posted to the “Golden Dawn Blog” on January 12, 2005, by “Frater C.”
OSOGD had come under fire for its redactions of the classic Golden Dawn rituals.
A Statement by the Adepts of the Het Nuit Temple, Open Source Order Order of the Golden Dawn (OSOGD)
The original essay by Brother C. of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn (EOGD) can be found here.
The version of the Golden Dawn 0=0 Hall of the Neophyte practiced by Isis-Urania Lodge of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (England, 1888) can be viewed here.
The version practiced by the Het-Nuit Lodge of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn (California, 2001) can be viewed here.
We offer this rebuttal in the spirit of open debate, and fully recognizing that our fraters and sorors of the greater Golden Dawn community have the inalienable right to do the Great Work as their own Will guides them.
In the essay our Brother promotes certain key points:
- That the version of the 0=0 Hall that was practiced by Isis-Urania Lodge (and it’s associated temples) is the one and only possible definitive version.
- The documents that expand on the Isis-Urania version, explain its symbolism, and provide a mythological framework for those symbols—known as the Z Documents are “handed down” from the same source as the original foundation document, known as the Cipher Manuscript, that established the ritual framework, grades, and symbols of the Golden Dawn.
- That any alterations of either the Isis-Urania ritual text, along with the symbolic God images of the Officers and the mythological framework provided in the Z Documents, render the magical effectiveness of the ritual intent (initiation of an Candidate into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn) null and void.
- That the symbolic motif of the Isis-Urania Hall—the mythological Hall of Double Truth (from the Egyptian “Book of Going Forth By Day”, or the “Book of the Dead”), presided over by the God Asur-en-Nefer (Osiris)—is the basis for all Golden Dawn work, and even all spiritual development, at all levels and in every instance.
- That the specific use of Ra-Hoor-Khuit (“Horus the Initiator”) instead of Osiris as the Hierophant, and Set instead of Her-Horus (“Horus the Younger”) as the Hierus, is not only ineffective but also detrimental to the spirit, for it is based on the use of Evil godforms. To do so is well nigh unto blasphemy.
Since our Brother’s essay specifically addresses the version changes of the 0=0 Hall as developed by the Het-Nuit Temple of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, (even though he does not identify the target of his critique by name), and we are members of that organization, we have taken on the task of responding to the criticisms and allegations Brother C. directs at the Work of our Lodge. We will attempt to establish that Brother C. is incorrect, as well as misleading, in most of his key points.
We do not wish to argue that the way of our Temple is the only “right” way to approach the Golden Dawn ritual forms, and all others are wrong, even though Brother C. is making that very argument, albeit from his point-of-view: that his Temple’s way is the Only One True Way. Instead, we approach the Work with Nature’s own attitude of Pluralism, which allows for many effective variations on the Golden Dawn foundation as revealed in the Cipher Manuscript.
We see Brother C.’s attitude echoed in those fundamentalist Christian sects that proclaim theirs is the Only True Way of Christianity, and other sects (such as Catholics) have no right to call themselves “Christians”, and similar attitude in fundamentalist Muslim sects.
Overall, Brother C’s essay suffers from a failure to explain or establish certain premises, the near absence of any valid citations, references or bibliographies, and an overall lack of responsible fact checking. It also demonstrates an unfamiliarity with contemporary Egyptological scholarship, with its only Egyptology reference being a website operated by an Egyptian tourist agency.
Brother C. writes:
“There are some who would argue that the original Z documents as handed down to Mathers through the German Rosicrucian Order, could be fundamentally altered without compromising the intended current. They hold that deviation in foundational Golden Dawn doctrine is acceptable on the basis that our modern culture differs from the early Golden Dawn era.”
We find it most interesting, though distressing, that our Brother would descend into claims of ‘doctrine’ in the practice of Magic. To fall into the perverse error of the Catholic Church and other Christian sects of establishing dogmatic norms is to drag the high art and profound spirituality of Theurgic Magic into the degeneration that has been perpetrated against Western civilization by these institutions. Why reproduce their error? Why attempt to claim authority on the basis of doctrine? Why be so afraid of deviation, or in other words ‘heresy.’ The Magical Art is the basis for Empirical Science; it acknowledges the limits of human knowledge and knowing, and respects the irreducible nature of the ineffable principles that structure our cosmos. While we respect our Brother’s religious choice and faith, we see no need for the Golden Dawn of today to fall in to the ruinous prison of doctrine and its complement of fear of some one else’s choice, i.e., heresy (from the Greek word for “choice”).
Proposition, hypothesis, experimentation, evidence and results provide a sure path to attainment. This is the very theory and practice of Alchemy, upon which so much of the Western Magical systems depend. Ancient religions (for example, pre-Christian Paganism in the West and Hinduism in the East) follow such a path with more or less rigor. Sadly, here in the West, spirituality lies under the bane of the Christian Hegemony—a new religion, as these things are measured, merely two thousand years old.
While we would not presume to deny our Brother’s faith in the Z Documents and their provenience, claiming that the Z Documents in particular were “handed down to Mathers through the German Rosicrucian Order” is overstating the facts, at the very least.
It is misleading to assert with absolute authority that the Golden Dawn papers called the “Z Documents” were “handed down” from mysterious “German Rosicrucians” and were not, instead, conceived and written by Samuel L. MacGregor-Mathers himself (possibly in collaboration with his partner Dr. Wynn Westcott and his wife, Moina Bergeson Mathers).
That Mathers and his collaborators created the Z Documents to expand on the materials of the Cipher Manuscript in the light of their own beliefs is the commonly accepted conclusion of all reputable scholars in the field. Claims otherwise are invariably self-serving, and never made by independent researchers. There has never been any compelling historical evidence of the existence of this “German Rosicrucian” order that was the supposed precursor to the Golden Dawn, outside of the claims of first Wynn Westcott (later debunked) and then Mathers himself. There are references to a Lodge of Jewish Masons in Germany with a similar name, but no connection of this Lodge to the Golden Dawn can be demonstrated, except for the name (and this Lodge was Jewish, not Christian, so the point is moot.)
The general consensus among scholars is that Westcott and Mathers created the legend of the German Rosicrucians (or “Continental Adepts”) to give a glamour of authenticity to the fledgling Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, existing as it did in a culture infatuated with “ancient occult orders”.
While we may find Westcott and Mathers’ deception somewhat deplorable, that they promoted their Order with this mythological “back story” is one significant reason that it attracted so many members in its time, and why it has survived to the present day. Whether this “creation myth” is true or not has no bearing on the fact that the formulae found in the Cipher are valid and useful, regardless of their source. In retrospect, perhaps we can excuse our predecessors for their overzealous public relations effort. But to continue to perpetuate their ruse, as our Brother does, when all the available evidence indicates otherwise, is not so forgivable.
That the Cipher Manuscript and the Z Documents must be accepted as being from the same “German Rosicrucian” sources is an unsupportable assertion. We know, through modern scholarship, that this is unlikely. The Cipher is authentic, in the sense that it was pre-existing to the inception of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1888. The most likely source is that it came from Masonic scholar Kenneth Mackenzie and members of the Societas Rosicrucias In Anglica (SRIA), most probably from the work of Fredrick Hockley and a group within the SRIA known as The Society of Eight. By the time Westcott formulated the mythology of the “German Rosicrucians”, Mackenzie, Hockley and their fellow Society members were all deceased. Even Westcott’s reputed contact with the “German Rosicrucians”, Anna Sprengel (G.H. Soror S.A.), supposedly “died” shortly after granting the Charter to Westcott and Mathers. Thus there was conveniently no one left alive to confirm or deny their story.
Not a single reputable scholar of Western Magical traditions in general, or of the Golden Dawn in particular, puts much credence in the stories of these shadowy “German Adepts” as being based in historical fact. (See bibliography below.) For example, the Columbia University Encyclopedia offers the following entry for “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”:
“Golden Dawn, Hermetic Order of the, occult-oriented fraternal organization established by the Freemasons in England (1888), led by S. L. MacGregor Mathers (18541917). The order’s rituals were derived from writings by Fredrick Hockley, and members had to demonstrate competence in mysticism.” (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press, 2003)
The complete examination of this dispute is beyond the scope of this article, but is referenced in the Bibliography below. Suffice to say, those who believe this German Rosicrucian order actually existed are in the vast minority of those in the field. Brother C.’s assertions of their existence should be viewed in this light.
Mathers always claimed, especially after his removal from London to Paris, that he was in contact with “Continental Adepts” and claimed his authority rested on these contacts. But there is no proof of this assertion other than Mathers’ word for it, and without question some of his other more outlandish claims have proven to be facetious at best. His gullibility was famously demonstrated in the Horos scandal, and also by his trust in a certain Frater Perdurabo (Aleister Crowley) to represent his interests to the Order in London that had declared both of them expelled.
At various times, in preserved letters written by Mathers, he provides conflicting accounts of these supposed German Adepts. At one point he threatens Westcott to expose the Charter of the Golden Dawn from these Adepts to be itself fraudulent. At other times, he claims they exist and he can tell them for what they are, but then he is taken in by the Horos swindlers and believes Mrs. Horos to be one of those “Continental Adepts”. He later recanted this opinion after the scandal broke.
Based on this clear historical evidence, Mathers’ testimonies simply can’t be considered reliable. He was a bit of an egotist, even a megalomanic at times, with a very high opinion of himself and his occult work. One would expect a more humble attitude in a person chosen by elevated Adepts to simply pass on their teachings unchanged.
That the Z Documents are an impressive synthesis of magical symbolism and technique based on the information available at the turn of the 20th century is without question; Westcott and Mathers deserve due credit for this achievement. But to elevate the Z Documents to the status of “Holy” texts, divinely inspired and unalterable, is untenable. Even to place them on a level equal to the Cipher Manuscript, the first historical example of the ritual corpus of the Golden Dawn, is misleading, since the Z Documents are expansions of the Cipher, not original source material. They refer to elements that were not present in the Cipher, which is the only document that can be claimed to pre-exist the Golden Dawn. So, if the Z Documents also pre-existed Mathers’ and Westcott’s brilliant development of the rituals, then logically they should only refer to the content of Cipher. (Also, making this claim denies Mathers’ (and Westcott’s) genius in creating their versions of rituals from the available materials.)
Unfortunately, Brother C.’s entire thesis rests on the acceptance of the Z Documents as having the same origins as Westcott claimed for the Ciphers. Unlike the sparse framework of the Cipher, the Z Documents are written in a style that seems almost identical to other published works by Mathers. We suppose one could make a case for the INFORMATION in the Z Documents to have come from the “German Rosicrucians”, who left the details of exegesis to their acolyte, Mathers. But that would imply that some previous version in writing existed, and none has ever been uncovered or even hinted at. Or these German Rosicrucians imparted only oral teachings to Mathers, who wrote them down. Or they were divinely inspired by direct telepathic contact with Mathers and/or his wife, who was a noted clairvoyant scryer.
But all this is sheer speculation, for we have only Mathers’ word for any of it. Without any supporting evidence whatsoever, that is a shaky foundation at best.
The second consideration here is based on Brother C.’s limited definitions of what comprises the “current” of the Golden Dawn, and if that current is dependent on and derived from the work of Mathers and ONLY Mathers. Brother C. makes no attempt to establish a case or offer evidence for this opinion, he merely states it as prima face fact, calling it the “intended current”. Intended by whom? Mathers, we suppose. But that simply begs the question, making it a circular argument and therefore an invalid one. One could derive data from a comprehensive analysis but the simple assertion tells us little. However, knowing as we now do that the Western Magickal Tradition ultimately derives from the Theurgy of Iamblichus we can state that the intention of the current of the Golden Dawn is to awaken the Aspirant to their Higher or Divine Nature, and to eventually to attain unto Apotheosis.
Brother C.: “While people, groups and orders find that personalizing their magical work can be powerful and magic at times demands modification to meet the needs of the day, there are however, certain fundamental Truths contained within the traditional Golden Dawn system that cannot be changed.”
Again, a simple assertion that tells us little; no explanation or evidence is offered as to which “certain fundamental Truths” cannot be changed, which CAN be changed, why that is, and how to tell the difference. The Golden Dawn Order to which Brother C. belongs has also made what some would call fundamental changes to the original practices of Mathers and his Lodges, in some cases rather significant changes. This is not to argue the comparative merits of what changes our Fraters and Sorors of Brother C.’s Order have instituted, but simply to point out that Brother C. is tossing stones from inside a glass house when it comes to basing a temple’s ritual practices on “fundamental” historical traditions. In this case, the meaning of “fundamental” appears to be whatever Brother C. and the leaders of his Order think it is.
Therefore, our Brother can’t argue his claim from the absolute preservationist position, but must allow that SOME changes to the ritual forms and practices expounded by Mathers (regardless of where they originated from) are possible. On this, Brother C.’s Order and ours agree. Now we are down to the messy details, and a case must be made for SOME things being allowable changes and OTHER things not. No such case is built for what is allowable and what is not in the essay; instead, it argues “from divine authority”, by proclamation rather than logic or evidence.
Brother C.: “Some even assert that in our modern day, there is no longer any purpose in placing Osiris in the Hall of the Neophyte, that in his place Horus should serve as Hierophant, and Set should serve as Hierus in place of Horus. They claim that there is a new eon, which renders the Osiris principle obsolete.”
Here the reference is obviously to the ritual corpus of the Het-Nuit Temple of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn (OSOGD), for no other Temple (that we are aware of), except those who derived their forms from ours, uses this particular arrangement of godforms in the 0=0 Hall. We are curious as to why Brother C. is reluctant to name the OSOGD specifically.
Be that as it may, that the world has entered into what can easily be described as a New Aeon since the time of the late 1800s is indisputable fact, self-evident from simply observing the cultural changes over the last 100 years when contrasted with the progression of Western culture in the centuries previous, and needs no supporting argument. That being acknowledged, the point of dispute becomes whether a Golden Dawn Order can recognize and incorporate certain philosophies of our New Aeon into its practice, and if such practice can still be described accurately as “Golden Dawn”.
Beliefs, in the sense of religious beliefs, have no real bearing on the issue, but our Brother seems to be making an accusation of religious heresy on the part of the OSOGD throughout his essay. To our way of thinking (and opinions may vary, of course), the Golden Dawn current is defined—and propagated—by practice, not by religious belief. The ritual actions, intentions and results are the ‘practice’, whereas the mythological motif and identification with certain Gods represented in the ritual is a matter of religious belief. Mathers clearly built a “Christianized/Egyptified” structure upon the framework of Golden Dawn practices handed down in the Cipher Manuscript, even though the rites in the Cipher are arguably Pagan in nature. The purpose of the Z Documents was to expound upon that structure, with Mathers’ christianized slant. What Brother C. fails to demonstrate is that Mathers’ mythological structure is the one and only structure that can be built on the foundation of Golden Dawn practice and still remain true to that foundation. He doesn’t even try to demonstrate it, or offer any rationale, but simply declares it to be a fact and leaves it at that.
The 0=0 Hall is not a religious ceremony to elevate and worship the Gods of the Hall, but rather is an Initiation ritual, something entirely different, where the intent is to effect specific changes in the psyche of the Initiate by the Invocation and agency of those Gods. Brother C. hyper-inflates the importance of religious belief in the working of the 0=0 Hall. For example:
Brother C.: “The principle of Osiris is deeply fundamental to both the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian current, and this deviation replaces both the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian current with something much different. To understand why this is we must examine the Osiris principle and how it relates to the life of the candidate.”
It should be noted here that the 0=0 Hall framework in the Cipher makes no mention of Osiris, or any specific god-form associated with the Officers. Instead, it gives descriptions of the nature and power of those god-forms in general terms, which leaves ample room for variations in mythological settings. There are other rituals in the Cipher where the godforms ARE named, so if the creators of the 0=0 ritual wanted certain gods to be used, it seems sensible they would have said so.
Even more to the point, the Egyptians themselves never considered using Osiris and the Hall of Double Truth as a model for a telestreion, a hall of Initiation of Mages. It was a Hall of the Judgment of the Dead, which is something else entirely, and the Egyptians knew the difference.
Brother C.: “The candidate first receives the current in the Hall of the Neophyte when he sacrifices his former life and dedicates his new life to the study and practice of occult principles.”
The application of this so-called “Osiris Principle” to the 0=0 Hall is a perspective unique to Mathers; the Cipher Manuscript offers no such specifics. Certainly one can interpret the 0=0 Ritual as a symbolic “death”, with the Hierophant as Asur-en-Nefer (only ONE of the manifestations of the God known generally as “Osiris”) presiding over the Hall of Double Truth, the gate to the Afterlife. But the Cipher itself offers no such direction in how to interpret the identity of the Officers that perform the ritual actions. There is no reference to any mythological setting, or to the identity of the Godforms represented.
For example, another possible Egyptian motif that can be placed on the framework of the 0=0 Ritual is that of the Barque of Ra, the Ship of the Sun, that rides through the night sky to be “reborn” in the light of each new Dawn. The Am-Duat, the oldest guidebook to the Afterlife in existence, tells the myth of the Celestial Barque, with Ra-Horakhty (“Horus of his Horizon”) as the central figure who steers the Barque through the Night. At the prow, in the “westernmost” end of the Barque, stands Set with his spear, guarding the travelers from the serpent Apep in the West, who is trying to devour the ship before it can rise carrying the Disk of Ra, which Ra-Horakhty bears symbolicly in his Crown. The Disk of the Sun is in the center of the Bark, which is the symbolic position of the Aspirant.
Based on the framework of the Cipher, either interpretation is equally valid, since they both fit the available information. In fact, there are many reasons why Horus/Set fit the Cipher’s framework more coherently that using Osiris/Horus, which we will discuss below.
Brother C. continues: “Osiris is the god who is slain and risen; he represents the ancient alchemical process of death and rebirth and this is central to any magical work.”
There is no explanation offered as to how or why the “death and rebirth” motif is by necessity “central” to “any” (that is to say, “all”) magical works. And in point of fact, this framework is not all that ancient.
“The principle that something must be sacrificed in order to receive something better is central to any exchange found in nature. For example: to keep warm, fuel, such as wood must be sacrificed, or to stay alive, something must be eaten, and to live together in harmony, laws must be obeyed.”
This seems to us a narrow view of what is actually a much greater process. To view the cycle of Life itself as based on “sacrifice” fails to encompass the wider perspective. It also paints a rather bleak “Darwinist” picture of losers and winners, the eaters and the eaten, when in actual fact the eaters in nature will someday die and their bodies’ components will feed the species that they once ate. The shape of Nature is a circle, not a straight line.
The jump to “laws must be obeyed” is stretching the comparison, but the author might be trying to work in the concept of “law” to establish grounds for obedience to a particular dogma.
The ethical foundation of any Theurgical system of Magic, from Iamblichus of the Greeks to the Tibetan Buddhists to the Rosicrucians of Europe, is not self-sacrifice, but Compassion, in the active sense—what the Tibetans call Boddhichitta. In the classic Golden Dawn, such workings of Active Compassion were conducted by G.H. Soror S.S.D.D. (Florence Farr) and her Sphere Group, a cabal of Adepts in London, who specifically identified their work as a form of Boddhichitta. So this ethical force and its mode of expression has been part of the Golden Dawn current since the time of it’s earliest Lodges. The magical work of the Sphere Group stands out as the highest practice the early Golden Dawn Adepts achieved before the disbanding of their Order.
It’s worth mentioning that the Sphere Group too was regarded as “heretical” by some strong traditionalist factions in their own temples.
Our Brother gives an adequate presentation of one view of the slain and risen cycle. For many in recent history (since the 1400s) this mode has indeed dominated magickal practice (though only in the West.) However, it is but one mode amongst many, and save that in all change something ends and something else begins, the Christian slain and risen form is entirely optional. Of the many modes available to us, the Osirian mode focuses on the dying/ending part of the sequence (his resurrection is problematic since Osiris is not resurrected in the Egyptian tales; his body is re-assembled but he is still dead). Others focus on the transitional state between end and renewal, and some on the ‘birth’ that follows the ‘death’. The Hoorian or Solar mode is an example of this latter example. For those who are very attached or deeply corrupted and needing much cathartic purification, the Osirian Dying God form may be an appropriate method. Sacrifice in the sense of giving up that which one has for (theoretically) something better is a dominant motif of this form. For those who are less corrupted and/or attached, or have done their purifying work by any of the other available means, the focus on death and sacrifice-as-loss is less useful, and worse, a distraction. One of the other choices available is to focus on the ‘birth’ and this can be found in the Mysteries of Ra and Horus. We have chosen to apply that mode in our work.
The ritual mode of Sacrifice is a useful practice that has it’s proper place in a complete system of High Magical Theurgy like that of the Golden Dawn. But it is not the only practice, or even the most important. Birth, growth, life and enlightenment should be viewed as the goals of High Magic, not Death.
Brother C.: “Osiris is positioned East of the Double Cubical Altar to symbolize that the increase of Light requires active participation from the aspirant.”
There is an inconsistency here, since Ausar-en-Nefer, in the Hall of Double Truth, is NOT a god of Light, but the god of Death. Beyond Ausar-en-Nefer lies the Underworld, an increase of Darkness, not an increase of Light. This is at odds with the symbolic location of the Throne of the East in the 0=0 Hall, which stands before the gates of Dawn, not Darkness.
Ra-Horus, on the other hand, is a Solar Deity, a god of Light.
Brother C. fails to mention it, but in the 0=0 Hall of the OSOGD, Osiris is still sitting in the East. He is on the Dais, in Throne of the Past Hierophant, as is proper since Osiris contrived to place his son Horus on the Throne of the Living World after he became King of the Dead. And what Brother C. may not know is that Osiris is one of the forms of the Hierophant in the OSOGD Initiation cycle at the Portal Ritual, where the Aspirant symbolically dies and must pass through nine months of alchemical gestation until being reborn as the embodiment of Ra-Horus, the Sun King of Tipharet, in the Vault of the 5=6.
Of course, our Brother could have contacted the OSOGD and asked for further explanation of our choice of symbolic frameworks before writing this essay, and we would have been more than happy to provide it. This is an example of our Brother’s lack of responsible fact checking.
Brother C.: “To increase physical strength, muscles are broken down and are rebuilt stronger; effort and determination are required to sustain the process of increasing strength. To sustain the increase of Light the aspirant is subjected to alchemical fire and is rebuilt stronger and able to support greater exposure to the Light: this is the process of death and rebirth; the effort and determination are called sacrifice; the aspirant must willingly and continually sacrifice, and put his or herself to the alchemical fire to increase their magical power and to reach his or her full potential. This current is invoked when the candidate makes the vow of the Neophyte before the Hierophant at the foot of the Double Cubical Altar. The candidate bends his or her knee before the principle that anything worth having is worth effort and sacrifice.”
Brother C. seems to equate “effort and determination” with sacrifice, but that’s not the only way to approach the Great Work. “Sacrifice” certainly isn’t a theme in the Cipher documents. Energized enthusiasm also brings forth effort and determination, like the love of anything that expresses the aspirations of the soul. A musician plays and a painter paints for their love of the Art; the love is what drives them, and sacrifices to make it possible are not felt to be sacrifices at all. In the creation of their Art they bring about Beauty, which is only completed when shared with others. This is a form of active Compassion. What drives the Mage is much the same. They both should receive enlightenment and joy in their Work, AND strive to bring enlightenment and joy to their fellow human beings at the same time (some of them, at least.) This is not “sacrifice”, but Compassion. By the process of energized enthusiasm and love of the Work, the “effort” becomes effortless. The symbolic kneeling of the Aspirant before the Altar of the Universe is not a symbol of sacrifice, but that of a lover before their Betrothed.
Brother C. continues: “Horus sits on the Throne in the West and represents the increase of Darkness and the decrease of Light;”
This is the most obvious problem with Mathers’ conception of the 0=0 Hall and it’s godforms. Why would anyone choose Horus, a Solar Deity, to represent Darkness and the decrease of Light? It defies simple logic. It is not in the nature of Horus, in any of his various forms from Egyptian mythology, to represent Darkness. If there is some deeper symbolic reasoning behind it to justify such a glaring anomaly, we’ve yet to hear it. Mathers offered none. Brother C. offers none. Both simply declare the connection without any explanation as to why it is so.
All throughout his essay, Brother C. argues from a position of “received knowledge”, in the instance here it is received from the mysterious German Adepts and passed exclusively through Mathers.
When an argument is made from the “divine revelation” perspective, there is no disagreement possible. The knowledge was received from divine or semi-divine sources, and that’s the end of the discussion. “Uninitiated” scholars and researchers are simply not privy to the “secret knowledge” of the “German Rosicrucians”, because they were so very good at maintaining their secrets that not a single shred of evidence of their existence has ever surfaced. (One is reminded of similar augments made by believers in the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” conspiracy theories, popular in the late 20th century.) If one wishes to invest unquestioning religious belief in these divine sources, the issue is settled and one can avoid discomfort of independent, critical thinking.
Brother C.: “…he defends the Hall from the forces of Darkness and mans the station, which borders the Qliphoth and the world of demons and shells. He is a defending force, which bears the sword and the banner of evening twilight, which is the banner of the West.”
This paragraph indicates that our Brother conflates the office of Hierus with its protecting qualities and the nature of the God Horus. As a description of the role of the Hierus it is a fine example. But it has, as is sadly common in Christian-derived magickal writings, a profound fear of the Qliphoth and daemons (to use the word “shells” here is redundant, for ‘Qliphoth’ means “shell”). Fortunately, as Pagans, this issue is irrelevant, as we have taken the Stone the Christian Builders rejected and made it our Cornerstone, but that is a discussion for another day. Suffice it to say that our need for protection is much less.
More importantly, since we are working with Ra-Hoor in the East it leaves us with the room to restore Set to his traditional Egyptian role as Protector of Ra. This balancing of Set and Horus is one of key dynamics of the Mysteries of Khem, especially in the Heliopolitan Cycle. Also it is out of this relationship that Tahuti (Thoth) is created and is the reconciler of the Twin Contenders. In the role of Lord of Initiation, Ra-Hoor-Khuit guides the Aspirant to awaken in a manner much like how Osiris is described by our Brother above. This is no surprise, as that job is the Hierophantic task. Ra-Hoor does this task not as a Judge of the Weighed Heart, but as Pilot of the Boat in which the Aspirant is to journey, a process which Plato lays out in some detail. In time, Others will yet sit on the Throne of Ra and perform this duty in Their own inimitable style, as They have since time immemorial. To think otherwise would be to say that once you been a Hierus you could never be a Hierophant! Surely that is not what our Very Honored Brother intended, but it is what his message implies.
Nowhere else, besides in Mathers’ conception, does Horus represent a “defending force”, except inasmuch as he fulfills the greater role of King of the Living World. Even in his “Horus the Younger” warrior form, as the adversary of his uncle/brother Set, he is a contending force, not a defending one. There’s also a considerable amount of homosexual imagery contained in the mythological cycle of “The Contendings of Horus and Set”, when modern scholarship is applied to the translations. There is a homosexual relationship of dominance/submission between these “adversaries” that is rarely examined or even mentioned outside of the world of academic Egyptology. Suffice to say that in this relationship lie deeper mysteries. (Since Egypt is primarily Muslim today, and Islam condemns all homosexuality, it’s not surprising that a tourism website avoids any mention of it. But it is there, if one does competent research. See the Bibliography below.)
Brother C. continues: “In nature he represents strong defensive forces such as the immune system, which protects the body from the invasion of unbalanced forces. Horus is not designed to advance the soul along the Path, but rather to prevent backsliding. The immune system is not a mechanism for increasing strength; rather it prevents the host from becoming weaker due to contagion, so does Horus protect the Hall of the Neophyte and subsequently the candidate from corrupting influences, which may otherwise infiltrate the initiation and weaken the candidate and possibly even destroy his or her future progress along the Path.”
This is an interesting series of mythological metaphors, but they in no way represent the ancient magic of the Egyptians or how they thought about Horus and his place in the natural order.
One could reasonable expect that if these “Rosicrucian sources” really did possess the pure and unaltered secrets of ancient Egyptian Magic, and the true meanings the Egyptian Mages attached to their gods, passed down unchanged from the Egyptian Mages themselves, it would coincide with what has been discovered in the last 100 years of ‘mundane’ Egyptological scholarship. Even if early scholars such as E. Wallis Budge were mistaken in their original interpretations, which has proven to be the case, the “German Rosicrucians” should have had the “real thing” and that would be confirmed by discoveries made over the last 100 years or so. But this is not the case. Instead, the interpretations made by Mathers and reproduced here in Brother C.’s essay, are now shown to be exactly the same misconceptions of the early Egyptologists in Mathers’ time.
He continues: “The Hall of the Neophyte is comprised of delicately balanced visible and invisible stations, which work together to bring the candidate from his or her present state to their full potential.”
In this point we and our Very Honored Brother completely agree!
“Osiris patiently builds and rebuilds the candidate and steadily increases his or her ability to bear the Light. Whereas, Horus is that powerful force, which protects the candidate from harmful influences, but he does not increase strength; he prevents strength from ebbing.”
What is becoming clear is that as such, Mathers, or his Rosicrucian masters, essentially created a new mythology of gods using traditional Egyptian names, but not using those gods in their traditional roles, except very superficially. Mathers might as well have made up new god names and images from scratch, and given them these attributes. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach from a magical perspective. But the “back story” that these legends are based on the pure and perfect wisdom of the Ancients, particularly the Egyptians, is utterly without merit. To claim such a thing for the purpose of gathering adherents and deflecting skeptics is simply perpetuating the exaggerations that Westcott and Mathers created to promote their original Order. In their era, when there was much ignorance of real Egyptian history, this could be understood and even excused, but not today.
In the time when Mathers (himself or by proxy) put forth these rituals and the legends attached to them, Egyptian scholarship couldn’t challenge the accuracy of his conception. The Rosetta Stone that broke the code of the hieroglyphics was discovered only 50 years previous, took decades to translate, and the study of Egyptology was in it’s earliest days. That has changed in the last 100 years. In the light of new discoveries and contemporary scholarship, these so-called “ancient traditions” presented by Mathers and his successors are not ancient at all, but essentially represent an original and non-Egyptian interpretation created out of whole cloth. As far as using a pre-existing mythology goes, and assuming Mathers’ interpretation of the Hall as undeniably Christian is correct, why bother with Egyptian gods at all? Why not simply declare Christ to be the Hierophant, make Saint Peter the Hierus, the Virgin Mary the Hegemon, John the Baptist the Kerux, and turn Judas into the “Evil Persona”? Why adopt a lot of ill-fitting godforms, and re-write their entire mythology to conform, when you’ve got a pre-existing mythology—Christian—that you claim is the “real thing” anyway?
Brother C.: “Placing Horus in the East represents the aspiration of the candidate to remain completely the same. Considering the nature of Horus and his role of sealing the Hall of the Neophyte from foreign influence, the result of stationing him in the East would be to seal the candidate from positive influences designed to help him or her to advance.”
This would only be accurate if our Order adhered to the symbolic roles as designed (or passed on) by Mathers that our Brother described above. The 0=0 Ritual as conceived by the Het-Nuit Temple uses different aspects of these godforms, ones that are actually far more historically and spiritually accurate than those employed by Mathers and his successors. Our Ra-Horus has an entirely different nature than their Her-Hoor, or Horus the Avenger. In fact, their Horus/Hierus has an entirely different nature than that of the Ancient Egyptian’s Horus.
One could, by the same kind of argument that our Brother is making, say that the use of Horus by Mathers as a godform of Darkness is a corruption of the Solar energies of the god, and placing a violent, avenging deity in the role of a “protector” is like hiring Atilla the Hun to babysit. The point being, it doesn’t matter what an outsider thinks a ritual’s godforms represent, it only matters what the people working the ritual think those godforms represent.
Brother C.: “Set was originally the god of dry, desert winds, storms, chaos, evil and darkness, and was depicted as a hippopotamus, crocodile and various other hated beasts of ancient Egypt.”
As any student of Egyptology can tell you, the hippopotamus god is Ta Urt, and the crocodile god is Sobek—and neither of them are Set. (We’re still not sure exactly what animal the head of Set is supposed to be. It’s led to all kinds of theories, but there’s no way to tell.) The Egyptians respected and feared these animals, but “hated” is the wrong way to put it. There are some folk tales that describe both Set AND Horus transforming themselves into hippos and wrestling in the river. In that same story, Isis harpoons the both of them to get them to stop fighting! But these are “satires” and not religious-magical texts. There is a tale where the baby Horus fights a crocodile, but it’s made clear this is Sobek, not Set. This is all explained in the books by Griffiths and Te Velde, listed below in the bibliography, if our Brother would like to confirm it.
In the days of the formulation of the Golden Dawn, Set was seen through Christian prejudice as a form of Satan. At the time, they couldn’t begin to comprehend how very different the Egyptian meanings of Magic and Religion really were from their own.
This erroneous view lead the first formulators of the Golden Dawn to conflate the path of spiritual attainment with the Egyptian God most like the embodiment of attainment in the Christian tradition; they conflated Osiris with Christ. Since the Christian mythos is founded upon the myth of Tammuz, also a Grain God (as was Osiris), this is not surprising. However, this kind of dualism which rejects one half of the polarity is very un-Egyptian, and utterly inappropriate to Set.
At many times over Dynastic Egypt’s 3000 year history, (particularly during the 19th and 20th Dynasties) Set was depicted as crowning Pharaoh, in unison with his brother Horus, together tying the “S’ma” knot of Unity over Pharaoh’s head. Set is one of the defenders of the Deceased in the “Book of the Dead” (The Pyramid Texts), specifically supporting the “Djed” or backbone, one of the most important parts of the Deceased’s astral body.
Set is also often depicted as standing on the prow of the Barque of Ra, wielding his great Spear, slaying the Apep-snake that threatens to devour the Barque. He is a defender of the Sun, showing his Mastery of the denizens of the Darkness. An entire Dynasty, one of the most successful in Ancient Egypt, took Set as their namesake—the Seti Dynasties (1394-1194 BCE). Why would a family of great Pharaohs take on the name of a god that was only considered to be a “god of evil”? Again, Mathers’ ersatz Egyptology does not coincide with what we know through modern scholarship.
Brother C. writes: “He was later identified with Apophis and Typhon. Set is inexorably linked to the evil persona, that is to say Ommoo-Szathan or The Mouth of the Power of Destruction; he is The Stooping Dragon, The Slayer of Osiris and Demonic Force.”
To regard Set as anything like the Christian godform of Satan—which is basically what Brother C. is suggesting—is a great misunderstanding of how the Egyptians regarded their gods and their magic. Set was not a “god of evil”. Ancient Egypt had no “god of evil”. That concept began with the Zorastarians, quite a long time later. The gods of the Egyptian Ennead were forces of Nature, viewed as aspects of the great Unity, and were beyond Good and Evil in the human sense—or another way to look at it is they could represent both Good or Evil depending on circumstance. If Set was thought to have brought forth a storm that destroyed a village’s crops, it was no more an expression of evil on the part of Set than we modern folks would consider the storm itself an expression of “evil”. Neither would a crop failure be blamed on an “evil” Osiris, even though one of his roles was as the Green Man, the god of vegetation. If the storm passed over or the crop recovered, then Set or Osiris would be praised and thanked by the people, for exercising control over their natural elements.
In the recent tsunami disasters of the Indian Ocean, do we ascribe “evil” to the tsunami? Christians and other monotheists call such events “acts of God”, but does that mean therefore God is “evil” in their eyes? Of course not. Neither did the Egyptians ascribe “evil” to Set. A tiger or a tornado can only do what tigers and tornadoes do, which sometimes hurts humans. But we don’t call them “evil”, even when we fight against the damage they do.
The association with Apophis and Typhon came MUCH later, with the Ptolemic Greek “dynasties”, who imposed their own layer of interpretation on what scraps of the old magic they could find. Set once was the enemy and slayer of Apophis/Apep, and ironically he became synonymous with Apophis and the Greek War God Typhon after Egypt fell to the Greeks and later the Romans.
Brother C.: “This is a three-tiered evil force, which rises from the base of the Double Cubical Altar and he faces West. In the Hall of the Neophyte, Horus keeps him under control, and the Hierophant in the initiation literally stomps this evil persona under foot as he approaches the Double Cubical Altar and addresses the candidate. Placing Set in the station of the Hierus would be like putting a bank robber in charge of the bank vault. The evil persona is not something you want loose within your sphere of sensation: The Stooping Dragon represents our fascination with wicked and hurtful things, such as obsession and drug addiction, a bad drug habit nicely illustrates what the evil persona can do when it reduces a good life into a ruined one: The Slayer of Osiris represents the death of hopes, dreams and aspirations since Osiris represents the striving for our highest potential. Demonic Force represents an existence devoid of any higher aspirations, an existence where our true and higher nature is never realized. Placing Horus in the East and Set in the West seems to be a perfect formula for raising the evil persona and sealing it within your sphere of sensation.”
This is not the case, as we have also chosen to disassociate Set with the ‘Evil Persona’ that Mathers placed at the eastern foot of the Double Cube. Frankly, for the Egyptians, Apep would have been a better choice, but even that has its difficulties. Rather than fall into the dualistic errors nurtured in the younger religions such as Christianity, we see in the place of the ‘Evil Persona’ that which has been called the “Lurker on the Threshold.” This is a residuum of all that opposes the advancement of the Aspirant. It has no independent life or strength other than that which the Aspirant gives it. It is not a malevolent force from without, but an entropic force from within.
While predators exist in the Cosmos, there is no force opposing our spiritual evolution save our own ignorance, so we see no reason to associate this Lurker with any Divine form, aright or averse. Instead, we invite Set to the West where he stands against the Fall of Night, and the Predations of Apep. For those who focus on the conflict between Set and Horus, we commend the story “Hoor’s Tale” appended to the First Knowledge Lecture on the OSOGD site.
For them we also recall the proverb, ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’ From a God denied is a Demon born. Even if we take Set as the embodiment of the Shadow (in the Jungian sense), is it not wise to keep him where we can see him, and make him work for us?
Brother C. presents these godforms of Horus and Set as representing some absolute, historically (and magically) correct conception, faithfully depicted by Mathers, when in reality they are historically questionable interpretations. Even allowing for such an untraditional interpretation of Egyptian godforms as a valid vehicle for magical invocation, it is illogical to insist that one and only one personification of these godforms is possible, in this case being one which the Ancient Egyptians who created these deities would scarcely recognize.
Brother C.’s critique could be valid if those of us who work the 0=0 Hall and place Set on the throne of the West do so while also adhering to the same godform personae that Mathers created. If that were the case, we would be deliberately thinking, “Hey, let’s place a “God of Evil” on the Throne of the West—yeah, that sounds like a great idea!” This is patently absurd, but otherwise Brother C.’s argument utterly fails.
Or it could be valid if these godforms carry one and only one possible incarnation, and the people who work the Hall with Set in the West are simply ignorant of the TRUE meaning of the Set godform (which Brother C., on the other hand, knows for certain). But we now know that even the Egyptians greatly varied their incarnations of their own gods over their long history, and Mathers’ incarnation of them differed in many ways from any of the Ancient Egyptian’s incarnations. The only way we can accept Mathers’ godform concepts as being unalterable and canonical is to accept without question, and against the available evidence, the legend of the “German Rosicrucian Adepts” and their infallible wisdom, who passed their perfect and unchangeable teachings down to Mathers. To accept Brother C.’s argument in this way is nothing more than a sheer act of blind, unquestioning faith.
Our Brother’s reference for Set—an Egyptian tourism website—is a profound embarrassment for him. We recommend the academic scholarship of the past 50 years as a remedy for such a flagrant and ill-informed error. Please see the bibliography for more worthy and accurate citations. Citing an article on a tourist website as an academic source is, forgive us, pathetic. We must recommend that Brother C., and his readers, take advantage of their local library and do some actual research on the subject. For a list of more comprehensive and reliable web-based sources, see:
Working toward his conclusion, Brother C. says: “The Hall of the Neophyte and other profound Truths transcend time and space.”
We would agree with this, and add that such profound Truths transcend outer Forms, and these same Truths find expression in many ways at many different times in history. But if they are Universal Truths, the very fact that they transcend outer Forms is itself the proof of their validity and existence as “Universal Truths”.
Brother C.: “The sun rises in the East today and it will in the future as it has done since time immemorial, and it rises in the East here and in Europe and in South America and anywhere in the world. Profound Truths are not altered by mere cultural differences; our hearts beat the same within our chest regardless of our style or language or even our beliefs.”
The question here is whether this analogy is valid or not. To compare something as complex and multifaceted as the Great Work of Magic to a simple fact like which way the sun rises is to stretch a metaphor to the breaking point. Ah, that the world really were so simple!
Profound truths do indeed transcend cultural differences, but if they can only be expressed in one way, trapped like a fly in amber from a single culture and single period in human history, it casts a great doubt on whether such truths can be considered “Universal” or even “profound.”
But this is indeed the final crux of Brother C.’s argument:
“Mathers did not write the Z documents, they were handed down to him from the German Rosicrucian Order whom received much of their teaching from more ancient sources.”
This is a declaration of sheer religious faith—faith being here described as unshakable belief in something even in the absence of any proof or evidence that it be true. If Brother C. really wishes to pin his entire argument on this, then what he’s saying is there is no point in arguing. He has made a flat declaration. Resistance is futile. However, if one doubts this faith, his argument falls completely apart. It’s a very shaky foundation, for pull that one stone out from under it and the whole edifice collapses.
But our Brother continues: “The Z documents contain magical formula based on fundamental Truths, which cannot be altered without compromising the entire magical structure and subsequently breach or contaminate the pure current.”
And once again it is demanded that this is accepted on sheer faith.
And: “One critical aspect of this fundamental structure is the Osiris Principle; it is always necessary to work, strive and sacrifice, and experience the alchemy, which will strengthen us to pursue our true purpose in life; because anything worth having or doing will require work and sacrifice.”
It is a mistake to equate “work” with “sacrifice”, as explained above. It is necessary to Work, but equally necessary to approach the Work with Joy and Enthusiasm, not as a horrid chore or great obstacle to be overcome.
“This is not subject to cultural differences; this will not change with any new eon; this is a profound Truth, which transcends space and time.”
Brother C. is now becoming redundant. The fallacy of this argument has already been demonstrated.
“You will not escape work and sacrifice by rearranging the Hall of the Neophyte; there are no shortcuts in magic or anywhere else; shortcuts will always bring you in circles. No new eon will nullify the need for work and sacrifice.”
And Brother C. concludes with more redundancy, a reprise of his “work and sacrifice” theme once again. Actually, the statement above is a logical error known as the “Complex Question” fallacy: Two otherwise unrelated points are conjoined and treated as a single proposition. The reader is expected to accept or reject both together, when in reality one may be acceptable while the other may not be. (A Complex Question is an illegitimate use of the “and” operator.) In this case, the paradigm of the New Aeon and the avoidance of work are treated as the same thing, without any explanation as to why that should be the case.
More distressing and unfair, however, is the implication that the interpretation of the 0=0 Hall used by Het-Nuit Temple represents some kind of “escape” or “shortcut”. What possible rationale can he offer to support this claim? He offers none in his essay. Conceiving and carrying out a redaction of a traditional form is far MORE work than simply following a text “handed down” from somewhere else. It is the opposite of a “shortcut”; it is, rather, a harder path to the goal. Blazing a trail is always more difficult than following one. Although a more accurate metaphor would be that Het-Nuit Temple is widening the path already blazed—but this is still more work than simply following the narrow path already extant.
True, nothing worthwhile is achieved without effort. But sacrifice, especially in the very limited form discussed here, is not required and is often an impediment. While some may attempt to scale the heights using the principle of the slain and risen God, our Order of the Golden Dawn prefers to align ourselves with the wisdom of the Ancient Egyptians as written in the Pyramid Texts that say, ‘I have nothing to do with Osiris, Osiris has no claim over me.’ This can only be achieved by passing through the Realm of the Osiris Foremost of the Westerners, becoming initiated into the Lesser Mysteries of Death and Birth and then entering into the Greater Mysteries of Apotheosis. With each Aeon, the road remains the same, the guide and the means continually change. Choose wisely!
As an aside to this essay, another posting to the same Golden Dawn Blog stated the following:
“If certain Golden Dawn Orders profess to announce a new culture, where the God Horus has taken the seat of his Father Osiris, or Horus the Elder, formerly the Godform of the Past-Hierophant, has now taken the seat of Osiris or the Hierophant and that the Godform of Set has taken the throne of the Hiereus, then I wonder what kind of “glorious” new culture this is supposed to be? Necessarily the Orders that are doing this change have to find an argument that justifies it. This argument commonly is the following: The concept of Good vs. Evil was really not belonging to the Golden Dawn and was an invention by Mathers. Or The concept of Good and Evil is merely an illusion which the early Adepti did not recognize and that we today are smarter.”
We can only respond: where in our corpus of works or materials does our Order ever deny the existence of Evil in the world in the first place? Our Brother accuses us of something we do not do. We have never said “Evil” was an invention of Mathers, or that Good and Evil are illusions. Quite frankly, we don’t understand where our Brother gets these ideas. We do not find any “God of Evil” in the Ciphers; even Samael, who is often considered the “fallen Angel”, appears in the Cipher’s 1=10 Ritual as an Avatar of the Black Pillar of Severity. Is the Black Pillar “Evil”?
Furthermore, we do not consider Set a “god of evil” in the first place, so this accusation makes no sense. Evil is no illusion; but equating Evil with a malevolent Deity is a Christian paradigm that we simply do not share.
Theodicy—the theological study of Evil—is far too complex an issue to cover in this essay. Suffice to say that we consider Evil as not an “enemy” or a concept in need of deistic personification. Evil exists in the world because of human ignorance of its own innate Divine nature. When actions are taken out of ignorance, there is Evil, and all the Karma such actions generate. Evil needs no Gods—Evil is the ABSENCE of the Gods. Comparing “Good and Evil” is similar to comparing Hot and Cold. There is no such thing, really, as “cold” (ask any physical scientist or engineer.) There is no “cold energy”; what we perceive as “cold” is simply the absence of heat energy. In the same sense, “Evil”, by definition, is the absence of Good, the denial of the inherent Divinity in all things.
Finally, Brother C. offers: “If you want to learn more about True Initiation and are serious about working the magical way of life, click here: http://esotericgoldendawn.com/“
If you wish to ascend the path of Magickal Theurgy and attain to the company of the Gods by Initiation, the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn stands dedicated to aiding all along the road: http://www.osogd.org/
As a final note, we welcome our Brother, Frater C., or others speaking for his Order, to respond at length to the points raised in this essay. We will add a link on this page to any response. We do not fear healthy debate; rather, we welcome it, for it is has always afforded us the opportunity to expound on our practice and answer questions raised in the greater Golden Dawn community, of which we are all a part.
The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology (Oxford University Press, 2004) ISBN: 0-425-19096-X
R.O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (Oxford University Press, 1969) ISBN: 0-85668-297-7
R.O. Faulkner, Egypt: From the Inception of the Nineteenth Dynasty to the Death of Rameses III (Cambridge Ancient History. Rev. ed, 1966)
H. Te Velde, Seth, God of Confusion (Leiden/E.J. Brill, 1967) ISBN 90 04 05402 2
J. Gwyn Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Set from Egyptian and Classical Sources, (Liverpool University Press, 1967)
William Kelly Simpson (ed.), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, Yale University Press, 1972) ISBN: 0-300-01711-1
Carroll ‘Poke’ Runyon, Secrets of the Golden Dawn Cypher Manuscript (C.H.S., 1997) ISBN: 0-96548-812-8
R.A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Scrapbook: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Order(Weiser, 1997) ISBN 1-57863-007-X
R.A. Gilbert, Revelations of the Golden Dawn (Quantum, 1985) ISBN: 0-572-02258-1
Ellic Howe, The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887–1923 (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972) ISBN 0-71007-339-9.
Francis King, Modern Ritual Magic: The Rise of Western Occultism (Prism Press / The Guernsey Press Limited, 1989) ISBN: 1-85327-032-6
Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Routledge; New Ed edition 1986) ISBN: 0-41510-912-4
Florence Farr, Egyptian Magic: An essay on the nature and applications of magical practices in Pharonic and Ptolemaic Egypt (Aquarian Press, 1982)
John Hamill, The Rosicrucian Seer: Magical Writings of Frederick Hockley (Aquarian Press, 1986) ISBN: 0-85030-289-7
Pascal Boye, Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought(Basic Books; Reprint edition, 2002) ISBN: 0-46500-696-5
R. Decker and M. Dummett, History of the Occult Tarot (Gerald Duckworth & Co, 1991) ISBN 0-7156-3122-5
See also Golden Dawn Blog— Response No. 2