Original Author: Sam Webster, 10/28/02
Given that times have changed since the 1880s the rites of the classical Golden Dawn do not match the needs of the current era. Three major currents impacting the Golden Dawn add to the difference time makes: better access to eastern practice, especially the Buddhadharma, Thelema, and the contemporary Pagan movement. On the basis of these influences the rites have been redacted.
The current era does not require secrecy, most of the information the GD possesses is available in any bookshop. Confidentiality, however, will be respected. Titles like ‘Greatly Honored’ are seen as ego inflating and thus dropped. Hierarchy in general is diminished. The GD is a voluntary association that holds no monopoly on the spiritual resources it carries. Authoritarian rule with its potential for punitive action has no place in a voluntary association. Rather, forms of democratic process should be followed whenever possible. Similarly, norms of courtesy should be used in addressing all members.
The Buddhadharma provides insight into the ritual and initiatory processes of the GD. As described in Pagan Dharma 1 & Pagan Dharma 2, we find value in taking refuge before ritual and dedicating the merit of our actions afterwards.
Thelema impacts the GD the most. The impetus for the core philosophical changes in the rites comes from the Thelemic Holy Books. Their impact is wide and divers, however, “Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the east at the Equinox of the Gods” raises some fundamental questions about the nature of the neophyte hall. One function of the OSOGD is to explore the ramifications of taking this verse seriously.
Our community is one of Pagans. We don’t have a friend in Jesus and YHVH specifically prohibits our existence. We therefore choose to exclude them both from our rites. We have a choice of Gods.
History and Method
There have been two major periods of redaction. In the Fall of 1989 and following, after the expulsion of this author from the Monastra/Cicero/Forest GD, a new order coalesced called the Heretical Order of the Golden Dawn. Drawing on the seminary education the author was undergoing at the time and the insights of his fellows, the author edited the entire series of GD rites from 0=0 to 5=6. Each of the rites were used and three adepts produced during this Order’s short existence.
A decade later, the Open Source Order came into being as described on the Het Nuit website. Under the direction of the Chief Adept a ritual committee was formed to study line by line the various versions of the rituals and produce a working version. The method is to have one person read for each of the sources, GD, SM, A&O, Heretical, etc. and one for the Cipher Manuscript. Taking the Cipher as cannon, the rites are compared, the best from each taken, the worst removed and as necessary replaced or supplemented with material from Thelemic, Buddhist, Pagan and other sources.
After appropriate testing the results of this redaction will be posted on the OSOGD website.
Some of the Specifics
The following is a list of the changes made in the Stella Matutina (SM) era script of the 0=0 ritual as published in the Llewllyn edition of the Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie.
- Aspirant. Since there is no test the ‘candidate’ can fail, the aspiration of the individual is emphasized.
- Refuge–For the reasons given in Pagan Dharma 1&2, we take refuge before we open the Hall
- Please assist me to open the Hall of the Neophytes. Sr./Fr. Kerux, please see that the Hall is properly guarded.–‘Please’ seems a more polite way to relate to the officers than ordering them about.
- Responses to officer speeches–After each officer declares their office, their God-form is invoked upon them to reinforce its presence.
- my ensign of office is a Feather-crowned scepter–The ecclesiastic miter head was offensive to us as Pagans. We put the feather there to better connect with Maat.
- Set in the west–Currently our best guess as to who replaces Horus as Hierus. In the days before the forcible unification of the Twin Lands (Egypt) Set stood at the prow of the Bark of Ra and defeats Apep in the darkest hour before the Dawn, permitting the Sun to rise. We reinstate Set as the Protector, redeeming him from the later Satanic associations. As the Twin of Horus He balances well in the west.
- RHK in the east–Rooted in the verse quoted above, we take seriously the Equinox of the Gods.
- “will you purify”–Again courtesy towards the officers. But also an opportunity to invoke their wills
- Adoration changes–Being Pagan, many of us are immediatists who see the divine as the same as the Universe. Being American, the notion of Lord makes no sense at all, and taking a non-dual view, Dark and Light come from the same source and have the same value.
- Lord of Initiation, silence & of strength–RHK is the Lord of Initiation, the Lord of Silence and of Strength. As the Aeonic Lord He is at the moment the “Lord of the Universe” but it is initiatory role that is relevant and so invoked here.
- Kerux starts knells–Taken from the Cipher Manuscripts. An experiment.
- Hiero: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law–Ultimately the authority for any action thelemically comes from doing ones will. We begin the initiation by invoking this principal.
- virtue of our ability to wield a current of initiation, response–We do not base our work on the authority someone grants us, rather, on our ability to do the work. Similarly, it is important that all present assent to the work, so they are asked.
- You who stand upon the threshold of this hall/Know that to enter herein is to undergo certain change!/Is it your will to enter?–This is a warning to the aspirant, one of several. The will of the aspirant is invoked for the first time.
- In thy Name, ____________, I purify with Water.–As an experiment, since the SM version of the ritual do not use the aspirant’s motto ever again in the ritual, we have been doing the purification and consecrations in the Aspirant’s Name/Motto as a reflection of their higher self in who’s name and on who’s behalf the rite is performed.
- The powers of Mercy and Severity have brought you to this place. Are you willing to take this supreme vow?/Asp: I am. Hiero: Fr Hiereus and Fr Hegemon, control the aspirant. (Hiereus, at the Aspirant’s left, places his sword on the nape of the Aspirant’s neck and Hegemon, at the Aspirant’s right, places her wand at the base of the Aspirant’s throat.)–The traditional placing of the sword at the nape of the Aspirant’s neck both indicates a punitive threat, which we have removed, and demands the immediate attention of the Aspirant, which we want. Our approach invokes the powers of mercy and severity that brings the aspirant to this juncture. On this basis the Aspirant is controlled and their attention to the proceedings is demanded by the instruments.
- Fear not at all.–Simply a better verse for the job.
- Prayer change: O Nuit! continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus…–This prayer invokes the Great Goddess who promises all in the Thelemic View and invokes the great creative verse in Liber AL.
- (Aspirant’s motto), we receive thee– Taken from the other redactions. An experiment.
- We will not regale you with lengthy explanations–We have chosen to remove the didactic material from the rite, placing the responsibility to learn it upon the aspirant.
- …the priest fell into a deep trance or swoon–We find this a suitable replacement for the above.
- ALL: Love is the law, love under will–Ultimately the goal for any action thelemically is to do love. We end the initiation by invoking this principal.
- Hiereus: Aum! All words are sacred and all prophets true–In accord with the principals stated above these next three speeches seem inappropriate. Therefore we have chosen the replacements as simply better verses for the job.
- Hiero: There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task.–Same
- Kerux: Saith Nuit: –Same
- Benediction move–Taken from the Cipher Manuscripts. An experiment.
- Merit–For the reasons given in Pagan Dharma 1&2, we dedicate the Merit after we close the Hall
Our current best guesses
If RHK is on the throne of Ra, is the Neophyte hall in the Hall of Great Truth, the judgment hall of Osirius, and the scene of the Weighing of the Heart?
The Weighing of the Heart provides:
- the scene in which Osirus presides
- a set of dramatis personae
- a metaphor for the change about to be engaged
One large problem with the Osirus motif is that it focuses on the Death side of the ‘Slain and Risen” formula. RHK is the crowned and conquering child, and thus focuses on the Birth and Life side. The Osirian Mystery says little about this: if you pass you go on to the nice Egyptian afterlife. That is all.
Also, the Osirian Mysteries existed in tension with and independently of the Solar mysteries of Ra. The images of Ra where those of the Journey in the Boat in the Duat, the Starry Abode, during which Ra is regenerated and from which Ra is reborn every day. The goal of the adherents of this tradition were to become of the Company of the Gods who travel with Ra in his Bark, being renewed with Him everyday.
In the Osirian Hall, the aspirant must know all the secrets of the Hall to pass by. However, joining the crew only a ship only requires a willingness to work. This seems more appropriate to a neophyte. Traveling in a boat through the night in hope of the Dawn seems an excellent description of the magickal learning process. Getting to do so in the company of other has many well-known benefits. Entering into that company would seem a good way to start a career