Mike’s Prattle


Some thoughts on the GD, Christianity and such

Posted by Mike on April 5, 2012

Unlike a lot of occultists who join groups or have like-minded friends who share the interest, I managed to find the Golden Dawn on my own. Like a lot of occultists, I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment and when it comes to family and circle, I’m still occasionally placed in the middle of a table of a dozen people screaming for Obama’s head and thinking everything outside of a narrow Calvinist framework is part of a mega Satanic conspiracy. In fact I can look back over the last ten years and see a gradual evolution of how I’ve had to deal with this. This has drifted from a need to assert my individuality to a much more gentle approach.

I was reading Nick’s great post here and really resonated with the part about not being blighted by Christianity. In fact when I started the practical work of the Golden Dawn I felt like a lot of my early experiences were understanding the bible through a hermetic paradigm. I remember one beautiful early vision via a meditation of the crucifixion. Most of my life I understood it as a symbol of Christ wiping away the sins of the world, but it was via the hermetic paradigm that I “knew” this was also about bringing the light of the One down to the physical world.

At this point I went back to the bible and started reading it with different eyes. This is essentially what removed the hold that literalist theology had over me. I remember vividly struggling with it and then one day that struggle was over. For me it was reading Aleister Crowley’s little duality parable on Jesus and Satan, it was perhaps the first moment of many understanding how deep the doctrine of separation goes.

I didn’t go directly from a fundamentalist mindset to a hermetic one though, in fact I came to the Golden Dawn because of what I see as a scientific approach to spiritual issues, it was actually more a result of atheism. Perhaps it’s this reason why the minds in the Golden Dawn I’m most sympathetic to are the ones seeking to improve and develop the system from within, it just strikes me as good science.

I mentioned in my previous post the “you’re not doing it right” meme that flies around magical circles. I’d like to see this move slightly to “you could be doing it better” because I think it says the same thing a little more accurately without the overtones of dismissiveness and with a great deal more encouragement. Anyone can pick up a book and start practicing an LBRP, but it’s in the practice itself where one realizes how many submechanics are involved, how many facets of the process can be fine tuned to be more effective (Peregrin Wildoak’s new By Names and Images has lots of good stuff where all this is concerned, it’s already helped me improve my work).

This is true for the whole system as well. I’m not in the Golden Dawn to sacrifice my beliefs and conscience to another father figure or so I have a new corpus to go evangelize about. I’m not asked about the GD very often but when I am I tend to be discouraging, and I’m discouraging because it works. I remember being at the front end of this and literally having trepidation over doing my first ritual. It was a long time ago, but I’ve never forgotten I used to have that mindset. Even convincing someone to take up meditation for five minutes a day as a starter comes with the “you’ll be surprised how hard it is to keep that up.”

Usually someone just wants a quick fix, but I generally recommend if things are bad enough to need a fix that seeing a therapist is a much better idea. The divinity you awake in a hermetic process isn’t a theory or a new agey feel-good sense of euphoria or a cosmic pat on the back. One doesn’t react to this by all of a sudden floating a few feet over the ground in a lotus position which in my experience seems to be most people’s idea of the “mystic guru.” It can be very painful and life shattering to the point where you wonder what’s actually holding it all together.

When something is real, you get to a point where you have increasing confidence in that reality. This confidence makes it a lot easier when some well meaning  fundamentalist friend or family member starts to get anxiety over whether your box is checked saved or not saved. The last discussion I had like this I just listened until it ran out and amused myself with thoughts of a fundamentalist Golden Dawn where you were hellbound unless you did your LBRPs every day.


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