Category Archives: The Great Work

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


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.