and thus you did the right thing to cast them off. If my order was doing that to me, I'd have left them long ago. Thankfully, I'm not having that experience.

                          > With both witch and Order forms, supposed 'secret knowledge' makes
                          > them impervious to the massive amount of information available outside
                          > their closed circles.

                          To be completely candid with you: in my experience, the groups that are sitting on "secret knowledge" that makes them bigger-and-badder-than-thou, and those who trade charters and warrants like baseball cards, are the poser groups that do - in fact - fit the model of irrelevancy that you describe. They just aren't the real deal.

                          > What they *all* have in common is Masonry,
                          > bogus history and secrecy. Communication and assimilation of
                          > information available from external sources - many of them
                          > *non-secretive* sources - would do more good, but these masonic
                          > elements not only do not encourage that, they impede it.

                          That we come from Masonry is a given. The structure of our Temples, the Grade system, the regalia, the ceremonies, etc - all has the stamp of Masonry. But what you are describing - the bogus histories and "we know something YOU don't know" attitudes just aren't there in the majority of orders today. Those that *do* act that way tend to make more noise, sure - but they are strictly a vocal minority.

                          > Incidentally, bogus history and secrecy are both inheritances of the
                          > Masonic model;

                          Agreed. I'm just pointing out that the real orders who are doing real work are no longer caught in those traps. It *is* changing, my friend - and that will become apparent over the next generation. I, myself, have not yet *begun* to publish Golden Dawn material! ;) And you damn good and well I'm not going to be rehashing the same shit you've seen for the last 50 years.

                          > they may have served a purpose once, they no longer do
                          > so; 'post modernist' endorsement of bogus history notwithstanding.

                          Agreed again. My objections are not actually to the spirit of what you are saying here. I simply think that you are painting all of us with too broad a brush. Many of us just don't fit that old model any longer.

                          LVX
                          Aaron
                        • AaronL
                          ... Exactly! As Jake pointed out, joining the Golden Dawn (as I did) isn t hardly the only route to this end. But it is one example. Here you have given
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                            --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, "Rob" <iamblichos@...> wrote:

                            > --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, "AaronL" <kheph777@> wrote:
                            > > In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my
                            > > Guardian Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual
                            > > authority necessary to hang out with the angels and spirits of the
                            > > grimoires. When they say, "John Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but
                            > > who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of
                            > > the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
                            > > Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.
                            >
                            > This is an interesting point, and something I wasn't aware of as a general rule... it was my HGA (or equivalent, since I didn't do the formal Abra Melin working) that sent me to Ifa, with exactly similar results. Pretty much anything I address with my name, rank and serial number *g* acknowledges me and welcomes me to the club.
                            >

                            Exactly! As Jake pointed out, joining the Golden Dawn (as I did) isn't hardly the only route to this end. But it is one example. Here you have given another solid example. And I bet others here have similar stories.

                            > Funny how tens of thousands of years of shamanic cultures insisting "you can't initiate yourself" turned out to be right, versus fifty years of "you ain't the boss of me, I do what I want!" Wonder how that happened.
                            >

                            I won't go so far as to tell a solitary practitioner that they are wasting their time. But, having done it both ways myself, I cannot deny the benefits of joining an initiatory tradition that has given me a place in the larger occult community.

                            As Pythagoras said: "Give me a level long enough and a place to stand, and I shall move the world." For me, the grimoires are my lever, but the Golden Dawn is my place to stand.

                            LVX
                            Aaron
                          • AaronL
                            ... Yep. And, though you don t see it yet, Jake, this is indeed happening now. For example, when we do angelic invocations in the G.D. Temple my wife and I
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                              --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, Jake Stratton-Kent <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:

                              > So there you go, I think the GD did a good job with the existing materials.
                              > Their sense of Western Magic as a continuum, with features from many
                              > periods worthy of integration, is close to my own. Unfortunately, many of
                              > their successors - and Crowleyan equivalents etc - have been less
                              > visionary, even though they have far greater opportunities in terms of
                              > information. The GD tried their darndest to do joined up magic; hiding in
                              > niches now is missing the point. Informed Syncretism is a good thing, Magic
                              > thrives on cross-fertilisation!
                              >
                              > Untyle the lodge, escape the niche, embrace dialogue

                              Yep. And, though you don't see it yet, Jake, this is indeed happening now.

                              For example, when we do angelic invocations in the G.D. Temple my wife and I (with our funky ATR background) bring food offerings. When we first did this, it was quite shocking to the other members of the Temple. They didn't know what to make of it. But once they saw it in action, they got it.

                              One time, we drew up an astrological chart for a summoning we intended to do, and discovered that one Planet was in direct opposition to the Planet we intended to work with. No one was sure how to handle the problem - except for me and Carrie. We came to Temple that day with *two* food offerings. We opened the Hall, then went to the West, made an invocation to the opposing Planet and laid out the offering for those spirits. Then, we went to the East and did the same for the Angel we intended to invoke and made our offering there. Then we went on with the summoning without a hitch. Everyone in the Temple was floored.

                              And this, my friend, was happening in the *Mother Temple* of the HOGD. And that is the kind of thing I'm trying to get across to you. According to your view of my tradition, this could never have happened. Carrie and I would have been restricted from doing it, or asked to leave if we attempted it. And, yes, 30 years ago that might have been the case. But we were in fact given full lee-way to do this, and everyone there learned something from it.

                              It *is* happening, Jake. Things are not as stagnant in the orders as you think they are.

                              LVX
                              Aaron
                            • Jake Stratton-Kent
                              Hi Aaron, to be absolutely fair, I m not part of the Order scene, and don t want to be, largely because of negative experiences in Thelemic groups. Also, my
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jul 25, 2013
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                                Hi Aaron,

                                to be absolutely fair, I'm not part of the Order scene, and don't want
                                to be, largely because of negative experiences in Thelemic groups.
                                Also, my critique is more about the *legacy* of orders as represented
                                in occultism at large than a repudiation of Orders as such. That is,
                                there are several 'genres' doing the rounds in which the negative
                                impact of orders are present. Several of the 'LHP' Orders springing up
                                would have been better advised to try another model (and omit the
                                over-spooky stuff).

                                I do trust you and your judgement, in and out of my own areas of
                                interest. I strongly suspect you read the manufactured GD War exactly
                                right; though you shouldn't under-estimate the impact, (or the
                                opposition). So I have to hope you're right about a new generation of
                                Orders. Nevertheless, 'anti-masonic' sentiment isn't exactly over
                                represented in magic, and I make no apologies for being largely of
                                that persuasion.

                                re gnosis, we're just not understanding each other. I'm wary - through
                                experience - of Masonic Orders monopolising/thwarting the potential of
                                Gnostic Churches; I didn't have you in mind there as such, far from
                                it!
                                Also, I'm not completely at home with seeing the GD as 'Gnostic'; its
                                a word with several interpretations to say the least. However the GD
                                documents known as the 'General & Particular Exordium' and the 'Vision
                                of the Universal Mercury' could well represent a 'gnosis', and are
                                certainly important to me.

                                Jake

                                http://www.underworldapothecary.com/


                                On 25 July 2013 20:41, AaronL <kheph777@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In solomonic@yahoogroups.com, Jake Stratton-Kent <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >> > The magickal orders and secret societies *do* have a place in the Western
                                >> > Mystery Tradition (WMT).
                                >>
                                >> they *had* a place - whether they are playing a progressive role *now*
                                >> is a different matter.
                                >>
                                >> I expect disagreement, but I see no renaissance.
                                >
                                > You see no renaissance *yet*!
                                >
                                > This is not a simple black and white issue. Right now, from the outside, it doesn't look as if they are playing a major role in the advancement of occultism in the greater society. (Not like they did in the 1800s and early 1900s.) But, since they are - after all - secret societies, most of what is going on is not readily apparent from the outside.
                                >
                                > However, it *is* going on even if you can't see it. Does this mean we are going to sit on what we are doing as "secrets"? No. Just like the first time around, we are doing our thing rather quietly, but then our adepts will (and already have) begun to publish.
                                >
                                > What you are seeing right now from the outside is an "in between" state. The secret societies basically fell in the mid-1900s. During the latter half of the 20th century, all that was left was Thelema and the OTO - which doubtlessly had its effect, but not so much these days.
                                >
                                > Then, over the last few decades, work was being done to revive the secret societies. For example, Chic Cicero's life's work has been largely to gather up the remnants of the old societies and get them re-established. His work has not been about innovation.
                                >
                                > Now we are entering the second phase of that revival - Chic's generation is just starting to give way to the first wave of new young adepts. And we are the ones who are picking up where things were left off 100 years ago and moving forward.
                                >
                                > And we are *just now* beginning to publish. As you know, my books have thus far been about the Old Magick - Solomonic grimoires and Dee's Enochian system. It has literally been within the last few months that my first major G.D. publication came out: an anthology called "Commentaries on the Golden Dawn Flying Rolls" - where we have taken the old Flying Rolls and updated them for a modern perspective.
                                >
                                > The Commentaries book is just a baby step. Over the next few years, we will be releasing more and more books that contain completely new material and illustrate just how we are innovating. Until these publications come out, no one can say whether or not what we are doing is going to have an affect on the greater occult movement.
                                >
                                >> Whereas without even
                                >> being part of the 'scene' I can't help but notice the latest GD War!
                                >> It's old, its dull, it is holding us back.
                                >
                                > <SIGH> That is complete and utter bullocks. There is no "GD War." What you are seeing is the efforts of a single, sad little man and a few of his true-believers sitting around all day every day posting again and again on the internet. These trolls are doing their level best to make enough noise to make it *appear* there is a "GD War" going on, but it's nothing but bullshit.
                                >
                                > I could go on and on about this, but I'll make this post shorter by asking you to *please* read this blog post:
                                >
                                > http://aaronleitch.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/the-golden-dawn-wars-or-much-ado-about-nothing/
                                >
                                > There is more fraternity and cooperation going on between all of the Golden Dawn orders right now, as we speak, than has *ever* been the case before in history. The fact that *one* single group chooses to stand apart and relentlessly attack everyone else doesn't mean we're all wallowing through the muck.
                                >
                                >> > helpful in performing the magick. In other words - it helps if one
                                >> > undertakes some form of initiatory process.
                                >>
                                >> the key words being *some form* - it appears to me that five minutes
                                >> after someone decides to become an occultist the words 'magical order'
                                >> float thru their mind, without ever considering whether there are
                                >> other options available. And there are...
                                >
                                > There are, yes. But for some of us the magickal orders are the way to go. We find deep meaning and beauty in what we are doing. There is no reason to class us all as a bunch of wankers. ;)
                                >
                                >> One really obvious one is the so called 'Gnostic Church' model.
                                >
                                > You bet.
                                >
                                >> long time. And take note that the impact of Regardie *revealing* the
                                >> secret GD system is where our impetus really came from. If Mathers and
                                >> co had successfully 'tyled the Lodge' we wouldn't be having this
                                >> conversation!
                                >
                                > Oh without a doubt! Like I said above - first we do the work quietly, and then we publish. It could be argued that Crowley and Regardie established that model. And now its happening again.
                                >
                                >> yeah I know the drill, I have a GD/AC background myself, but notice
                                >> how you already put 'Gnostic' in the same context. It doesn't have to
                                >> be there. In fact the potential is far less when it is, as all
                                >> potential to organise differently is automatically subtracted.
                                >
                                > I don't get you here. I put Gnostic there because I'm a Gnostic. And the G.D. is essentially a gnostic system. For me, it is my "Gnostic Church." I'm not saying this is the case for everyone - merely using my own stance on the issue as an example. And I certainly don't see how my approaching the G.D. as a system of Gnostic initiation somehow lessens it...?
                                >
                                >> Being in a magical order never *stopped* my occult work either.
                                >> However, since I abandoned them altogether, I discovered I could move
                                >> a lot faster without the dead weight holding me back.
                                >
                                > This is where you and I part ways. I have advanced in my occult work the same as you have. I dare say you and I and a few others are doing a lot to make some *major* advancements in Western occultism. But my order has not held me back or been dead-weight to me at all. Thus it is something in your particular experience that made your order affiliations dead-weight, and not something intrinsic to the order structure itself.
                                >
                                > Now, if my order were actively trying to *stop* me from doing the extra-order work I have been doing, then I'd agree with you. But my order has supported and encouraged my work. (Hell, Chic and Tabatha wrote a preface to "Secrets of the Magickal Grimories" saying how important my work really is.)
                                >
                                >> Had I stayed
                                >> there would be no Encyclopedia Goetica, the old cliches about goetia
                                >> were too deep rooted to make that a supportive environment.
                                >
                                > Ah - see this is what I'm talking about. You were in a stifling environment, and thus you did the right thing to cast them off. If my order was doing that to me, I'd have left them long ago. Thankfully, I'm not having that experience.
                                >
                                >> With both witch and Order forms, supposed 'secret knowledge' makes
                                >> them impervious to the massive amount of information available outside
                                >> their closed circles.
                                >
                                > To be completely candid with you: in my experience, the groups that are sitting on "secret knowledge" that makes them bigger-and-badder-than-thou, and those who trade charters and warrants like baseball cards, are the poser groups that do - in fact - fit the model of irrelevancy that you describe. They just aren't the real deal.
                                >
                                >> What they *all* have in common is Masonry,
                                >> bogus history and secrecy. Communication and assimilation of
                                >> information available from external sources - many of them
                                >> *non-secretive* sources - would do more good, but these masonic
                                >> elements not only do not encourage that, they impede it.
                                >
                                > That we come from Masonry is a given. The structure of our Temples, the Grade system, the regalia, the ceremonies, etc - all has the stamp of Masonry. But what you are describing - the bogus histories and "we know something YOU don't know" attitudes just aren't there in the majority of orders today. Those that *do* act that way tend to make more noise, sure - but they are strictly a vocal minority.
                                >
                                >> Incidentally, bogus history and secrecy are both inheritances of the
                                >> Masonic model;
                                >
                                > Agreed. I'm just pointing out that the real orders who are doing real work are no longer caught in those traps. It *is* changing, my friend - and that will become apparent over the next generation. I, myself, have not yet *begun* to publish Golden Dawn material! ;) And you damn good and well I'm not going to be rehashing the same shit you've seen for the last 50 years.
                                >
                                >> they may have served a purpose once, they no longer do
                                >> so; 'post modernist' endorsement of bogus history notwithstanding.
                                >
                                > Agreed again. My objections are not actually to the spirit of what you are saying here. I simply think that you are painting all of us with too broad a brush. Many of us just don't fit that old model any longer.
                                >
                                > LVX
                                > Aaron
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ------------------------------------
                                >
                                > "Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires" is now available! Let me know what you think.
                                > http://kheph777.tripod.com/indexsecrets.htmlYahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • Matthew Barclay
                                Hi All, I m a little late to the party. ... spiritual authority. Eliade, in Shamanism, talks about how shamans are directly initiated by the spirits
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jul 26, 2013
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                                  Hi All,

                                  I'm a little late to the party.


                                  On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 6:18 AM, AaronL <kheph777@...> wrote:

                                  > **
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my Guardian
                                  > Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual authority necessary to
                                  > hang out with the angels and spirits of the grimoires. When they say, "John
                                  > Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron
                                  > Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic
                                  > Order of the Golden Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.
                                  >
                                  > I'm certainly not saying that is the *only* way to gain the necessary
                                  > spiritual authority. But it was the way for me, and it works. And I see
                                  > just as much relevance in the order as I see in what you and I are doing
                                  > with the Solomonic material outside the orders. The fact that they are
                                  > different does not make them mutually exclusive.
                                  >
                                  > It seems like no one has brought up one of the BIG other ways of gaining
                                  spiritual authority. Eliade, in Shamanism, talks about how shamans are
                                  directly initiated by the spirits themselves. Undoubtedly in many, if not
                                  most, societies with shamans or shamanic figures there is a great deal of
                                  training and indoctrination that comes at the hands of older shamans BUT
                                  often times if the acting shaman dies before a new shaman has been
                                  initiated someone WILL take their place without "apostolic succession".

                                  Sometimes these initiations happen spontaneously without training from
                                  someone who has "been there" previously. Illness is often part of the
                                  initiatory process ("physician heal thyself").

                                  A large part of what has drawn me to the grimoires and "goetic magic" is
                                  it's relationship to the ideas that Peter Lamborn Wilson explores in *Shower
                                  of Stars: The Initiatic Dream in Sufism & Taoism. *The Abramelin operation
                                  itself is quite obviously an initiation, down to the new clothes the
                                  neophyte wears, just like Lucian does at the end of


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Matthew Barclay
                                  Google done did me wrong. Who puts the send button next to the text formatting options? Anyhow, ... *The Golden Ass* and just like newly minted Santeros do
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jul 26, 2013
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                                    Google done did me wrong. Who puts the send button next to the text
                                    formatting options? Anyhow,


                                    On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 6:49 PM, Matthew Barclay <bobby.lupo@...>wrote:

                                    > Hi All,
                                    >
                                    > I'm a little late to the party.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 6:18 AM, AaronL <kheph777@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >> **
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> In fact, I joined the Golden Dawn entirely on the orders of my Guardian
                                    >> Angel. For me, this is how I gained the spiritual authority necessary to
                                    >> hang out with the angels and spirits of the grimoires. When they say, "John
                                    >> Dee we know, Agrippa we know, but who are you?", I reply, "I am Aaron
                                    >> Leitch, Frater Odo Caosg of the Isis-Urania Mother Temple of the Hermetic
                                    >> Order of the Golden Dawn" - and it does indeed carry weight.
                                    >>
                                    >> I'm certainly not saying that is the *only* way to gain the necessary
                                    >> spiritual authority. But it was the way for me, and it works. And I see
                                    >> just as much relevance in the order as I see in what you and I are doing
                                    >> with the Solomonic material outside the orders. The fact that they are
                                    >> different does not make them mutually exclusive.
                                    >>
                                    >> It seems like no one has brought up one of the BIG other ways of gaining
                                    > spiritual authority. Eliade, in Shamanism, talks about how shamans are
                                    > directly initiated by the spirits themselves. Undoubtedly in many, if not
                                    > most, societies with shamans or shamanic figures there is a great deal of
                                    > training and indoctrination that comes at the hands of older shamans BUT
                                    > often times if the acting shaman dies before a new shaman has been
                                    > initiated someone WILL take their place without "apostolic succession".
                                    >
                                    > Sometimes these initiations happen spontaneously without training from
                                    > someone who has "been there" previously. Illness is often part of the
                                    > initiatory process ("physician heal thyself").
                                    >
                                    > A large part of what has drawn me to the grimoires and "goetic magic" is
                                    > it's relationship to the ideas that Peter Lamborn Wilson explores in *Shower
                                    > of Stars: The Initiatic Dream in Sufism & Taoism. *The Abramelin
                                    > operation itself is quite obviously an initiation, down to the new clothes
                                    > the neophyte wears, just like Lucian does at the end of
                                    >

                                    *The Golden Ass* and just like newly minted Santeros do today. There are
                                    distinct parallels with the main operation of the *Verum*.

                                    I definitely see the value that can arise from training with a magical
                                    order or a coven but ultimately no person can initiate another. It is the
                                    purview of the spirits alone, which is underlined by the importance of the
                                    invisible stations in GD initiations. With that understood, what's the
                                    difference between a properly performed Pyramidos vs a "proper" lodge based
                                    initiation into the AA? All I can see is more opportunity for someone to be
                                    phoning it in as it were.

                                    Best,
                                    Matt


                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • irbankei
                                    Hi It seems to me that if we consider the roots of Western Tradition and go back to Egypt, Homer and people like Parmenides and Empedocles and then forward to
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jul 29, 2013
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                                      Hi

                                      It seems to me that if we consider the roots of Western Tradition and go back to Egypt, Homer and people like Parmenides and Empedocles and then forward to traditions like PGM the Hermetica and some of the Gnostic texts we can see a continuum of praxis which is both mystical and practical; innovative and rooted in a ground of tradition.

                                      Its roots do seem to me to be in what we could called shamanism and spirit work and how we pick this up and work with it today is an important question.

                                      The problem for me with the secret orders approach is that it separates those practitioners off from the wider tradition often by creating secret histories and secret chiefs who are the custodians of those mysteries.

                                      This then does place people in a difficult position when trying to place themselves and their work in cultural context:- people get obsessed by lineage presumably out of insecurity when there is in fact a clear and powerful lineage behind the development of western magic albeit not one owned by somebody's family or private group.


                                      Having a sense of that larger history enables many things, I think, certainly cross cultural dialogue is easier but also it can bring a richness of understanding. If for example we look at A O Spare as a spirit worker coming our of the goetic tradition we can much more consider how innovative and powerful his work is. He has created a method of deriving spirit sigils; he shows us how to work with death and the manifestation of spirits and ancestors through the flesh with a minimum of external apparatus.

                                      My original training came from Ernest Butler who was an interesting man and one of the things I really like about him is that he insisted of calling himself a magician-there is something here about the centrality of magic and its lineage that is communally culturally owned. I don't deny at all that small groups have a powerful palce in the work ; I am not at all sure about orders esoteric grades etc.44

                                      best wishes

                                      Ian Rees
                                    • wolfangel888
                                      Reading through this conversation reminded me of this page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheistic_reconstructionism Particularly where the article points
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Jul 29, 2013
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                                        Reading through this conversation reminded me of this page

                                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheistic_reconstructionism

                                        Particularly where the article points too " the difference between reconstructionist Neopaganism and "classical" Neopaganism as found in Eighteenth to mid Twentieth century movements "

                                        The idea of looking at Gnostic churches as reconstructed or romanticised institutions particularly comes to mind. The information and theory's we have are constantly restating themselves with the emergence of further evidence and research. How do these institutions accommodate these changes in perception and awareness, or perhaps they assume a more essentialist viewpoint.

                                        Also a critical, de-constructing look at the eclecticism and cultural appropriation that many modern orders make use of and seem to build upon from there 20th century counterparts. The modern attitudes to syncreticism in general, How traditionalism can create a form of puritanism, the tension between the eclectic and the classical, the channelled and the self initiated.

                                        Reconstructivist grimoire traditions appraising classical romantic grimoire traditions.

                                        Since i find myself relating through many of these windows (at the same time) in my own practice it has been very timely to stumble upon this conversation.

                                        Many Thanks.
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