The Golden Dawn

Golden Dawn crossThis is a subject I’ve explored on a few occasions, but upon finding these videos, I thought they could better illustrate the working of the Order.

Perhaps unnecessary to say, like most religions the present day Golden Dawn comes in several styles, each practicing in a lineage from the systems founders – William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers.  Of interesting relevancy, each was a Freemason and a member of S.R.I.A., the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia which is a Trinitarian Christian Masonic order.

While the videos present an interesting glimpse of costumed ceremony, I found a tremendous insight in reading The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero.  The books subtitle is An Introduction to High Magic, but what I found most interesting were the descriptions of the degrees and grades of membership.  The Cicero’s do their level best to describe the work, which by most concerned with the order, consider it magic.

“Magic”, the Cicero’s say, “inclines toward thinking and doing while religion gravitates toward feeling and being.  The two are very definitely related, but they are not identical.  The yearning for the supernatural propels them both, though in different ways.”

As a good primer, The Essential Golden Dawn will satisfy a more than passive curiosity about the system and give you a better than Wikipedia sense of its history and key players.  What I found most valuable was the in detail descriptions of the grades

In contrast, I looked at Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn for an examination of the rituals and was surprised by their similarity to, what I can only assume to be, their Masonic inspiration.  This parallel is a theme echoed by the Cicero’s when they say of the Golden Dawn that “…the initiation ceremonies of the Golden Dawn are based on a series of mystery plays or ritual dramas in which the officers reenact specific mythologies that are essential to the Western Esoteric Tradition.”  Ritual plays, I believe, are the foundation of the Masonic ritual, of at least the third degree.  Regardie’s work is an apostasy of sorts given his publication of the Golden Dawn rituals in

Not so much in the details, but in the space between them.  Often, the parallels come in the ideas or the word usage which triggers the Masonic memory that a “so mote it be” can do.  But reading the rituals for depth, what struck me was the emphasis of trying to derive a greater symbolic meaning from the costumes, wands, rituals, and ephemera.

This parallel is a theme echoed by the Cicero’s when they say of the Golden Dawn that “…the initiation ceremonies of the Golden Dawn are based on a series of mystery plays or ritual dramas in which the officers reenact specific mythologies that are essential to the Western Esoteric Tradition.”  Ritual plays, I believe, are the foundation of the Masonic ritual, of at least the third degree.  Regardie’s work is an apostasy of sorts given his publication of the Golden Dawn rituals in 1971.  Yet, it was his publication of those rituals which most who practice the system today say saved it from extinction.

So, without going into more of the history or the books, have a look at a few videos from the Golden Dawn tradition.

This video has a lot of circumambulation and ritual practice.

You can find quite a few more videos from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn on YouTube channel.

And, just for fun, the video below is an explanation from someone who claims to be in the know.

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About Greg Stewart

An artist by nature and vocation, Greg pursued the sublime degrees of Freemasonry in 1994. A 3rd degree Master and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Greg is the author of the ebook What is Freemasonry and the print book Masonic Traveler.

Read more about Greg Stewart.

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