The Shocking Truth About Golden Dawn Lineage
By: Robert Zink
Many people today who may not be familiar with Golden Dawn lineage and history, and the current of Golden Dawn energy often get confused or mixed up with the renegade group that broke off of the Golden Dawn called Stella Matutina. The majority of groups today come not from the classical Golden Dawn lineage, but from breakaway groups.
If the line of succession or transfer of magical current is important, then it must be remembered that those who were demitted, resigned, or were expelled from the Golden Dawn lineage have no more traditional authority to initiate than the common man on the street. One reason for this is because they have sworn before the "Lord of the Universe" and their own Higher Genius that they would not initiate anyone without permission from the Chiefs of the Second Order. When you consider that a person who has resigned or been expelled is unlikely to receive such permission, then we can only conclude that they do it of their own authority, not from the Chiefs of the Second Order, and most certainly not the Guardians of occult wisdom the hidden Masters, or otherwise called the Chiefs of the Third Order.
With respect to some of the groups about to be mentioned, they have no more valid lineage to the traditional Golden Dawn than your next door neighbor. This does not negate the fact that they may be doing good work and helping people learn more. Then again, if their published material is an indication, we must be cautious. A great majority of so called published Golden Dawn material is outright bogus and riddled with errors, misunderstandings, and fantasy. It is not "good" Golden Dawn and only serves to confuse those who have not held original documents in their hands.
Without making this article overly long, I think it is necessary to examine some of the accepted facts about the Golden Dawn lineage and its colorful history. The Order was established in 1887 by Dr. Westcott, MacGregor Mathers and Dr. Woodman, with initiations beginning in 1888. These three gentlemen established the Order after finding a set of initiatory documents called the Cipher Manuscripts. These manuscripts contained an address to a V.H. Soror S.D.A. in Germany. After an exchange of letters, an established line of communication between the three founders in London and V.H. Soror S.D.A. in Germany, a "charter" was granted for an outer school that taught western occultism. This chartered group became known as the Order of the Golden Dawn or the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn.
There is much debate as to the validity of these Cipher Manuscripts and the actual existence of a V.H. Soror S.D.A. in Germany. Many insiders in Golden Dawn studies and Golden Dawn scholars now postulize that Mathers and Westcott were both secretly initiated by the true and Ancient Order of the Rose and Cross (this refers to the Rosicrucians who came directly from Germany and had their line of succession with their founder Christian Rosenkrutz. He received numerous invitations in various parts of the world by Ancient Orders that could be traced back farther than the time of the ancient Egyptians.). The problem was that due to strict vows of secrecy, S.L. MacGregor Mathers and William Wynn Westcott were completely unable to reveal that they had been duly initiated and authorized to formulate an Outer Order school to be called the Golden Dawn. To do this and to violate such an oath would be heinous indeed. These men valued their oaths to God and their Order. It is sad that those who wave the banner of the Golden Dawn today do not have the same level of integrity.
In any event, the exact details to the founding of the Order are outlined in some of the following books. Contrary to what many new age members think, the Golden Dawn Lineage did not begin with Regardie. As a matter of fact, Regardie was never even a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn! But we will talk about that in a moment.
Read the following for basic history. Remember that these authors only write from exposed history, not the secret history.
Ritual Magic in England - Francis King
The Magicians of the Golden Dawn - Ellic Howe
The Golden Dawn Companion - R. A. Gilbert
The Sword of Wisdom - Ithell Colquhoun
It was after the establishment of the Golden Dawn lineage that MacGregor Mathers established a complete Second Order. This Order had grades that went from 5=6, Adeptus Minor, to 7=4, Adeptus Exemptus. The Second Order was governed by the Chiefs of the Second Order. The Chiefs of the Second Order were guided by the direction of the Chiefs of the Third Order. These Chiefs of the Third Order were real and legitimate human beings who had spiritually evolved to such an extent that they had crossed the great abyss of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. They were and are the Guardians of the Inner and Sacred Mysteries that were revealed to the Chiefs of the Second Order, who then disseminated it to the college of Adepti. Much of the Second Order work and the initiation itself was in fact not written by Mathers, but given to him by the Chiefs of the Third Order. Who exactly these Chiefs are, I cannot say. They do seem to have the direct power to invoke karmic consequence upon oath breakers and those who knowingly violate the precepts of the Order.
Around the turn of the century, the Second Order functioned and served those hungry for occult wisdom for a number of years without any problems. Woodman had died and Westcott resigned as an active participate in the Order. It seems job pressures had forced him to resign. It is not readily known, but Westcott's resignation was not real. It was a ploy to protect his job and to place Mathers as the prime focus and only connection to the Chiefs of the Third Order. In fact, Westcott's signature appears on various Order documents and grade advancements long after he resigned. The so-called disagreement between Mathers and Westcott was an outward diversion. In fact, letters and records show that Westcott and Mathers were in communication after Westott's resignation. In one letter, Westcott loans Mathers some money long after their so called dispute. There was no dispute, but Westcott's resignation was designed to help the college of Adepti who had to focus on the information disseminated by Mathers from the Guardians of the hidden Mysteries, the Chiefs of the Third Order.
Because great power can affect the ego in negative ways, ego problems developed between many of the college of Adepti and the founder of the Order, S.L. MacGregor Mathers. Mathers was not in London at the time but living in Paris. The Order began doing things in its own way. Members wanted more power. Some members wanted to remove grades, some wanted to remove the practical magic, others like Dr. Felkin were busy following so called astral gurus like Arab Ben Shemesh. The Order collapsed; like the children of Israel who built the gold calf when Moses was on Mount Sanai, they completely became overtaken with their own needs, desires, and hunger for power. They schismed and, broke away from Mathers and the legitimate line or current of dependency.
Due to public legal proceedings, Mathers changed the name of the Golden Dawn to the Alpha Et Omega. (Please do not confuse this with modern groups using the name Alpha et Omega.) This group has absolutely no lineage whatsoever, and in fact, was created by angry disgruntled members of several legitimate Golden Dawn lineage organizations! The Order cradling the Mathers-G.D. current has undergone several name changes since Mathers first changed the name. The break away group changed the name to the Stella Matutina. Again, much of this is accepted history and can be found in some of the books I mentioned earlier. In addition, to Mathers' Temple and those who remained loyal to the classical teachings, there were three Temples that were chartered in the United States. They were Thoth-Hermes, Chicago; Ihme, Boston; and Themis, Philadelphia. Little is known about the Boston and Philadelphia Temples except for a handful of Adepts. There was also a little known Temple in SanFrancisco with a vault. These Adepts refuse to make known to the public their lineage except to say that they prefer not to claim lineage at all. This is the way of the true mystic, and it applies equally to this article. I claim nothing special among you. I ask that you test everything I am saying with the illumination of Light and Truth.
Dr. Felkin, moved to New Zealand to form a Temple and build a shrine to his master Ara Ben Shemesh. He and his brethren waited for years for this master to show up in New Zealand and teach them great wonders. The Master promised he would! Felkin and his followers would have staked their lives on the fact that Ara Ben Shemesh was going to arrive from the east and school them. They did, in fact, stake their lives on it because they all died waiting for him. He never arrived as promised. Could this be a karmic payback for vow breaking by the Chiefs of the Third Order? I don't think so, but others disagree with me. Felkin had chartered three other Stella Matutina Temples in England. It is from the Hermes Lodge of Felkin that Dr. Israel Regardie claims his initiation. Regardie was initiated by an offshoot line of the Golden Dawn. Regardie then left this group and in a desire to save the true current of the Golden Dawn lineage, he published his 4 volume set entitled, The Golden Dawn.
In the meantime, after the breakup, Mathers continued his initiatic succession and acted as the official link between the ancient Rosicrucians of Germany and a handful of loyal Adepti who chose not to rebel.
One must ponder the nature of the rebellion and understand from a psychological perspective why it occurred:
Mathers was adamant that one's private life was his or her own and not the business of the Order.
Adepts disagreed with Mathers. Members were ostracized and refused admission into the Second Order because their sexual preferences or morals were not in keeping with the Victorian morals of the time.
One must not be mislead. Mathers and his wife Moina both practiced abstinence. For them, it was part of the Inner Spiritual path of purity that they had chosen. However, Mathers never once attempted to force this path on his fellow brethren. It was strictly a personal choice. Yet the rebels who seemed lost in critical review of those Adepts who were living an alternative lifestyle developed perhaps the worst sin any person on a spiritual path can develop - Spiritual Pride.
I know that even today there is one such group who still refuses to allow qualified members into the Second Order if they do not conform to their moral dogma. This group does not use the name Golden Dawn, but claims a lineage to the Order of the Golden Dawn.
There may be another reason why a group of dissident Adepts broke away from the Golden Dawn and formed their own egregore. It deals with the same principle as an adolescent rebelling against its parents. We must remember that most of these people knew nothing or little about practical Qabalah. Most of their ritual experience came from good ol' boy Masonry. They were comfortable with ritual, but unaccustomed to the use of power. Learning to control elemental and planetary forces takes a great amount of self-discipline. In short, the power went to their heads and they needed to prove their power by rebelling against the one person who had taught them how to obtain that power.
Mathers was not guilt free either. When the breakup came he had been leading his Order from Paris, France, for several years, almost like an absentee landlord. This did not help matters in that it allowed those who wanted control and power to scheme and plot behind his back.
One real indication that the dissidents had no ability to handle power was that after they broke away from the Golden Dawn, they began bickering and fighting among themselves. Even to this day the groups that trace their so called lineage to the dissidents of the turn of the century are still at war with each other. Today they are called internet wars or "flame wars."
Today more than ever before there is a strong need in the world for a well-organized Golden Dawn Order. Modern day Masonry charges about $150.00 to $300.00 to become a member. This seems about right. Anyone offering "free" membership or low cost membership for so-called online classes has something else up their sleeve as the laws of energy exchange should tell us that nothing is for free. This has been referred to in the mystical community as vending machine initiations. A candidate should settle for nothing less than full temple or astral initiations.
Beware of any so-called group not charging some kind of reasonable dues or advertising virtual temples, telephone initiations, etc. You can identify them by their exaggerated claims of lineage and their attacks on other groups or individuals. The Golden Dawn is not like the Hari Krishna's or the local corner church, it is an Order that provides a full curriculum, testing, one-on-one teaching, classes and full initiations.
Later, after about twenty-four months, a student and member of the Golden Dawn can become (if accepted) a member of the Second Order. There are never dues in the Second Order, in that it is the teaching and governing arm of the Outer.
Finally, recognize that the Order has had several names over the century. Today, we are known as the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn ®. In the future, the Outer Order fraternity could conceivably change its name again.
Here is a list of other Temples that flourished and were chartered under the Golden Dawn lineage with the Chief S.L.MacGregor Mathers. The following are not break-away Temples but duly authorized Temples.(Temple No. 3, Isis Urania was the first Temple that was chartered to Mathers.)
No. 1. Licht Liebe und Leben: Nuremberg - Fraulein Sprengel (Soror S.D.A.), 1870
No. 2. Hermanoubis Liege: Dr. Thyssen (L.E.T.) Dormant, 1889
No. 3. Isis - Urania: London - Dr. W. Wynn Westcott (S.A., N.O.M.) Dr. W. R. Woodman (M.E.V., V.O.V.) S.L. MacGregor Mathers (S.R.M.D., D.D.C.F.), 1888
No. 4. Osiris Temple: Weston Super-Mare - B. Cox (C.D.S.), 1888
No. 5. Horus: Bradford - T.H. Pattinson (V.V.M.), 1888
No. 6. Amen-Ra: Edinburgh - Dr. J.W. Brodie Innes (C.S.S.), 1894
No. 7. Ahathoor: Paris - S. L. MacGregor Mathers (S.R.M.D., D.D.C.F.), 1894
No. 8. Ihme: Boston U.S.A., 1895
No. 9. Themis: Philadelphia U.S.A., 1895
No. 10. Thoth-Hermes: Chicago U.S.A. - Mrs. Lockwood, 1895
No. 11. Alpha Omega (Isis Temple): W. London - Dr. E.W. Berridge
The above list is the authorized Temples under Mathers, either S.L. or later his wife Moina, who became Chief of the Second Order after his death. I might add that there was a valid succession that came out of American Temples that are still operational to this day.
(Source: Sword of Wisdom by Ithell Colquhoun)