What’s in a Motto?

There is a tradition in many Western Mystery Traditions, to take on a ‘motto’ when becoming a member. In some orders, you a given or provided a motto, in others you may choose your own. Some may come by a motto via means of divination and I’m sure there are numerous other forms of choosing or obtaining a motto with which I am not even familiar. In some orders, you may even change your motto at a certain point in your progress. Suffice to say that oftentimes, the motto is said to represent your purpose, your aspiration, your direction or your reason for undertaking the Great Work and initiation into a mystery school.

In our Order, we allow candidates to choose their own motto. This is part of the process that they undergo as they pass through the Probationer program prior to initiation. It is our feeling that the individual best knows the goal and direction that they wish to undertake when joining the Order. That being said, most will find that their direction will shift course at some point, some slightly and others more drastically. In both cases, most will find that their motto continues to ‘fit’ their purpose, goal and direction for many years. In our experience, some members have even had the magical events in their lives manifest specifically via their motto. Our members have found that the motto’s that they choose become powerful forces within not only their pursuit of the Great Work, but also in their day to day lives. Thus, a motto should not be chosen lightly, but should be given proper thought and meditation. A motto should truly be chosen based upon a purpose or virtue that one wishes to bring into their life.

This motto truly has the effect of an alchemical transformation, causing change within the individual. Thus, a motto should never be chosen based upon a ‘cool sounding name’ or other frivolous concern. Care should also be taken when taking on a motto that is one that was used by a historic figure or is the proper name of an angel, deity or other commonly used figure. While there have been a few who have done so successfully, you are potentially taking on the energy and influence of that person, power or being and allowing them to have some amount of influence upon yourself. Again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but more of a precaution, and as always, careful thought should be given before taking on such a motto.

After our formal meetings, where initiations often take place, the Cancellarius (or secretary) chats with various members about their feelings and perceptions of the energy of that particular meeting. This information is then compiled into an ‘energy notes’ section of our minutes. Thus, in the future, meetings can be analyzed and checked for various astrological, elemental and other forms of magical timing. Recently we had an initiation of a new member, who’s motto had the word ‘love’ found within its phrase. I will not reveal that motto, but suffice to say that it is a very powerful sentiment. In our notes from the meeting, numerous members commented about having a very different feeling than ever before (many of the members going back years in our Order’s history). Upon further questioning, it was found that the feeling was one of unification, peace, calm and yes, love. This was a new member, and yet the motto they had chosen not only had an influence upon the initiate, but also upon all of the members who were present that day. This is a powerful testament not only to the very nature of choosing a magical motto, but also of the connected nature of those involved in magical studies and ritual together.

Choosing a magical motto is an act of pure magic on its own. What starts with a magical act, that of assuming the motto, becomes magic itself, causing events, as well as the outcomes of magical work, to manifest these magical works in the life of the magician, as well as those around him. It is a powerful piece of magic, which can trace its roots back in various traditions back through the ages. In Hinduism and Buddhism, individuals who convert often take a new ‘Dharma’ or name. In Judaism, sometimes children are given both a secular name and a religious name. In Catholicism, a new Pope takes on a new name. In Mormonism, each member is given a ‘new name’ when passing through the Temple ceremony. In many forms of paganism, a person takes on a magical name. More specifically, in the old testament, Elohim changed the name (or perhaps gave a ‘new name’) to Jacob, and called him Israel. Abram was changed to Abraham. In the New Testament, Simon’s name was changed to Peter.

There are numerous examples of people having their name changed, and in most cases it was to establish them with a new identity, a new place from which to start moving forward. This is much the same purpose that the magical motto performs. As we begin a new magical life, whether it be a new life on a new path, or joining a new Order relating to work previously done, the motto represents a new milestone in life, a new marker from which to proceed and from which new miracles, new revelations, new knowledge and new experiences may all spring forth, and manifest in your life.

Yours in the Great Work,

V.H. Frater M.T.O.

Praemonstrator, Order of the Golden Dawn


The Inner Order – The RR et AC

After passing through the First Order ‘school’ that comprises the Outer Order (specifically the “Golden Dawn”), the magician passes onto the Second Order. In the original Order, the Second Order was called the “Rosae Rubae et Aureae Crucis” or the “Ruby Rose and Golden Cross”, abbreviated as the “RR et AC”. There are numerous other sites and books detailing the history of that Order, and such is not the purpose here. However, it used as its basis a system of Rosicrucianism, around which Mathers built his Second Order, including a unique chamber called the “Vault of the Adepti”, based upon the burial chamber or vault in which the founder, Christian Rosenkreutz, or CRC, was entombed. As the three founders of the Golden Dawn were heavily involved in another Rosicrucian society, the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), it is not surprising that they used their experience and knowledge from that Order as a starting point for the new Second or Inner Order for Golden Dawn initiates [in point of fact, Woodman was the Supreme Magus of that Order from 1878 until his death in 1891, and Wescott took over in 1891 and was Supreme Magus until 1925. Mathers was also a member of the Society from 1882 until 1903]. This Rosicrucian Order, the RR et AC, was established in 1891 and continued in Europe into the 1900’s and via the Stella Matutina through the Whare Ra Temple in New Zealand from the early 1900’s until 1978.

In our Order, we maintain the link with the RR et AC, and it continues to be one of our primary courses of study. However, our Order is not limited to just that course of study nor that one lineage of magic. The study and magical work of the traditional and published teachings of the RR et AC, including that of the Hexagram rituals, and most especially the ritual and magical worked based upon the Z-formulae, are still required and an integral and central point of our Second Order work. And while we acknowledge our link to the RR et AC, and do claim that as part of our lineage, our Second Order is not limited to only that one lineage of magical work, nor is its name publicly known or given. As a truly magical order, the true name of our Second Order is known only to its members and initiates, but we refer to it publicly as the ‘RR et AC’, as that name is well known and associated with the Inner or Second Order of the Golden Dawn.

Among our studies and lineages carried within our Second Order are a continuation of the HGA/Abramelin work performed in the Outer Order; Traditional Laboratory Alchemy; a school of traditional Kabbalistic Magic; Egyptian Magic; Energetic Healing; and a Priesthood lineage based upon an Abrahamic religion, and modeled upon Melchizedek, combining the dual position of king and priest. These are in addition to the existing magical courses based upon the traditional RR et AC lineage containing the aforementioned Z-2 formulae of magic; Enochian magic; Enochian Chess; Kabbalistic Pathworking; Astrological and Planetary Magic; Tarot Scrying; Divination by Tarot and the Ring and Disk; and Rosicrucian studies. In addition, many members work in small groups on other traditional grimoiric schools of magic, such as Traditional Enochian Magic, The Goetia, and The Keys of Solomon, among many others.

As can be imagined, becoming proficient in all of these schools of magic would be impossible in a single lifetime. As such, our Second Order members work a structured course of traditional “Golden Dawn/RR et AC” studies, and are encouraged to choose one, two or possibly three other area in which they would like to specialize. Members are already familiar with many of these schools and lineages of magic from the introductory lessons contained within the optional Outer Order curriculum studies (details about that can be found in a blog post here). At this point in their magical progress, as Adepti of the Golden Dawn, members are allowed to pursue their own course of study and choose their own path. They are also welcome to bring other lineages to the Order, providing they fit the overall structure and goal, and are not contrary to the egregore and energy of the Order.

As before, in the eyes of some this may cause some to say that we are not traditional “Golden Dawn”. However, we believe that we are in keeping with the spirit of the original Order, and have merely added lineages and teachings that complement and support the original intent of the Order. Some may say that the Golden Dawn does not need anything ‘added’ to it, that it is a complete system within itself. While we would tend to agree with this overall, our viewpoint is that having additional lineages and courses of study only acts to further the accomplishment of the Great Work. Allowing members to choose those paths which are of the most interest continues to keep them involved and interested and gives multiple options for the continuation and investigation of the work. The Golden Dawn was an amazing amalgamation of different schools of magical thought from its era, including spiritual work, talismans, evocations, enochian and egyptian among others. We have continued this amalgamation to include additional discoveries, grimoire’s and lineages of magic, creating a multi-faceted group of choices for members.

Our Inner Order certainly has more additions and changes to it than the Outer Order. These additions, we feel, only serve to further the purposes of both our members and the Great Work, allowing for more options and schools of study than that contained strictly within the RR et AC.

Yours in the Great Work,

V.H. Frater M.T.O.

Praemonstrator, Order of the Golden Dawn

The Outer Order – The Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer

In this post we will introduce our Outer Order, and some of the similarities and differences between our Order and other Golden Dawn Orders. Later posts will expand upon some of the individual points and subjects that are presented here, as well as introduce our Inner Order, at least as much as may be revealed.

Our outer Order is titled “The Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer”, and was officially founded on the Autumnal Equinox of 2007, although we were doing ritual work and functioning as a group prior to that time. We chose to use the name “Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer”, as it seemed the most common name we could find associated with the original order from the books and documents in our possession at the time (we are amateur Golden Dawn historians at best). On July 15, 2105, Dean Wilson in one of his blog posts titled “The Name/s of the Order of the Golden Dawn”, summed up the various names used and associated with the original Order by stating the following:

“Perhaps the simplest name to use (in the case of the original Order) is “Order of the Golden Dawn,” as this is largely consistent throughout the various forms, and the one adopted in both the official rules and rituals.”

We also decided that as was the practice in the original order, that we would use Egyptian God names for our Temples. For our original/Mother Temple, we chose Thoth to lend his learning and wisdom to our pursuits, and the form of Amen-Ra (or Amun-Ra) to signify our adherence as a western ‘solar’ order. In ancient Egypt, the god of wind, Amun, came to be identified with the solar god Ra and the god of fertility and creation Min, so that Amun-Ra had the main characteristic of a solar god, creator god and fertility god. Thus, by adhering to the solar nature of our path, we might create a living, breathing entity of life and light, to help illuminate not only our lives, but those of our fellow brothers and sisters.

The original Knowledge Lectures, Rituals and Meditations were used as the starting point for our Outer Order’s Knowledge Lecture outlines and lessons and to measure the progress of its members. We noticed that each grade had various lessons in various subjects, such as the Elements, Astrology, Alchemy, Hermetics, Kabbalah, and Tarot to name but a few. However, there was not a consistent set of each of these in each grade. To enhance the curriculum, we used the original Knowledge Lectures as a ‘Required’ base, and expanded each grade to contain additional information on each one of these subjects, each one building on the lessons learned in the previous grade. So, in each grades’ materials in our Order, you will find information on each one of these valuable subjects. Thus, if you are very interested in tarot or hermetics, there is some amount of grade material in each and every grade of the Outer Order on these topics. If tarot or hermetics are not of as much interest, perhaps Kabbalah or Astrology are, and the student has plenty of material to continue those studies. While there is still some amount of required material in each of these areas to learn within certain grades, the student may choose an area that is of interest to them to study in a more in-depth manner during their journey through the First Order. This leads the magician to finding a path or specialty within our Second Order course of study, which will be addressed in a later post. For example, in Regardie’s “The Golden Dawn”, the Second Knowledge Lecture contains some alchemical symbols as well as a list of terms and their meanings. There is also a small section on some Alchemical meanings also found in the Fifth Knowledge Lecture. Those are the only two requirements for Alchemy found in the published Outer Order Knowledge Lectures. What we have done, is to add a section on Alchemy to each grade, so that there is a full course on Alchemy found within the Outer Order. The student is only tested on the required Knowledge Lecture sections, but if Alchemy is of interest, there is a complete course throughout the Outer Order, which serves as an introduction, and does not impinge on the Inner Order Alchemy course and specialty.

Another function that we have added at the educational level (not that it is unique only to us) was to require each member to write two papers at each Grade of the Order. The first being an overall experience paper, regarding their experience both in the ritual and throughout their work of the grade. This paper is designed only to be seen by the Chiefs of the Order. The second, being a “Knowledge” paper, based upon a point of the ritual or something related to the Knowledge Lecture information found in that grade. Some of these papers are added to the Appendix section of our Knowledge lectures, thus giving an expanded look at a Knowledge Lecture topic, or perhaps branching out and adding additional information closely related to a Knowledge Lecture topic. These are also not required reading or study, but certainly add to the overall corpus of material used in our Order.

In working with the grade rituals of the Order, we attempted to use the oldest rituals that we had in our possession at the time. We did not opt to use the later ‘Stella Matutina’ rituals, but rather the older ‘Golden Dawn’ rituals. One thing we were never afraid to do (and still are not) is to experiment and try new or different things in regards to the initiation rituals. We compare any changes or ‘trials’ with the original cipher documents, and anything that does not fit is discarded. However, if the change or different approach does not conflict with the original cipher docs, then we test it in practices and discuss it at length. After a period of time, discussion and approval, some changes may be added to the rituals. Utilizing this process has led to some very interesting trial and error experiences, some of which will be shared in future posts. Essentially if it is found in the cipher documents, we adhere to it. In the original Order, the Cipher Documents were used as an outline, and the rituals were fleshed out significantly from the ciphers. Accordingly, if we feel that there is something that can be fleshed out further, or perhaps modified in some way to improve the experience, then we will give it a try, providing it does not ‘violate’ the cipher documents.

One thing that likely differentiates our Order from most other Golden Dawn orders is the active nature of seeking one’s HGA. Our three founders had all undertaken some form of the Abramelin process. We felt it important enough to specifically integrate this into the curriculum. Some might say that this makes us non-traditional or even ‘not’ Golden Dawn. That’s fine, and they are entitled to their opinions. While the process of working with one’s HGA is not inherently found in the original order teachings, there are certainly allusions to it, in the form of The Bornless Ritual among others. Samuel Mathers, one of the founders of the original Order, also translated and published one copy of the Book of Abramelin (not that publishing this work meant that it was to be integrated into the Golden Dawn, but it certainly attracted the attention of many of the original Order’s members). Nick Farrell wrote a very nice analysis of the Abramelin process into the Golden Dawn on his blog, which can be found here.  While we do not follow that exact process, it is somewhat similar. As Nick points out, the Abramelin process is divided into 3 distinct time frames. What we do in our Order, is the magician goes through the first two phases while in the Outer Order. Upon reception into the Inner Order, they go through an abbreviated version of those first two phases once more (with more information, emphasis and Inner Order perspectives added), and then continue on with the third and final phase. We have found very consistent results as our members have passed through the Grades, enough to serve as a validation that our approach works (again, not that we have a monopoly on that in any way, it is just one way, but does work). While it is not required, we also encourage our members to also go through the actual Abramelin process itself. This is in addition to the HGA work that they do within the Order.

These are some of the ways in which our Outer Order both adheres to, as well as differs from, the original ,and other, Orders of the Golden Dawn. We like to call ourselves “traditional” Golden Dawn, but also with a progressive outlook. We are not against making some changes to the system, but those changes must have a solid grounding in the system itself, they must fit into the structure as well as not go against the current of the Order.

Yours in the Great Work,

V.H. Frater M.T.O.

Praemonstrator, Order of the Golden Dawn



An Introduction to our Order

Our Order blog originally started off as a place for us to share various tidbits of information and things that we have learned, on an occasional basis. A few years ago, our ISP experienced an outage, and much of our blog and its posts were lost. We had a few of them backed up in various documents, and so we restored those few, but activity has been pretty sparse. We certainly try to express our sense of humor and not take ourselves too seriously in our April 1 posts, and that will certainly continue. However, as our Order continues to grow and expand, we find ourselves answering more and more questions about who we are to interested and potential members via email. So, we have decided to try to post a bit more regularly, covering various information about our Order, its work, and structure.

One of the first things that we as founders of the Order did, was to come up with a mission statement for the Outer Order. That mission statement is as follows:

“The mission of the Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer is to aid, assist, and encourage all who seek initiation into the Western Mysteries in achieving Knowledge and Conversation with one’s own Holy Guardian Angel for the purpose of divine illumination by working primarily within the framework of the traditional Golden Dawn system.”

We felt it important to include a couple of things that we all felt strongly about, including getting in touch with one’s HGA (and none of us are Crowley-ites, imagine that!), and following the framework of the traditional Golden Dawn system. When we formed the Order, we each came from a different branch of the Golden Dawn tree, that is, we each came from different Golden Dawn orders and systems. In founding this Order, we attempted to use the structure, form and teachings of the original order (at least as much as we possibly could) as a starting point. From there, we added a version of the Abramelin system, broken down into smaller segments throughout the Outer Order grades, for the work of getting in touch with one’s Holy Guardian Angel. Other things tended to work their way into the curriculum as we evolved, but the base is entirely Golden Dawn (at least, as much as it could be so).

The governance of our Order, like that of the original, is that it is ruled by 3 Chief Officers, the Praemonstrator, the Imperator and the Cancellarius. To summarize and keep it short, the Praemonstrator is in charge of the teaching of the Order (or delegation thereof) and is in charge of the Knowledge Lectures. The Imperator is in charge of the order of the Order (running meetings, keeps the Constitution and By-Laws, and ensuring their enforcement) and is in charge of the Rituals. The Cancellarius is in charge of the running of the Order (applications, minutes, dues, etc.) and is in charge of all documents and organization related to the Order.

The Outer Order is under the direct charge of the Hierophant, who is assisted by the Heireus and the Hegemon. He/She is in charge of all members from Probationers through the grade of Portal, as well as the Outer Order ceremonies and rituals and making recommendations for advancements to and through those particular grades. The Hierophant schedules meetings and initiations, and is in charge of the Outer Order officers, including contributing suggestions as to who will serve in what offices, as well as being in charge of ritual ‘practices’ and all things pertaining to the conduct and performance of initiation ceremonies. He/She is the “Expounder of the Mysteries” to those in the Outer Order.

The Inner Order is under the direct charge of the Chief Adept, who is assisted by the 2nd and 3rd Adepts. The Chief Adept is in charge of assigning, compiling and submitting to the Praemonstrator, any changes to the existing curriculum, or in submitting new courses of teaching, systems of magic or new work that is introduced to the Inner Order teachings (much more on this in a future post regarding our Inner Order and its structure).  He/She is in charge of all members of the Portal Grade (you will note some overlap of the Portal members between the Inner and Outer Orders) through Adeptus Exemptus as well as the ceremonies and rituals and making recommendations to the Chiefs for advancements to and through those grades.

In summary, within our Order (like most GD Orders) there are actually two separate Orders (an Inner and an Outer), each overseen by a different primary officer (the Hierophant and the Chief Adept), and then these two Orders are governed and overseen by the 3 Chiefs. The 3 Chiefs initiate the energies of the Tree of Life for the Order as a whole, and symbolize one of each of its pillars. To the Praemonstrator, the Pillar of Mercy, to the Imperator the Pillar of Severity, and to the Cancellarius the Pillar of Mildness or Equilibrium. And while the Chiefs have a certain amount of control to veto or change the running or structure of either order, both of our Orders are run in a democratic fashion. Each has its own constitution and by-laws, which are reviewed once each year by the general membership. Changes to by-laws may occur at anytime where there are enough voting members to proceed, and changes to the constitution may be presented once per year to the general membership. The primary reason that the Chiefs have a veto power, is simply to ensure the health and survival of both Orders. Not all members have the experience and high level view of the Order as a whole in quite the same way, and so any changes denied by the Chiefs are done for the good of the Order and the membership, not for any control or desire to run a dictatorship.

Here is a chart depicting the overall governance and structure of our Order. Tune in next time when we will examine our ‘Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer’ in more detail.

Yours in the Great Work,

V.H. Frater M.T.O.

Praemonstrator, Order of the Golden Dawn

Organizational Structure

Our Approach to Ritual and the Great Work

Our temple was founded, in part, on the principle of “if you’re going to do something, do it right!” That doesn’t mean that we necessarily have all of the right answers to everything, in fact far from it, but it does mean that we strive for excellence in the work that we do, and we take our magical work seriously. Why else would you even call it a “Great Work”? Does that mean we don’t have fun? Quite the contrary; our ritual practices, social gatherings and casual meetings are typically fun events, where we enjoy each other’s company with laughter, jokes and fellowship. However, when we are about the Great Work, whether in Temple meetings, performing initiations or doing other ritual work, there is a solemnity and focus to what we do.

We consider performing an initiation to not only be an honor, but also to be a solemn event, and one which we take very seriously. A candidate has presented themselves to us seeking initiation into the Western Mysteries and our Temple, and in that process has also entrusted us with guiding at least a portion of their personal spiritual growth and path. This is truly an honor, and a huge responsibility! The least we can do for them in return, is to perform a ceremony in which they are affected spiritually and energetically, and makes them say “Wow, thank you for such an amazing initiation!” Let’s be honest, it would be difficult to focus on the energies of the 0=0, affect the candidate’s sphere of sensation or prevent the evil persona from obsessing the Ruach of a candidate, if we’re tripping over one another, cracking jokes and making funny voices. To do so is not only a disservice to the Candidate, but should be an embarrassment to anyone who claims to be a Magician.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have the occasional ‘laughter breakdown’, and as you can see from some of our blog posts, we definitely enjoy our April Fool’s Day posts in relation to the Golden Dawn (yes, we are working on more regular and informative posts, we lost our blog and unfortunately most of our previous posts, however we had backups of the April Fool’s Day ones). There have been cases during ritual, when someone makes either an obvious mistake in their movement or in what they say, and everyone snickers or laughs. This sort of thing is inevitable whenever you get a large group of people together. Laugh at it, and move on! However, that does not give free license for a Ceremony or a Ritual to become a breeding ground for comedy. When we do have those breakdowns, we laugh about it (note that the spirits and angels are most likely laughing with us at that point), take a moment to regain our composure, and move on with the solemn work. If you plan on doing otherwise, you may as well just grab a wand, wave it about and call yourself Harry Potter, because the end result and effects would be about the same.