Open letter from John Michael Greer to the Golden Dawn community

Hermetic Library fellow John Michael Greer, and co-editor of the archived Caduceus: The Hermetic Quarterly, has sent out an open letter about a forthcoming new edition of Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, as published by Llewellyn.

For those in the Golden Dawn Community:

Avete Fratres et Sorores!

I would like to pass on some important news to the members of the Golden Dawn community, and to ask for the assistance of my fratres and sorores in a project that may make a positive difference for the future of our common tradition. Llewellyn Publications, the copyright holders of Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn, has started the process of preparing a new, seventh edition of that deservedly famous book. As most of you are well aware, the currently available sixth edition has had more than its share of problems – an abundance of typos and other errors introduced during the process of scanning and editing the original text, some serious omissions of material, and more – and this came on top of a range of problems with the original text, some dating back to its writing and first publication, others introduced since then.

In order to fix these problems – and avoid adding any more! – the staff at Llewellyn decided to contract with a writer/editor who was already familiar with the tradition, rather than doing the editing in-house. When they offered me the contract, I accepted on the understanding that I would be consulting with other practitioners of the tradition to make the new seventh edition the definitive version of this classic work. While I have been a student of the Golden Dawn work since 1976, I am well aware that there are many others in the Golden Dawn community whose experience with the tradition goes far beyond mine. Furthermore, beyond all questions of copyright law, The Golden Dawn belongs in a very real sense to all those who have studied it, worked with it,and made the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn a central part of their lives; it seems to me that a project such as this would best be done, not by an individual, but by the whole community. I would therefore like to ask your help with this project.

This is what I have in mind.

First and foremost, all the typos and errors introduced into the text need to be located and fixed. There are a great many of them, and no one person’s eyes are likely to spot them all. I would therefore like to ask all those who are willing to do so, to list all the typos and errors they can find, noting their location by page and line number.

Please use the sixth edition (the currently available large black paperback), since the electronic files of this edition are the raw material I will be using as a starting point for the editorial work. The lists, and all other material,may be sent to the email address that follows.

Second, anything that was left out of the sixth edition needs to be identified and replaced. This will require carefully comparing the text, page by page, between the current edition and the older versions.

Third, all passages in Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, and Enochian need to be checked for spelling and accuracy by people familiar with those languages, and any necessary corrections made. All astrological, elemental, alchemical, and other symbols also have to be checked and, where necessary, corrected.

Fourth, the stage directions in the rituals need to be checked by those who have experience performing them. There have been repeated claims that officers are put in the wrong places, change position without explanation, and so on. All notes on staging the rituals therefore need to be reviewed and, where necessary, corrected.

Fifth, all the diagrams and images need to be gone over carefully, all errors identified and all corrections indicated. This includes checking and correcting the Hebrew and other non-English alphabets in the diagrams. Current plans are to have all the art from the book redone by a capable artist familiar with the tradition, so corrections here need to be suggested as soon as possible.

Sixth, I have been given a certain amount of ‘wiggle room’ to add new material to the book. I plan on doing so very sparingly – an improved and expanded index, and a briefly annotated bibliography of worthwhile books for students of the Golden Dawn tradition, are the two additions I have primarily in mind. Still, I would be willing to listen to proposals for the addition of short essays in the text where that would be helpful to students.

Seventh, and most controversially, I would like to check Regardie’s text against copies of the original Golden Dawn rituals and knowledge lectures. I understand that many of those who have such copies keep them tightly locked in their filing cabinets; still, to make this the definitive edition of The Golden Dawn, referring back to the original source material is an essential step. I would therefore like to ask members of the community who have any of these documents to consider scanning or photocopying the material they have, and allowing me to use the copies as references in the editorial process. Any materials so lent will remain unpublished, and I am entirely willing to abide by any restrictions on the use or distribution of such documents as the lender may find necessary. The point of this request is not to raid anybody’s files; it is simply to make sure that, as far as possible, the lectures and rituals in The Golden Dawn are an accurate copy of the material originally circulated in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

I am aware that not everyone in the Golden Dawn community will be interested in participating in the revision process, and that not everyone who is interested will have the time to do so. Furthermore, I can offer in return only my own heartfelt gratitude, and a published acknowledgment, in the seventh edition, to each frater or soror, each temple, and each order that contributes to this work. That being said, I hope that as many of you as possible will be willing to help make the new seventh edition a milestone in the history of the Golden Dawn tradition. I have set up an email address specifically for this project at [email protected] – please use this for all correspondence related to the seventh edition. In terms of the time frame forthis project, I plan on beginning the editing process in January of 2013, and the completed manuscript is due on the Spring Equinox of 2014.

Sub umbra alarum tuarum, YHVH —

Frater GME (John Michael Greer)


2 thoughts on “Open letter from John Michael Greer to the Golden Dawn community

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