Category Archives: The Golden Dawn Library Project

The Last Scabbard

The librarian John Griogair Bell reviews The Last Scabbard by Josephine McCarthy.

Josephine McCarthy The Last Scabbard

Josephine McCarthy is the author of a number of non-fiction esoteric volumes and is one of the people behind Quareia, an online school which presumably follows a similar curriculum to her three-part Magical Knowledge book series, but this is a fictional story set primarily around two periods, the founding of the first temples of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the present day, with a few bits of action set in other periods. The common thread is provided by the ancient artefacts involved which include the sword Caliburn, also known as Excalibur, and the Stone of Scone, also called Stone of Destiny, and the so-called scabbard.

Without a doubt the Golden Dawn gets short shrift again, this time as a group of foolish men who perform a ritual beyond themselves which creates a problem that ripples through time. Interesting there’s only one woman of the Golden Dawn mentioned, and then not even by name; perhaps this is a useful conceit since the foolishness of the ritual choice is posited as gender specific. But, really, can’t the Golden Dawn get a break? Canonically, the order didn’t last long, but like the Roman Empire, it continued in various forms long past its supposed demise; and I personally always come back to Mark K Greer’s The Women of the Golden Dawn with the overall impression that our spiritual Aunts of the Golden Dawn were very much involved in the order’s founding, successful operation and broad pervasive legacy.

Have you ever seen pictures of the Stone of Scone, whether you believe the images are of the actual stone or a replica? It’s giant. It weighs over 300 pounds as it appears today. So, I think you’ll understand when I choked a bit on the notion in this book that the main character held the stone for any extended period of time, let alone lifted it at all. Further, the main character, a trained specialist from the British Museum, finds herself in possession of the apparently authentic and original stone, one of the most famous objects in the history of the UK, and then proceeds to leave it in a hotel room, unattended or guarded, for hours while out for a walk. Seriously? Nope. Not even slightly believable. Denied.

The emotional life of the characters in this story could easily inspire a drinking game. If you want a game guaranteed to get you trashed by the end, then drink any time a character blushes or raises their eyebrows, without any other emotional content conveyed.

However, I’m a sucker for fictional accounts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which may also be of interest you. And, if you enjoy historical fantasy, such as The Mists of Avalon, then you might enjoy this tale, if you can avoid stumbling on some of the rough spots.
[via]

Adept Magic in the Golden Dawn Tradition

Adept Magic in the Golden Dawn Tradition by Frater YShY, preface by Sandra Tabatha Cicero, foreword by Samuel Scarborough, from Kerubim Press, hardcover available directly from the publisher, paperback due for wide release in September, may be of interest.

Frater YShY Adept Magic in the Golden Dawn Tradition from Kerubim Press

“Within this tome are the secret instructional papers of a modern Golden Dawn order. The first half of the book contains an advanced exegesis of the Neophyte Ceremony using Lurianic Kabbalah, Freemasonry, modern Wicca and Greek mythology. The second half includes the author’s own application of the same magical formulae in his personal rituals. Among these are an example of his fusion of evocation and classical statue Theurgy, a careful interpretation and re-contextualisation of the Adept invisibility formula with new advanced visualizations, a Shamanic-style transformation ritual, and a higher genius or ‘higher self’ working that the author personally conducted over many years.” [via]

“Preface by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero
Foreword by Samuel Scarborough
Introduction by Frater YShY
Chapter One: Zeta 1, Sephirotic Attributions to the Neophyte Hall
Chapter Two: Zeta 2, Planetary Attributions to the Neophyte Hall
Chapter Three: Zeta 3, Three Principal Officers
Chapter Four: Zeta 4, The Four Elements at the Equinox and Neophyte Ceremonies
Chapter Five: Zeta 5, Neophyte God-forms
Chapter Six: Zeta 6, The Hierophant’s Speech From the Throne
Chapter Seven: Zeta 7, The Seven Floor Officers as the Seven Planets
Chapter Eight: Zeta 8, The Zodiac and the Wheel of the Year
Chapter Nine: Zeta 9, Violence, Hazing and Power Struggles in Masonic and Magical Ritual
Chapter Ten: Zeta 10, The Ten Sephiroth Combined in Seven Palaces in the Neophyte Hall
Chapter Eleven: Solitary Z2 Workings
Z2 Yod: Planetary Evocation Ritual
Z2 Shin of Aleph: Invisibility Ritual
Z2 Shin of Mem: Transformation Ritual
Z2 Shin of Shin: Gathering the Divine Sparks, a Spiritual Development Ritual” [via]

Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries

Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries by Pat Zalewski, edited by Darcy Küntz, from the Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Pat Zalewski Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries

“This is not another beginner book on Magick that so many large publishing houses tend to print. This book was designed for the intermediate and advanced practitioner of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Pat Zalewski was fortunate enough to work with original members of the Stella Matutina and was taught the inner secrets of the Adepts. Now for the first time, these secrets are being published so that those who could benefit from this knowledge will learn as Zalewski had done with his mentor, Jack Taylor. Also being released for the first time is the connection between the Admission Badges and the Temple floor diagrams. Zalewski also discusses in-depth the God-form assumption techniques he learned. Many significant lessons are contained in this book that you will not get from any other source.” — Darcy Küntz, back cover

The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn: The Letters of the Revd W. A. Ayton to F. L. Gardner and Others 1886-1905 edited by Ellic Howe, part of the Roots of the Golden Dawn Series.

Ellic Howe The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn

This book edited by Ellic Howe is a sort of addendum to his Magicians of the Golden Dawn, and it publishes correspondence from the Yorke collection (and others) authored by the senior G.D. adept W.A. Ayton. The greatest body of letters are all addressed to F.L. Gardner, a younger magician for whom Ayton served as an alchemical mentor. Ayton and his wife were as active in the G.D. as they could be, considering their advanced years and residence in rural Chacombe, where Ayton served as vicar. Ayton had been a member of the H.B. of L., and (according to him) was instrumental in its discrediting. He appears to have accepted the mythopoeic “Rosicrucian” lineage of Westcott’s G.D. whole cloth, and to have contributed the authority of his years and researches to its inner order. Both Ayton and Gardner were active in connection with the Theosophical Society during Blavatsky’s London period in the late 1880s.

Ayton’s principal esoteric interest was alchemy, and much of the correspondence is concerned with the lending and copying of secret manuscripts on this topic. The interest was not confined to armchair study, however, and Howe reports that the Reverend Ayton maintained a laboratory in the basement of the vicarage (to avoid detection by the bishop!). There are secondary accounts provided from W.B. Yeats that Ayton had lost to inefficient storage a supply of the Elixir of Life (11), and later “made what he hopes is the Elixir of Life. If the rabbit on whom he is trying it survives, we are all to drink a noggin full — at least those of us whose longevity he feels he could encourage” (109).

Throughout Ayton’s letters to Gardner, there are anxious and adverse references to the B.B., which is evidently the “Black Brotherhood.” Howe is convinced, and repeatedly informs the reader, that “B.B.” refers to the Jesuits, and it may be that denotation that Ayton had in mind. However, I consider it something of an open question on the evidence supplied in the volume. Granted, Atyon is otherwise worried about “Papists,” and his 1904 and 1905 letters refer simply to the ill influence of “Jesuits,” without mentioning B.B. Still, the Jesuits could be subservient to a larger B.B., as they certainly are in some conceptions of esoteric politics. At the end of 1892, Ayton wrote to Gardner, “I congratulate you on obtaining the valuable work on B.B. Do not think I underestimate getting knowledge about their doings … They are plotting all the time” (73).

Howe is notable for a lack of sympathy to the objects of his study, frequently deriding their interests and engagements. The fact that he “cannot fathom” the reasons that Bulwer-Lytton’s Zanoni was attractive to 19th-century English occultists shows his singular lack of imagination. There also is a peculiar almost-apology in response to Gerald Suster, whose contribution to the Falcon Press What You Should Know about the Golden Dawn was a rebuke to Howe regarding the value of magical practice (80). He has done a fine job of collecting these primary materials, in any case, and anyone with an interest in Victorian occultism can profit by this quick and entertaining read. [via]

Weiser Antiquarian new arrivals, including a Book of the Law from 1938

Weiser Antiquarian Books has posted a number of new arrivals, including a Book of the Law privately issued by O.T.O. in London from 1938, as well as other items of interest such as A E Koetting’s The Book of Azazel, Alexander Winfield Dray’s Nox Infernus and Liber Obsidian Obscura, Sabbatica compiled by Edgar Kerval, Liber Nigri Solis edited by Victor Voronov, Michael Cecchetelli’s Crossed Keys, Nigel Pennick’s The Toadman, and a number of Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Jack Parsons, Kenneth Grant, Austin Osman Spare, and Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn related works as well as others of probable interest.

Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #116 Israel Regardie and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Used and Rare Books

You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #116 Israel Regardie and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Used and Rare Books.

“The majority of the books are from the library of a well-known English book-collector who is downsizing due to chronic lack of shelf (and floor) space. The collection includes most of the standard studies of the Golden Dawn, historical, theoretical and practical, by a variety of well known authors including R. A. Gilbert, Ellic Howe, R. A. Torrens, Chic & Tabatha Cicero, Darcy Kuntz, Pat Zalewski, and others, as well as various works by members of the original Order. Aside from mostly being in pristine condition, the books are distinguished by the fact that many are signed or inscribed by their authors or editors.

The catalogues also include a good selection of works by Israel Regardie, whose experience with the Stella Matutina led to the publication of his landmark compilation, The Golden Dawn, An Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, (4 Volumes — 1937–1940), since republished in a variety of different forms and formats. The current catalogue includes a number of books that are signed or inscribed by Israel Regardie including an extraordinary association set of the First Edition of The Golden Dawn, with each volume personally inscribed by Regardie to author and psychical researcher Hereward Carrington and including an additional handwritten note by Regardie. Other Regardie rarities include a copy of his The Enochian Dictionary (Circa 1971?) — which is without doubt one of the earliest of the modern Enochian research publications — and the seldom-seen first edition of The Art of True Healing. A Treatise on the Mechanism Prayer, and the Operation of the Law of Attraction in Nature (1937). As is well known Regardie for some time practised as a chiropractor and psychologist (P. R. Stephensen once unkindly termed him a “quack psychiatrist”) and two of the rarer items are pamphlets relating to this aspect of his career: Cry Havoc (1952), a study of the pitfalls of psychology, psychotherapy, and chiropractic; and the (by modern standards) rather chilling Analysis of a Homosexual (1949), a work in which Regardie recounts the case history of a patient whom he claims to have successfully “cured” of homosexuality.

The catalogue opens with a work called Springtime Two (1958). This anthology of poetry and prose by important avant-garde authors of the time is listed here as it includes the first publication of extracts from Ithell Colquhoun’s then-unpublished occult novel Goose of Hermogenes, her original poems: “Elegy on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, “Epithalamium”, and “Little Poems from Cyprus”, as well as some translations from French. We were able to secure a few copies of the book that had been in storage for a number of years, but these will almost certainly not last long. As always there are also a number of rarities scattered throughout the catalogue which include: an Edition de Luxe of L. A. Bosman’s, The Mysteries Of The Qabalah (1913?), inscribed by Alvin Langdon Coburn, a first printing of the W. Wynn Westcott edition of Eliphas Levi’s The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum interpreted by the Tarot Trumps (1896), and a number of issues of A. Greville-Gascoigne’s The Golden Dawn Magazine (1939-1941), which included contributions by Israel Regardie and others.” [via]

The Battle of Blythe Road

The Battle of Blythe Road: A Golden Dawn Affair: Aleister Crowley and the Revolt of the Adepti edited and introduced by Darcy Kuntz, with material on and from Aleister Crowley, William Wynn Westcott, William Butler Yeats, Florence Farr and more from a pivotal moment for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Western esotericism as a whole, Vol 14 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2005 second edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Darcy Kuntz The Battle of Blythe Road

“The history of the magical battle that Crowley ignited so he could win control of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn. Included are a number of the official documents that were issued as fallout from the events and excerpts from Crowley’s diary from that period.” [via]

The Serpent Myth

The Serpent Myth by William Wynn Westcott and Arthur Edward Waite, edited by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 9 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2006 third revised and enhanced edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

William Wynn Westcott Arthur Edward Waite The Serpent Myth

“An excellent treatise on this ancient symbol from the inner knowledge of the Golden Dawn system. First edition published in 1996. Revised with A. E. Waite’s paper on the Serpent Myth in 2001.” [via]

The Magic of a Symbol

The Magic of a Symbol by Florence Farr, edited with an introduction by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 6 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2005 second revised edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Florence Farr The Magic of a Symbol

“This book contains Florence Farr’s ideas on Symbolism, the Kabbalah, Egyptian Magic, the Vedanta, Rosicrucians, Alchemy and the Tree of Life. Edited with Introductory Note by Darcy Kuntz.” [via]

The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn

The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn: Enochian Alphabet Clairvoyantly Examined by Florence Farr, edited with an introduction and notes by Darcy Kuntz, Vol 7 of the Golden Dawn Studies Series, the 2007 third revised edition published by J D Holmes, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Florence Farr The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Gawn

“The experiments Farr conducted with the Sphere Group in 1901 with the events and experiences chronicled in her diary. Keys to the Enochian Language; a corrected Holy Table; and a rare full page plate also are included.” [via]