Thursday, April 22, 2010

Excerpts From The Book Secrets Of A Witches Coven

Excerpts From The Book Secrets Of A Witches Coven Image
The Golden Dawn

(Taken from the Book "Secrets of a Witches Coven" by Morwyn)

...During the same time, ceremonial magic, which followed
the patterns of ficino, Mirandola, the Roscrucians, and the
Freemasons, was evolving. Alphonse Louise Constant (1810-
), better known by his nome de plume Eliphas Levi, was a
magician who borrowed from treatuses dating back to
Paracelsus. Trained as a preist but never ordained, he
attempted to reconcile religeon, science, and mysticism in
his writings. He proposed that the adept could receive
spiritual teachings from a high plane by tapping into what
he called the "astral light of divine power" by force of
will. He was also the first to connect the twenty-two
trumps of the major Arcana of the tarot with the Qabalistic
Tree of Life. Levi's influence on end-of-the-century
magicians was immense. Some people believe that Aleister
Crowly was his reincarnation, since Crowley was born shortly
after Levi died.

Levi's works, which have been translated by A.E. Waite,
reveal a highly imaginative interpretation of magic, so his
claims should be taken with a grain of salt. Among Levi's
books are The Great Secret, This History of Magic, and The
Book of Splendors.

Another magician who contributed to the enrichment of the
tarot was Gerard Encausse, better known as Papus. Author of
the celebrated book The Tarot of the Bohemians, he became
chief of the order of the Rose-Croix, which was founded in
France as an hermetic organization. Papus equated the Tarot
with the Bible and posited that an entire system of
metaphysical knowledge was contained within the cards that
sythesized the teachings of many cultures. This view of the
Tarot is still held widely today, and magicians and Witches
meditate upon the cards to tap this knowledge, as well as
using tarot for divination. Papus influenced the works of
Oswald Wirth, a key occult figure of the twentieth century.

Both Levi and Papus fired the imaginationss of budding
occultists all over europe and America. Here their
doctrines were disseminated by Albert Pike and Emma
Hardinge-Britten. Englishmen inspired by Levi and Papus
include Francis Barret, whose book The Magus is a classic
work in the field, and Kennith Mackenzie.

Mackenzie had a friend whom he had entrusted a cipher
manuscript for safe keeping. Mackenzie died, his friend
died, and a clergyman friend of the friend discovered the
manuscript. The clergyman in turn, passed on the manuscript
to Dr. Wynn Westcott, who, with the help of his friend, S.L.
MacGregor Mathers, deciphered it. On the basis of these
papers and other researchers, the two men founded the Isis-
Urania Temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in
March 1888.

Wynn Westcott (1848-1925) was a London coroner and friend of
Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, and the Christian mystic, Anna
Kingsford. He had also read extensively the works of Levi
and the alchemists. S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1854-1918), a
London commercial clerk, was a friend of Westcott's and
shared his absorption in the occult. He studied Egyptology
and other magical systems, including most of those touched
upon in this brief history, and sythesized them with the
Mackenzie manuscript into the basic tenets of their new
occult fraternity. For awhile the leaders claimed to have
received their teachings and permission to found a new order
from German Rosicurcian adept named Anna Sprengel. But
these allegations proved false. The rites and rituals of
the Golden Dawn owe their genesis to the geniuses of
Westcott and Mathers.

Various branches were established in London, Paris, and
Edinburgh. However these organizations were plequed with
internal disputes and the Order eventually dissolved. Some
believe that the disintegration occured because the
initiates did not take care to protect themselves
sufficiently from the powerful influences they invoked.
According to Gareth Knight, Gerald Yorke, an author who
wrote a history of the order declared that the protective
training that failed to be assimilated by the initiates was:

"the assumption that man has fallen from a condition of
orinal grace which can only be remedied by a re-orientation
of the will, in repentance and reconciliation, with God.
Although lip service was given to this in certain teachings
of the Golden Dawn there was unfortunately, a general and
stronger tacit assumption that members of the Order were
somewhat superior to the rest of the human race, and by
virtue of secret ceremonies, knowledge and practices could
elevate themselves to be considerably more superior."

The importance of the Golden Dawn, besides teaching by
example this lesson in human nature, is that the Order
inspired many twentieth century occultists and thus played a
significant role in the magical evolution of the present
occult revival. Interest in the teachings of the Golden
Dawn has never flagged.

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