Looking for the Hermetic Christianity Teachings of the Golden Dawn
Hello readers. This post continues my Reviews of the Rosicrucian Orders series, and is part two of the Golden Dawn Review. In case you missed the G.D Review Introduction read that post here.
We’ll get to reviewing the magical and alchemical work of the Golden Dawn, but first we have to cover the Christosophia score, which is the element most Rosicrucian Orders mishandle.
The Christosophia score is divided into three sections. For new readers of my Rosicrucian Reviews series I suggest you read the introduction here and also the outline of the scoring system. You’ll see that the review standard was arrived to using original source documents for the Rosicrucian tradition.
The Christosophia score examines the presence of Christian mysticism within any given Order. It is certain that the Rosicrucians WERE Christians, and yet they practiced a ‘Hermetic-Christianity.’
If you need to first get clear on that subject see my earlier posts:
The first post highlighted the presence of Apollo and Venus in the original manifestos, changing our understanding of what Rosicrucian Christianity entails. The second post revealed the connection between the appearance of the Rosicrucians and an ancient Hermetic prophecy.
In this section of the review the first ten points are awarded for the presence of Christian symbols. The second ten points are awarded for the presence of Hermetic-Christianity. A negative ten points may be awarded for a Gnostic approach to that Christianity rather than a Hermetic one.
Cristosophia1: Christ Symbol
Christ appears throughout the G.D system, that is to say – within its inner Rosicrucian Order.
There is a bit of an irony here in that while Christ is presented through ritual items the G.D itself is not a Christian Order and largely does not take a Christian mystical approach, as say Jacob Boehme.
This is where the first gap arises between the public and esoteric Golden Dawn.
And it does influence their Christosophia score.
The approach taken in mainstream G.D within its range of public bodies offers differing views, such as ‘Christ is a godform layer to the Inner Order’ or ‘Christ provides a power current to the magical rituals of the Inner Order.’ Such statements do not capture the Christosophia properties we are looking for.
Very little is taught on Christian ideals such as compassion, love and forgiveness, which should be at the heart of any Order calling itself Rosicrucian. The heart emblems of Cramer would have been a nice addition to the RR et AC along with the R.C d’Orient path of self-sacrifice to the poor.
Fortunately there is one public G.D branch called the Sodalitas Rosae+Crucis & Sodalitas Solis Alati (SRC SSA) which openly incorporates not only Martinism but also the R.C d’Orient work, meaning Christian Theurgy. It is one of the most Rosicrucian Orders happening in our time, they even have Cagliostro’s Arcana Arcanorum which was derived from the last living tradition of the Golden Rosenkreuzers.
There was one very Christian branch at the early phases of G.D history worth mentioning. Waite left the Order and went on to found his own G.D branch, first the Holy Order of the G.D until later the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. While it doesn’t live up to the full spectrum of the scoring system, after all it teaches nothing on practical magic, alchemy or Cabala, the actual rituals themselves show a higher Christosophia score than the Golden Dawn. He wrote ‘the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross has no concern whatsoever in occult research, it is a Quest of Grace, and not a Quest of Power.’
There were also other early brands that incorporated Christianity, to varying degrees.
Whare Ra in New Zealand was one of the longest going G.D currents and certainly it was Christian and had a more faith based approach. In fact most of its members saw attending the G.D as a way to enhance their Catholic beliefs. Still it was not the Christianity of the manifestos.
Thus a wide range of G.D approaches exist through its various branches and offshoots. Like the Martinist Order the teachings of each G.D branch will depend upon their angle. The branches vary widely, from incorporating Gnosticism all the way to entirely pagan G.D Orders like Nick Farrell’s MOA, then there are more Egyptian versions and some are outright Thelemic, following Crowley’s religion.
Yo, but where’s my homie Christ at?
Firstly, Christ appears as a powerful symbol upon the lid of a Rosicrucian coffin used for initiation rituals into the RR et AC. Here the candidate is dramatically led into the tomb and sees Christian Rosenkreuz in an immortal sleeping state where they experience the G.D Christ mystery.
The importance of this pastos lid is that the two diagrams upon it are a continuation of two other diagrams used in the Outer Order. The Outer Order ones features Old Testament symbolism and the Inner Order features more Christian symbolism, leading you into the Rosicrucian current.
You can see two Christian figures on the lid. The first is Christ sacrificed upon the cross. The diagram is intended to show a reversal of what damage was caused by the fall of Adam. Its Outer Order components are the Garden of Eden Before the Fall diagram and the other After the Fall plate, which first shows paradise and then show how these dragons had penetrated into the soul of humanity through the sphere of sensation (Golden Dawn aura concept), which Christ is now undoing.
The figure on the top half of the coffin lid is drawn from the Apocalypse of Saint John, being the figure of the Ancient of Days and about him are the seven spirits or torches of fire which are before the throne of God. This is all very Christian stuff which scores solid points.
Another excellent use of Christ symbolism appears in the Seal of the Order, being the Seal of the RR et AC. Clearly Christ is featured and this time he is encircled within the colors of the five elements, which in G.D terms represents the five letters of the name YHShVh. In fact the Seal of the Inner Order is based upon the Golden Rosenkreuzer original featured in Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians.
Without doubt I am scoring this seal above the Martinist symbol but there one a major issue here. The Martinists have all the Rosicrucian-Christian spirit and the G.D has all the symbols as face value only.
It is this lack of Christian mysticism which diminishes the value of such symbols in the next score.
Are the Christ symbols there for nothing? Are they empty shells?
Clearly after initiation into the RR et AC all the Christ symbolism stops dead in its tracks. Now, upon reaching Adeptus Minor, the initiate is handed more occult correspondences to learn off by heart, more magical rituals and very complex formula to study, which require a life time of study in fact.
As I have always said ‘No Christ = No Rosicrucian current’ in that when the Fama says ‘Jesus it my all’ we should not find that Christ appears only as a dude on the corner.
The G.D would have done very well to supplement Boehme lectures here, or at least have a series of monographs concerning ‘On Being an Adept in True Christian Spirit’ which details some mystical appreciation on the words of Christ. This is where the Martinist outdo the G.D.
Despite the RR et AC being Rosicrucian most G.D leaders mention the current as being ‘just a layer of symbolism to the ritual’ and worse I’ve heard a major G.D authority say ‘there is nothing to the Rosicrucian symbolism.’ Instead the focus is on the magical approach rather than the Rosicrucian one.
My thoughts are that while the G.D has all the trappings of a Rosicrucian Order – the community only utilizes the Rosicrucian symbolism in a very materialistic way, if it does not perhaps alienate it. The trappings certainly are there, but sometimes the ‘lights really are on but no one is home.’
But bear in mind that this lack of Christosophia is more a problem of the public Golden Dawn. The esoteric Golden Dawn has very strong Cabalistic teachings on Christian mysticism. This is one of the examples of the public G.D being guilty of ignoring its own teachings and papers.
What is highly redeeming to the G.D attitude towards Christ is that in their Rosicrucian ritual the candidate is actually crucified before initiation into the R.C tomb. This is extremely dramatic and is the kind of thing we are looking for in this section of the review.
The Golden Dawn Receives 9 out of 10 for its Christ Symbol score, the highest rating so far.
If this score could be increased it would require a further examination of many Christ symbols, venturing into the cycle of Christ at a deeper level. For example the 12 Apostles, a spear and crown of thorns could be added to the ritual, and the candidate would circulate the temple one time carrying a cross over their shoulders. Furthermore the forty days of the desert of Christ should actually be something the candidate has to undergo, following a period of mystical work before the Rosicrucian degree.
Christosophia 2: Hermetic Christianity
The G.D has one of the strongest possible manifestations of Hermetic Christianity.
As I shared in my post ‘Are the Rosicrucians Really Christian’ you’ve learned that the Fama was based upon an earlier document titled the Reformation of the Whole Wide World by Order of Apollo. We also highlighted the appearance of Venus to Christian Rosenkreuz in the Chemical Wedding.
This set the stage for a different understanding of what kind of Christianity we Rosicrucians should embrace. As our friend and Portuguese Jev Alvis also recently pointed out, the title of the first manifesto the ‘Fama’ is actually the name of a Greek goddess of gossip and announcements, who blew her horn to declare news in Olympus and often caused a ruckus. This is the first use of a Rosicrucian godform, as when applied to the announcement of their existence the Rosicrucians caused quite a stir.
My post ‘Ancient Gods Above the Rosicrucian Tomb’ also revealed a connection between the tomb of CRC and an age of prophecy from Egypt, that one day the gods would be restored to humanity, once a talisman structure would be built, in the form of having seven sided walls. It was seen that the Rosicrucian tomb was that talisman and that the Rosicrucians believed in an astral reformation of the gods, Isis and Jupiter etc, in Olympus had to take place before the worldly reformation could occur.
Thus again we see a functional adaption of godforms at a very early phase of Rosicrucian activities. This sets the stage for being able to envision a truly Rosicrucian approach.
The Golden Dawn does extremely well here, fully embracing pagan symbols and ideas.
Maybe too well… as there is an overkill of the gods. Certainly if one accepts that the Rosicrucian manifestos are an extension of the Hermetic master Bruno then the approach is ideal.
What I am saying here is that there is a lot of room here to play in embracing Rosicrucian heritage.
That being said, you also have to bear in mind that the pagan symbols the R.C did use had to do not with polytheism but were symbols for their own ideas. Apollo represented cultural regeneration, and Venus the return to an erotic embrace of a female regenerator many Germans believed in.
G.D approach to Christ is not religious Christianity, as say for example as is required to join the SRIA. It fully explores the solar legends through the symbol of Christ by aligning him to Osiris.
This can be seen in the following words which are spoken by the Adept inside the Vault of the Adepti, being the tomb of C.R.C, used for the 5=6 ritual of initiation. Here the Adept is laying inside the coffin and takes on the part of C.R.C in his incorrupt state as the Rosicrucians found him. He says:
First – ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No Man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’
And – ‘I am the Sun in his rising.’
Then follows – ‘I am Amon the concealed one, the opener of the Day.
And – ‘I am Osiris Onnofris, the Crucified One. I am the Lord of Life, triumphant over death.
It doesn’t get more Hermetic than that. 🙂
The speaker is acts as Christian Rosenkreuz himself, but he is holding the crook and flail symbols of Osiris in his tomb. Thus Public Golden Dawn teaches that Osiris acts as a Nepesch godform layer working through the sleeping Adept who is empowering the candidate with the Christ current.
It is Hermetic Christianity, but it is also quite dry and distances the initiate from Christ.
One has to consider that if Boehme is the ideal form of Hermetic-Christianity what is the difference between his approach and that of the Golden Dawn? He likewise generated a form of Christian mysticism that is purely Hermetic through its use of alchemical phases and language.
A contrast arises here, in that one objectifies Christ as an ideal we may become, while the other does the same, but also worships Christ adoringly through the same process.
I think that both processes are valid, so long as one lives and loves humanity as a Christ.
The G.D teachings of Christ are covered in Flying Rolls X and XXI.
Firstly Flying Roll X ‘Concerning the Symbolism of Self-Sacrifice & Crucifixion Contained in the 5=6 Grade’ describes the initiation process carried out over the lesser grades to the Rosicrucian grade of Adeptus Minor. In particular it describes this process through the temple grade diagrams, and what effect the grades of initiation have on the soul. The language is quite rich but it essentially states that these Christian symbols represent how the light of the higher-self triumphs over the lower-self.
In particular it mentions the diagram of an earlier grade depicting the Fall of Adam, shown through serpents raising their heads from the depths in order to bite the spheres on the Tree of Life.
The lecture says that the diagram is symbolic of the ‘aura of Man’ in that degraded condition.
But then the lecture goes on to say that on arriving to the Rosicrucian grade something new happens. The diagrams depict a suffering Man, ‘before whose justice and purity the heads of the dragon fall back.’
Again the documents state that this is something occurring within the initiates’ Kabalistic aura and that the serpent figures recoil back due to the appearance of the cross.
It also says that the ‘on the upper half there is depicted a tremendous and flaming God,’ which represents the ‘the Adept who has attained his Supreme Initiation.’
Thus here we see a cycle that brings the candidate from the Old Testament to the New Testament, as something we fully experience for ourselves, as we are graduating towards the journey of Christ.
(I do think however that the technical language does the path little justice and lacks spirit.)
Boehme also describes something similar thus there is no discrepancy in the G.D here. What most G.D folk don’t know in this instance is that the diagrams were lifted from Boehme as well. I’ll cover that in my Martinist Order of the Golden Dawn post and thus I rate the diagrams highly.
Flying Roll XXI also describes some Christian mysticism, quoting Paul ‘Till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’
The problem is, this appears to be the extent of Christian mysticism within RR et AC documents.
The document goes onto the describe some Way of the Heart type values, such as emphasizing the need of working together with other initiates in order to avoid becoming self-obsessed. It also mentions purity, but alas, the push towards the virtues embodied in BEING a Christ is vague at best.
The document doesn’t get the message across. Plus if you read it here, you’ll note it’s a bit try-hard.
Now back to where the G.D departs from Boehme’s Christian mysticism.
As stated both of them seek to attain the goal of becoming a Christ yourself.
One of these avoids the mystical side of worship itself and as a result distances itself from Christ as a personal initiator, guide and friend. The Golden Dawn approach seems in comparison more symbolic and focused on self-transformation, yet imho this is also in keeping with Hermeticism.
Another aspect where the system shines is in viewing the countenances theory of the Cabala. Traditionally Judaic in its approach it views the Tree of Life through personas, being the Vast Countenance which is the title of the highest sphere Kether. The microprosopus is the Lesser Countenance is the central Tiphareth or heart center conception on the tree, and the Golden Dawns views this through the persona of Christ allowing this older tradition to function with the Rosicrucian current. Thus the father and son of the Cabala are given endless avenues of Hermetic study.
Marring the history of the G.D however we cannot pass the Horos couple who were arrested in London, Theo for rape and Madame for aiding him. By placing marital advertisements in papers Theo and ‘his mother’ enticed women into their home with promises of spiritual advancement. They initiated women into their Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn using the Neophyte ritual and then told them that the ‘spirit of Christ’ was in Theo and that the woman was to be his ‘little wife.’
This is obviously not G.D tradition and plays no role in grading down the review score.
What does give the Hermetic-Christianity score a huge boost is the mystical use of the word I.N.R.I in the Golden Dawn. It’s RR et AC calls this word ‘the sign of Osiris slain’ and then examines the tarot cards applied to each letter and their respective astrological signs, being: Virgo, Scorpio, Sun, Virgo.
Essentially the word spells out in Tarot-Hebrew the process of life, death and resurrection.
That completes my overviews of the original G.D in so far as this short review can.
But as we all know, after the original Order came two offshoots. We must cover the A.O and S.M.
While Public Golden Dawn considers the A.O branch something of a watered down creature many miss the point. Mathers and his A.O were located in France where it could be richly pollinated from the other Rosicrucian currents flourishing there. Clearly the Mathers 6=5 grade received ideas from the Elus Cohens regarding exorcism. The Pasqually Rite was a Rosicrucian priesthood for combating exorcising negative forces and spirits, so that humanity might progress freely towards the light. Here in the A.O grade of Geburah (the sphere of Mars) Mathers used this grade to empower his Adepts with the Geburah force in order to subdue evil entities. This in itself is a Christian mystical work.
Consider ‘Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’ Thus Mathers saw not only saw a an Order for teaching magic, but that we would use those magical arts to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Felkin’s S.M branch of the G.D also became more Christian. In the New Constitution of the Stella Matutina, Felkin writes ‘Of the three ruling chiefs, one shall acts as chairman, or Primus inter pares (first among equals) and shall see that the Order maintains its Christian character.’
It appears very Christian although not the Hermetic-Christianity we are particularly after. I may be accused of being a Goldie Locks here but it is more of a devout approach than a mystical one.
Several members of Felkin’s branch were clergy, his members regularly attended church and although they were Catholics they believed their G.D work was Christian mysticism. Their approaches did not follow the methods of Saint Martin so it cannot be called the Way of the Heart, yet they certainly did consider that they were doing as mystical Christianity; that being occultism mixed with Christian prayer.
Going against them however is the presence of chakras, and such eastern ideas, from Blavastky’s Theo-Silly, via Steiner and Alice Bailey, whose teachings were implemented under Felkin.
You can see the difference emerging between the traditional view vs. this eastern influenced groups. ‘In the 1920’s three members of the S.M Hermes Temple located in Bristol united with two clergymen who were high ranking members of the Cromech Temple and the Alpha et Omega… The Stella Matutina had become too Anthroposophical for the Bristol adepts.’
Here is an interesting quote from Macgregor Mather’s wife Moina written to Paul Foster Case. It was written during her time in the A.O branch, stating that we ‘must be prepared before all the Gods to be the servants of the greatest of them all, the Osiris, the Christ, the God of the Sacrifice of the Self.’
This is one example of a clear continuation of the traditional Hermetic-Christianity that was outlined by the original Order. It appears more strongly imho within the A.O branch of the G.D rather than the S.M.
That surveys the old Golden Dawn sections, but what of today’s movement?
On the front of the Public Golden Dawn we find a mixed bag.
The modern public G.D ranges from Christian inclined all the way to Thelemic Golden Dawn Orders. Actually the Thelemic branches are quite anti-Christian as is one popular Golden Dawn author. Also at this end of the spectrum are fully pagan G.D temples, like Nick Farrells M.O.A.
These branches actually slightly degrade the Christianity score. We are looking at the G.D as a whole and not only one branch and thus must consider the full range on average. Such pagan type Orders are valid and effective in their own right. Yet we are dealing with Rosicrucian tradition in our reviews.
Chic Cicero does best here from amongst public groups. Several of his members have written wonderful papers covering Hermetic Christianity, especially Madonna Compton’s lectures. She covered Pico Mirandola’s form of Hermeticism which saw Poimandres as a form of Christ appearing to Hermes before his incarnation as Jesus on earth. She has also written papers on the ‘Sacred Name of Jesus’ and Henry More’s ‘Son in the Kabbalistic Trinity.’ I might add that my contacts in the esoteric/hidden G.D sections have stated that ‘Cicero’s group resembles the A.O tradition more than most people realize.’
Even so, I would have to say the majority of ‘traditional’ Public G.D Orders are not very Christian. They too tend to play down the role Christ has within their R.C Inner Order.
In many ways Public Golden Dawn has taken a step downhill in this regard. Not only do they ignore the Christ mysticism already outlined in the documents but Christ has become a total stranger. It is almost as if modern Golden Dawn has attracted a bunch of youths who grew up hating their parent’s religion.
Had Golden Dawn remained secret I imagine things would be very different today.
A stain on G.D history there are Orders like Robert Zinks’ Morning Star, his own and the offshoots which have separated from him, which practice a very vulgar kind of Christianity.
I personally attended one such group in Canada, which is now aligned to Whare Ra lineage and was a bit horrified by the fact that soppy Christian rock-band type music was played at the end of Hermetic work. As I watched, their leader welled up tears to encourage others to cry, but the whole thing was quite forced. I wasn’t sure if I should throw up or burst out laughing. Some members later quietly asked me why they have to endure this. My only answer was ‘that this is not the Golden Dawn.’
In this branch and the others influenced by Zinks practices, temples are reverently adored like mini Vaticans, and the leaders given the holy regard of the Pope. To my mind it reeks of cult.
Thankfully the esoteric and hidden Golden Dawn still exist and I believe they hold the flame. They have not only preserved the Hermetic Christianity of the early phase but expanded upon it.
One esoteric Golden Dawn that is still hidden derives from the A.O lineage. To be clear on the matter for new readers, I do NOT mean David Griffin’s group which also claims an A.O origin.
The A.O I speak of was still operating in the 1980’s. A relationship existed between this branch of the Alpha et Omega and one very Christian orientated Rosicrucian group operating in America at Oceanside. Hence the A.O did well by recruiting members from an already flourishing group. Another branch of the G.D started by members of the B.O.T.A (that also derives its lineage from the same A.O Oceanside branch) has survived to this day as well, although these branches are fading out.
Interviews with this branch has also helped shape some angles of this review.
One figure stated ‘The contemporary focus is so backwards. The Magic is in “Self-Sacrifice” but how many instead believe that they are empowered by some “attainment” after going through the rituals? In the Outer Degrees older “dispensations” incorporating “Self-Sacrifice” are evident… an extremely notable one being the Kabiri, since in those “Mysteries”, the Candidate, “Kasmillos” is “Sacrificed,” showing that the key to the A.O Christian approach is in the expansion of this sacrifice principle, rather than the American worship type of modern Christianity that is being added by Public G.D.
I am at limits to share the esoteric view, but these layers of sacrifice is worth delving into 😉
There are two more esoteric and hidden G.D branches worth mentioning.
The first is a hidden Golden Dawn group which is operated by members of the SRIA, who are all Trinitarian Christians. Clearly G.D operates more closely to its Rosicrucian roots here. The group does not do magic or alchemy but its Hermetic Christianity is superior than most.
The other is a group guided by Tony Fuller, which has no online presence, located in both New Zealand and London. The group was directed to continue Whare Ra work by Frank Shalt. I recall that last year one of its members appeared online much to the surprise of Public Golden Dawn, proving that; such groups do still exist and operate quietly. While leaders like Zalewski and Nick Farrel have done much in the way of publishing and restoring G.D teachings, and they too have Whare Ra connections, it seems the New Zealand group is the actual successor having an actual charter that others do not have.
The interesting thing about this section is that part of its tradition, or lineage we should say, comes via Carnegie Dickson, who not only succeeded Brodie Innes as head of the A.O but also inherited the Cromlech Temple tradition, thus lending it both S.M and A.O directions of study.
It’s Christian mysticism approach is aimed towards an esoteric form of Catholicism which embraces elements from Eastern Orthodox esoteric approaches as well. It’s Cromlech papers also focus on enhancing the solar rays through the body as an embodiment of the spirit of Christ.
My research into such groups proves another point; that the Public Golden Dawn has taken a very different direction than is practiced within these small traditional units.
All in all we have to look at the whole spectrum of approaches to score this properly.
Clearly the traditional documents show a Hermetic-Christianity through the Osiris-Christ mysticism. At the same time many groups have cut that back to a Christian religious worship approach, while others have totally ignored it, and worse, some have surgically removed it entirely.
I do however think that the real Hermetic Christianity of the G.D is found in the teachings of Anna Kingsford, who is the real woman behind the pseudo Anna Sprengel of Westcott and Mathers.
The Golden Dawn scores 7/10 for its Hermetic-Christianity score.
I’ve scored it down one point here because it is not Sophianic and does not believe in a female regenerator as outlined by the Theosophers, Martinist and Rosicrucian manifestos. It certainly is Hermetic, but maybe not Christian enough to pull off a fully-fledged ‘Hermetic Christianity.’
We’ll go into this more in the next section.
Christosohia 3: Against Gnosticism
This section of the Christosophia score was chosen to set us on the right path. We are not only chasing a certain type of Christosophia mysticism. We are also being very specific about what it rejects.
One of the things most readers have struggled with is the against Gnosticism score.
New readers firstly need to head back and go over my post ‘Why Rosicrucians Rock and Gnostics Suck.’
Briefly to recap; Gnostics are typically considered ‘the same as’ Rosicrucianism by those who take a superficial look at the symbols and names only. Just because both have Christ and Sophia does not make them the same at all. In fact they oppose each other on two major points.
The first point was that of nature. Gnostics hated nature and the world, and saw it as a prison. Nature was created by a false being who saw itself as God, but it was a false God. This being imprisoned man under seven archons and sought to enslave us through a false religion.
The Rosicrucians instead saw nature as divine and as revealing the Word of God.
Unfortunately modern Gnostics erupt at what I’ve written here arguing ‘you know nothing about Gnostics.’ Well… I hate to break it to you, but if you are a lover of nature, you are not a Gnostic, you are probably a Rosicrucian. The other ignorant statement I come across is that gnosis is about self-knowledge. Yes that is true, but Gnosticism is a movement and was a group of people and their set of beliefs as it was at a very early period. For that matter;
Gnosis is a term used by Hermes in the Corpus Hermetica
Gnosis was never the sole property of Gnosticism.
Thus gnosis enters the Rosicrucian realm through the Hermetic vein and not the Gnostic.
The second point that makes Gnosticism a very bad addition to any Rosicrucian Order is that they saw Sophia as a fallen being. She messed up. She got it wrong, and now we are being punished. It is her fault. The only way for her to restore herself was through marrying Christ, who waited her in heaven.
Not only was this anti-female it is just outright opposite to what the Rosicrucians taught.
I’d like to cover this while we are on the subject of Golden Dawn because early members of the Order were actually feminist and valued the goddess mystery, to my mind in a truly Rosicrucian way.
Unlike the Gnostics the Germans instead believed in a female repairer. Christ does not repair the fallen female at all, as the roles are switched. Adam gets restored by Sophia. Let me explain:
In the Rosicrucian reintegration legend Adam had fallen and this broken being had split into two. Only once his two portions were reconciled could this Second Adam unite with Sophia. Thus Sophia is the higher being to which our Second Adam state must aspire to. See the difference?
Germans said the Virgin had gone into Maria, so that she could give birth to Christ. We too, once we attain this Virgin, may also invite God to impregnate our Sophia with Christ, creating a Christ within.
If I’m repeating this argument over several posts, it’s because it is extremely important. If you don’t understand German Theosophy then the Rosicrucian manifstos are useless. The manifestos are a mirror of this Theosophy and it was called Pansophy. Here Christian Rosenkreuz is that Second Adam being, as ‘Man restored in knowledge.’ He then dreams and meets Venus in the Chemical Wedding.
This completely turns Gnosticism upside down and it is laziness that makes people believe Gnosticism should be applied to Rosicrucianism. Actually as Rosicrucians we need to take a stand on this matter.
The Golden Dawn does not suffer too badly here and lose many points. After all it is NOT a Gnostic Order. However its silence on some matters also shows a lack of understanding this angle.
Rosicrucians should primarily be lovers of nature and adore Sophia and actively seek out Wisdom.
The Hermetic-Christianity score of the G.D suffered somewhat, in that while it does extremely well to represent Christ through Osiris, it fails in representing the Sophia side of the equation.
Mistakes could be made here if one considers all goddesses alike. The Golden Dawn has plenty of goddess invocations and symbols. Isis in particular is the Hermetic symbol. Yet where the RR et AC says ‘Osiris-Christ’ the only one match this and say ‘Isis-Sophia’ is actually Steiner.
Having Isis present is not enough to actively show that she resembles the Rosicrucian cycle. There is no mention of this rebirth through the Virgin in order to give birth to Christ within. Being a Hermetic Order, where it views the Osiris-Christ, it would naturally delve into the Horus-Christ if it did. But without going through Sophia the Rosicrucian formula falls apart and is an incomplete story.
Again I will emphasize that the mystical formula of the Second Adam and Sophia of Boehme are mirrored in Christian Rosenkreuz within his tomb and his later dream of Venus.
One is Theosophic and the other is Pansophic. This blog is the first place to reveal that connection.
Fortunately some G.D branches started towards this direction. Felkin’s S.M higher grade rituals for example included a female officer called the Shekinah. This is the Hebrew form of Sophia. However she never fulfills her role in divine pregnancy and this pregnancy is never transposed onto the initiate.
Pat Zalewski wrote a nice 6=5 ritual which used the Chemical Wedding in the grade of Geburah which was quite well done. However an understanding of our Pansophic and Theosophic context shows that Chemical Wedding applies to Daath and not Geburah. Again no pregnancy happens. Shekinah is kind of hovering around but no one is brave enough to chat her up and buy her a drink.
If you’ve read my earlier posts on the Pansophic cycle it is clear that just as the Second Adam (restored Adam) of Boehme impregnates Sophia we equally look at Osiris impregnating Isis.
This is the direction the Golden Dawn should have taken but it seems the actual support of the Secret Chiefs really was lost because after the schism of the original Order the system falls apart. Yet if one understands Pansophy and the balance between the manifestos and Boehme we arrive to the greater schemata of the Rosicrucian legend, as finally the light of Theosophy casts light on Pansophy.
This light of Pansophy then illuminates the inner workings of the Golden Dawn, opening many doors.
Sophia here is the issue and it’s time to examine how the Golden Dawn can open up to these avenues because (I believe) Pansophy is the key to unlocking the higher secrets of the Golden Dawn.
Thus I am announcing that I will be writing a blog series on the Third Order of the Golden Dawn.
I’ll be using my Hall of Divine Birth godforms as published to add another layer. This series will be done in twenty blog posts and will come after my Rosicrucian Reviews are finished. So follow this blog and I’ll show how Pansophy actually identifies what the Third Order looks like and how it works.
So far what we do know is that the Golden Dawn, largely, is not very Gnostic. Thank goodness.
The Golden Dawn indeed makes very little references to Gnosticism in its original documents. Though Flying Roll X does make mention of Sophia Achamoth saying ‘This idea was expressed by the Gnostics when they said that the Achamoth attempted to comprehend the Pleroma, and could not understand it, and from the grief of her were formed the demons and the evil spirits.’ This scores badly by the way.
Some Golden Dawn orders have ‘supplemented their esoteric Christianity with Gnosticism,’ including Robert Zink (and offshoots) and groups under Pat Zalewski’s. David Griffin has told me that his Alpha et Omega also communicates Gnostic consecrations, such as baptism by water, baptisms of Fire and of the Holy Spirit, which ‘have been transmitted to his disciples from the living savior.’ His G.D branch also transmits the Ecclasia Gnostica Antiqua. Thus ‘some’ Gnostic integration is happening.
My thoughts on this are that such an implementation comes from a lack of understanding the context of Rosicrucianism in the realm of German Theosophy. Really if anyone studies Boehme his mysticism unlocks the manifestos and we are not only left in awe, we are also left disliking Gnosticism.
That being said, while the above groups did make a booboo and incorporate Gnosticism they do score very well in several other areas that we’ll cover later in the review.
There are plenty of goddess rites and adorations to follow in the Golden Dawn. Sophia is still a problem and its goddess approaches are not the same. At the risk of appearing anal, we really are chasing that same appearance of Venus and Sophia that creates the new child of the Chemical Wedding.
An interview with the esoteric and still hidden A.O branch yielded some interesting results.
They pointed out that some of their A.O studies examine the Aima and the Shekinah in great detail, viewing this through the Eve figure of the Rosicrucian diagrams, and seeing the Sandalphon-Metatron usage as following the same pattern. They view the masculine-feminine potencies occurring through Golden Dawn ritual, and even view the Flaming Sword image as a combination of the two. They pointed out that their study follows a very detailed Cabalistic exploration of these principles.
Indeed the Golden Dawn was quite ahead of its time in regards to these approaches. People tend to forget that Mathers was one of the early feminists on the occult scene, and his wife stated in an interview on her Rites of Isis performed on stage in 1900 that ‘love is the symbol of universal sympathy. That is where the magical power of women is found.’ Thus the A.O again does well here.
The other element of Gnosticism we wish to avoid is their approach to nature.
The Golden Dawn loses no points here, as its Zelator ritual states that Malkuth is the ‘gate.’ Though the Golden Dawn does not pursue Nature enough there is nothing against Nature specifically within the Golden Dawn that warrants labeling anything as a Gnostic hate of Nature.
The Golden Dawn receives 1 negative point for including Gnosticism.
Like Sophia the G.D approach to Nature is something that it does not dive into enough to offer a full Rosicrucian approach. This is one area where I think all of western mysticism can improve.
The Golden Dawn being a ‘temple tradition’ generally shuns nature based mysticism, such as Wicca or shamanism as nothing to be taken serious, which imho is a mistake because it separates themselves, locked away as they are in dark basements, from all the action happening outside.
Any G.D group that wishes to embrace the full spectrum of Rosicrucian heritage should work on this.
Athur Versluis for example writes ‘Christian Hermeticism, or Theosophy, as displayed in the writings of Paracelsus, Boehme and Saint Martin, also understands that that there is a ‘secret language’ of Nature.’
(Bear in mind that by Theosophy he means Boehme and not the Theo-silly of Blavatsky.)
He also writes ‘the Theosophical (and thus Pansophic) movement represented a renewed awareness of nature as a Theophany – as, finally, divine revelation. Whether it was Boehme in his Signature of All Things, Louis Claude de Saint Martin in his Natural Table, or Franz von Baader with his Philosophy of Religious Eros, Theosophy entailed a deep understanding of Nature as embodying for us the divine language, the Logos speaking to us from forest and brook.’
Any study will show that Boehme’s Theosophy and the Rosicrucians are inextricably connected. The Golden Dawn, which claims to derive from the Golden Rosenkreuzers, will also note that the ‘Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians’ as with other GuRC material is saturated with quotes from Boehme.
In total the Golden Dawn receives 15/20 points for its Christosophia score.
The Martinist Order actually got 17/20 for its Christosophia score, but that is because, let’s face it, it is a Christian Order, so will naturally have stronger mysteries regarding regeneration through Yehashua.
Where the Golden Dawn will shine is in its Trinosophia score, which I suspect will be unrivaled. However its Pansophy score puts a lot of G.D thought to the test, especially towards Rosicrucian ideas of cultural regeneration and utopian thought, but there are some surprises in stall for readers there.
Some people might get upset over this and other reviews, claiming that I have given their Order a bash. Bear in mind our goal here; which is to enhance our Rosicrucian connection. One of the things I firmly believe in is that no system is perfect. Certainly the founders of the Orders are flawed. If we were to believe it is a perfect system, then you have to ask yourself ‘do I want to turn out like the founders?’
If the answer is no, then there is only one solution; keep loving the system you are in. But also leave it better than before, and expand it, opening up the system to higher levels. If you are able to go beyond the founders, or raise your consciousness to a higher level, then it is also your responsibility to open those pathways to the Light within your own system for future students.
Perhaps the Rosicrucian avenue we are following is something to expand upon. Still others will wish the Golden Dawn to remain as a magical Order rather than a Rosicrucian one with all that implies.
My next blog post will review the Trinosophia score of the Golden Dawn, looking at it’s magic, alchemy and cabala scores, so stay tuned for more. I promise it will delight.
Radiance to your work, rebirth to your soul.
Grand Hierophant of the Mystica Aeterna.
 Historical Structure of the Original Golden Dawn Temples’ by Darcy Kuntz
 Mark Stavish, ‘An introduction to Alchemy, a Golden Dawn Perspective.’
 ‘Theosophia’ chapter ‘Hierophanic Nature’ by Arthur Versluis.