In a recent exchange of posts, the good Fraters Dean Wilson and Nick Farrell, two of the grand total of five Golden Dawn members I know and/or respect (the rest of the GD folk make me queasy when they start going on about how the LBRP is a really deep ritual) are having a discussion about their costumes they wear when they do rituals.
It seems that there are a lot of potential layers to a GD ritual costume. When they dress up and do magic, there are robes that go with certain offices, and in addition to these they have sashes they wear that indicate their grades within the order. These two magicians (again, two of the five GD folk I respect) are discussing the wearing of the Grade Sash during an initiation. Nick is against the idea, and Dean agrees, listing several good reasons not to wear the grade sash during an initiation. They all look good to me. If I were leading a GD order, there would be no sash wearing during initiations.
Ok, that said...
Do they get badges to sew on their sashes? Do they get special badges if they sell the most cookies in the Order? If they collect one of every badge, do they turn into the superhero known as the Mighty Bee!?
Which brings me to my main point: Item number 5 of Dean's list indicates that "Sashes and grades are notorious for inflating the ego..." How in the living fuck is that possible? I'd be MORTIFIED to be seen in wearing that silly getup. You're a grown man (or woman) playing dress-up! And you're going to let your COSTUME give you an ego problem that will somehow klooge up the "energies" of the initiation?
Disastrous consequences, my friends, disastrous indeed.
Speaking of GD folks that I respect, I haven't made much mention of one of my favorite recent additions to the list of blogs that I follow. The fellow's name is Fr. AIT, and he's got a blog where he discusses his magical pursuits.
Most of my regular readers know that teasing the GD about their sashes is the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to my feelings of that particular interpretation of the Great Work. Years ago, I had an outright hostility and vehement animosity towards the organization, a seething contempt brought on by the antics of the outer heads of the EOGD, the HOGD, and Toth-Hermes 2.
This only began to change after I learned that a traditional grimoiric magician that I respect deeply also happens to be a leader of a Golden Dawn order. He was the first GD person I knew who wasn't an absolute dick the majority of the time. Hardly ever, in fact. Since then, I've met a (very select) few others, and have slowly grown to accept that for some people, the Golden Dawn is a useful path that produces true spiritual transformation.
Fr. AIT is one of these fellows. I found his blog a few months ago, and his experiences in the spheres paralleled my own. He was reporting results completely in harmony with what I find in the Seven Heavens when I do the Work. He was actually DOING the MAGIC of the Great Work, and it was effective, even with the hexagrams, pentagrams, and Kircher Tree of Life they use. So I've been reading with interest as he talks about the things he does.
Today, he posted a neat article about the New Moon, and I figured out what it is about the magicians I respect who are GD. They do practical magic in addition to their Grade Work. They aren't afraid of their magic. It's not all in their heads. They didn't read the Kybalion and decide that it's all mental psychological therapy in ritual form, they actually expect their magic to aid them in changing the universe according to their will.
His blog is called Heavens Under Earth, and it's a good read.
The other GD members I respect don't, for the most part, post their affiliations or grades online. They're embarrassed by the antics of the more public personalities that represent their order, but they are compassionate in their judgment. I won't list them because it's their call to let people know their affiliations if they're interested.