OSOGD Activities of November 2015

This past Saturday – November 7, 2015 – the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn held an earlier than usual Education Session and Neophyte Hall.

Frater HOSV conducted a stimulating workshop on Electional and Horary astrology. We were introduced to some core principles of both systems – touching on Al-Kindi, Agrippa, Iamblichus, and others – and everybody enjoyed learning about these different approaches to Western astrology.

Next up was dinner, most folks went for the Mexican (including a new place, and the Taco truck).

Then we set up for Hall, which started close to the usual 7:30. We initiated Frater LC – congratz, Frater! – into our merry ways, and he seems to have enjoyed it so far. The ceremony itself had more than several hiccups (including mine), but I’m sure these will be ironed out at our next Officer’s Training. At the end of Hall, during wine + food, an impromptu but thorough business meeting was held, in which we discussed the new increased dues structure, and various other things.

Additionally, the upcoming OSOGD video day was announced – November 21, 2pm @ Arcadia – so mark your calendars! It seems the program will include “Holy Mountain”, and possibly selections from Kenneth Anger’s “Magick Lantern Cycle”, along with a Donald Duck short.

And that’s the scoop,



OSOGD Activities of October 2015

On Saturday, October 17, 2015, the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn held its monthly gathering. Just the Educational Session + the Neophyte Hall, in stark contrast to September’s veritable explosion of activity, but much fun + profundity nonetheless.

Frater QES kicked off the day at 3:30 with an excellent talk in which he deconstructed the LBRP, giving historical + mathematical background material which greatly enriched everyone’s understanding of the Golden Dawn’s most fundamental (+ thus, perhaps, most important) ritual. Our Frater also gave an inspiring look at the process of working through Portal, and how it ties into the LBRP.

Then it was lunch at the Vietnamese place for the majority of attendees, where I ordered the Beef Stew and was underwhelmed, for the first time there.

Back to the Temple + we set up for Hall. We had one guest in attendance, who shall remain nameless, but whom everyone enjoyed meeting, + talking to, + who may become our next Neophyte Initiate. The Hall itself unfolded smoothly enough, but with some tiny hiccups (including by yours truly), as it was the first official Hall done by the new officers. But I’m sure next time will be completely smooth sailing! Meanwhile, we did an excellent group version of the Middle Pillar working + reaped the benefits of our collective mind, heart, and soul. Sadly, I missed most of the socializing afterward, but I suspect it was as lively as usual.

And that’s all he wrote,




Our San Francisco Ghost Hunt!

And a week later, on Saturday 9/26/15, some members of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn gathered for Jim Fassbinder’s “San Francisco Ghost Hunt”. Mr. Fassbinder is a regular(?) on the Travel Channel’s show “Haunted Hotels”, and he’s run the Ghost Hunt for the last 17 years. He was full of highly detailed stories about various ghosts in the area of Lower Pacific Heights where we were walking. The tour started at the Queen Anne Hotel, which has been notoriously haunted for the last century, or so. Perhaps the most startling phenomena we encountered was a “haunted key” turning on the palm of Sr. TS’s hand, and thus apparently without any trickery (this happened while we were paused in front of one of the haunted houses, from which our host seems to have procured a key to the door of the woman who was murdered…).

Anyway, lots of fun, + on a spectacular full moon night!

Special thanks to Fr. IP for arranging this event (as well as the dinner which preceded it, at a nearby sushi place)!



OSOGD Activities of September 2015

The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn had a lively Equinox weekend September 18 – 20.

Friday night, 9/18, we enjoyed an excellent dinner at Arkadia. The fabulous pasta, salads, + dessert were then followed by the OSOGD Talent Show. Some of our Order’s artisans displayed their creations: Sr. HKnA showed off her mystical jewelry; Sr. PEVV unfurled a delicious line of intricate weavings; and Fr. HOSV provided a selection of his handmade books for our perusal. And then, some of our Order members performed: Sr. R danced “The Sugarplum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker”; then, Sr. HKnA regaled us with a Scottish dance, “The Lilt”; Fr. QES followed with an a capella, + pagan, adaptation of “Locomotive Breath”, + a fine rendition of “Solsbury Hill”; Sr. TS then dazzled us all with her sensual, + sword-infused, belly-dancing; Fr. MSS was our entertaining MC for the evening, + additionally displayed strong guitar + vocal chops on his Led Zeppelin renditions; Sr. SN shared her ethnomusical talents (deftly accompanied by her husband Chris) by performing + singing the Sumatran Pants Dance, followed by “Shallow Brown”, a sea shanty call + response. And then, in a surprise, guest appearance, Fr. HWMK performed a haunting rendition of “The Long Black Veil”. In conclusion, our ad hoc iPhone orchestra jammed on interactive music apps, segueing from there into a general jam session also involving drums + guitars.

Much fun for all who attended.

Saturday, 9/19, we held a full day of Equinox activities at the Temple. At 11:00 AM, some of us gathered for coffee + pastries. At 12 Noon, we held our biannual Business Meeting, including reports from our Technipate and Grand Neophyte. At 1:00 PM we heard the State of the Order Address by our First Adept. At 3:00 PM we had a Mentor’s Meeting (addressing significant new features of the OSOGD educational process). At 5:00 PM, we had our Dinner Break, a 50-50 split between Mexican + Vietnamese. And finally, at 7:00 PM, we held our Autumnal Equinox Ritual, at which there was a drastic changing of the guard. In case you didn’t know, the incoming officers are:

Sentinel: Sr. TS
Dadouchos: Fr. CMS
Stolistes: Fr. IH
Kerux: Sr. PEVV
Hegemon: Fr. NNV
Hierus: Fr. SVP
Promagister Potissi: Sr. EUOM
Promagister Soli: Sr. LAAR

Finally, on Sunday 9/20, at Arkadia, Fr. QES hosted “an extended ritual to invoke Hermes Pantos Apolytos and activate His wrathful power to remove material and spiritual obstructions from our lives, based on the Tantric invocation” that he’s previously taught. This ritual was followed by dinner.

(+ there will probably be an update by someone who was there, on how things went)

Also, thanks for wading through a long blog entry, + I apologize for any mistakes I may have made in this humble report. Some editing might follow…



OSOGD Activities of August 2015

On Saturday, August 15, the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn met for its monthly convocation and education session. Plus, an advancement.

The day started around 12 noon with the Philosophus advancement of your truly, Fr. NNV. Of the elemental advancements, this is definitely the longest (almost 2.5 hrs), and perhaps most dramatic. I am grateful to my fellow Officers, Sorors and Fraters, for making this happen. Having the group energy, and within the Golden Dawn lineage, is what makes being a member of the OSOGD so special.

After a brief respite for lunch (several of us went to Wing Stop), Fr. HOSV once more conducted one of his informative and entertaining educational sessions. This time it was an analysis of the similarities and differences in the ritual structures of the four elemental advancements (Zelator 1=10, Theoricus 2=9, Practicus 3=8, Philosophus 4=7). Everyone in attendance (around 10 of us) enjoyed a bunch of “aha moments” about the consistent logic and flow of these ceremonies. Clearly an appropriate choice after the Philosophus ceremony, and preceding our new Neophyte initiation!

After a leisurely dinner break (where most seemed to visit the Taco Truck, and then return to the Temple to eat + hang out), we all set up for the Neophyte Hall. We would be initiating a new Neophyte, Sr. E (congratulations, Soror!) and we were honored, as well, with a guest from the pagan community. The Hall and the Initiation went quite smoothly, followed by wine and food afterwards in celebration.

And finally, our Founder and First Adept also announced our upcoming Equinox festivities, which should make next month’s blog post all the merrier, and lengthier!

-Fr. NNV


OSOGD Activities of July 2015

On Saturday, 7/18/15, the OSOGD met once again for its monthly day/night of activities. Our program was another Educational Session, and then a Neophyte Hall, as we are wont to do.

Fr. HOSV again conducted the Educational Session, this time a class devoted to practicing and honing our ritual gestures. He started out by recounting how helpful his college Aikido classes have been in getting physically connected with these. Next, we each performed our version of a given gesture in front of the class, and received useful and humorous feedback from all Fraters + Sorors in the room. We covered a range of things, including: Standing, the Qabalistic Cross, Pentagrams, Sign(s) of the Enterer and of Silence, Signs made while circumambulating, Breathing, and, lastly, Voice Intonation for the QC.

Afterwards, half of us went Vietnamese for dinner, and there enjoyed some brainstorming over Pantheacon presentation ideas.

We then returned to the Temple and set up for Hall. Our working that night was an Invocation of the Choir of the Chayot ha’Qodesh, the angels present in Kether. The working seemed just as successful as our last invocation had been (for the Ophanim, in Chokmah). A number of people reported significant visions, a couple of those being (remarkably) quite similar to each other.

Afterwards, another fabulous bout of eating, drinking, and socializing ensued, before we had to call it quits for the evening.



OSOGD Activities of June 2015

On Saturday, 6/20/15, the OSOGD convened for its monthly day/night of activities. Our program was the Educational Session @ 3:30pm, followed by a dinner break, and then the Neophyte Hall @ 7:30pm.

Fr. HOSV conducted the Educational Session, giving an excellent presentation on Geomancy. His talk thoroughly covered the basics (figures, meanings, and 1-/3-figure readings) of this arcane topic. Additionally, our Frater presented his inital forays into an original technique for linking Geomancy and I-Ching to produce potentially more revealing divinations. My favorite part of the talk was his analysis of the Golden Dawn’s geomantic talismans – 1 or 2 of which we use in one of our elemental advancements – and their similarity to Icelandic Rune Staves.

Afterwards, everyone visited the Taco Truck, and brought dinner back to the Temple, where we ate and hung out until we began setting up for the Neophyte Hall around 6:30.

This month’s Hall, in the absence of any new initiations, featured an offering ritual centered around some key prayers of our Order. Much chanting and circumambulating was performed in the ritual, and afterwards our group consensus was that we had succeeded in the goals we’d set out for the ritual. Our efforts also coincided with the beginning of the Summer Solstice, bringing extra energy to our working.

After Hall we enjoyed our usual wine, food, and socializing, before packing it all up + leaving just before midnight!



OSOGD Activities of May 2015

On Saturday, 5/16/15, members of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn convened for our monthly Educational Session and Neophyte Hall. Additionally, we had a grade advancement, so our day started earlier than usual.

At 12 noon, some members arrived early to set up the Hall for Sr. PEVV’s Theoricus advancement.

Once the Hall was properly disposed, the ceremony began at 12:30. Soror PEVV acquitted herself admirably in an hour-long ritual, and at the end we all felt excited about our Soror’s advancement, one step closer to our goal of helping all members to become adepts (if, of course, that’s what they want).

Next, we took a lunch break, mostly hitting the local Taco Truck, and then returning to the Temple to eat, talk, ruminate, and to catch up on our PDAs.

At 3 pm, we had an outstanding educational session from Fr. MSS on the I-Ching, something he has studied and practiced for over two decades. Frater MSS, and others, brought in about 25 different books on the I-Ching, which we all had a chance to peruse during and after his stimulating lecture.

He examined the Oracle’s origins, in addition to its basic structure, and some of its potential magickal uses. He also brought in some different I-Ching Oracle sticks, in addition to the traditional Chinese coins.

We all then decided to do a reading for our Order. Using the coins, we first asked the Oracle aloud: “What do we, as an Order, need to know today?” before casting a hexagram on the Temple altar and receiving a profoundly relevant response:

Hexagram 35 (Advance/Prospering), changing into Hexagram 40 (Liberation/Deliverance), as pictured above. Fr. MSS, and Fr. VCP (who turns out to be another advanced I-Ching user), did a thorough tag-team interpretation of our results, reading from several of the tomes and integrating the results on the fly. At the end, everyone seemed to feel inspired to check out the Oracle on their own.

(I know that, since the talk, I’ve been using and enjoying the Oracle a lot, right after I purchased the two excellent translations by Swami Anand Nisarg, and Taoist Master Alfred Huang.)

Next we broke for dinner, and most of us ended up at our favorite, local, Vietnamese joint. Here, we enjoyed a lively conversation over dinner which touched on various topics, including the I-Ching, and Qabalah.

We returned from dinner an hour later, and set up the Temple for the Neophyte Hall. We would be initiating a new member, Fr. FR. We also had two visitors from the pagan community, who were checking us out. We got the Temple ready by 7:30ish, and proceeded to perform a smooth ceremony and initiation, bringing our new Frater into the “fold”.

Afterwards, we all enjoyed our customary “social hour(s)” at the Temple over wine and food. Then, around 11:30, we broke everything down, cleaned up the room, and left for the night.

All in all, another fun, informative, and spiritually enriching day for everyone who attended.



When thinking about Theurgy and the Golden Dawn

Iamblichus_ChalcidensisFor the past several years I have been working on a doctorate in history about the Golden Dawn and theurgy. This early, lighthearted essay shows some of the connections I found and have been writing about. For your enjoyment…

Our criteria in place, we may now essay a developmental history of the systems of operative theurgic practice from Iamblichus to the Golden Dawn. A brief and playful outline of our subjects follows below.

Observing the time scale over which this study operates shows certain clusters of activity and paragons of their eras. Iamblichus clearly formulates the operative theurgy we will be examining. He draws from Plotinus, Porphyry, and the Julianii, and builds upon the foundation of the Platonic tradition, to form his paradigm. Proclus and others will inherit and adapt it, but this lets us focus on the Soter Hellenes and develop our archetype of operative theurgy.

Renaissance theurgy is the product of several hands but Ficino towers above them all as the translator of Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, the Hermetica, the Orphica, and especially Iamblichus, giving us the name of his largest surviving text, “On the Mysteries”. But Pico will change the character of western theurgy and esotericism in general by introducing the Jewish Kabbalah. Trithemius will teach us to conjure spirits, while advancing cryptography. Agrippa will fuse his predecessors’ work into a encyclopedic system, to which the doctor Paracelsus will wed alchemy while founding modern medicine. Bruno will burn for dreaming of a bigger world and a restored Pagan one.

As the modern age dawns with Luther’s hammer blow, Dee, Maier, and Fludd will enrich, develop and promulgate operative theurgy. The myth of the Rosicrucians will fire the imagination of Europe, while the (pre-Blavatski)Theosophists chart heaven and hell. Elias Ashmole will participate in saving the esoteric dimension of the stonecutters’ guild and be present at the birth of Freemasonry. The Masonic Lodges will be the crucible from which will emerge the occult orders: the Gold and Rosy Cross, the Illuminates of Avignon, the Martinists, the SRIA, while Mesmer and the Royal Society look on in mutual dismay and wonderment. The Spiritualists will remember how to speak for the non-physicals.

Finally, we will end with the secret love child of Eliphas Levi and Madam Blavatski, the daughter of all those who had gone before, discovered as a foundling in the Library of the British Museum by MacGregor Mathers, swaddled in Rosicrucian patents by Winn Westcott, and delivered her legacy by Dr. Woodman: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She will in her turn give birth to the Modern Pagan Movement, witches and wizards by the dozens if not millions, when thinking she was dead, a young scribe showed her unveiled to the world.

From the Poimandres

HERMES TRISMEGISTUS.1as translated by John Everard, 1650

My Thoughts being once seriously busied about the things that are, and my Understanding lifted up, all my bodily Senses being exceedingly holden back, as it is with them that are very heavy of sleep, by reason either of fulness of meat, or of bodily labour.

Me thought I saw one of an exceeding great stature, and an infinite greatness call me by my name, and say unto me, “What wouldest thou Hear and See? or what wouldest thou Understand, to Learn, and Know!”

Then said I, ” Who art Thou?”

“I am,” quoth he, “Poemander, the mind of the Great Lord, the most Mighty and absolute Emperor: I know what thou wouldest have, and I am always present with thee.”

Then said I, “I would Learn the Things that art, and Understand the Nature of them and know God.” “How?” said he. I answered, “That I would gladly hear.”

Then he, “Have me again in thy mind, and whatsoever thou wouldst learn, I will teach thee.”