Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Golden Dawn / Crowley teaching that one must make contact with one's Holy Guardian Angel before one can progress in magical and spiritual development has rigidified into dogma in Western esotericism. Do you think this is needlessly limiting?

Yes it is needlessly limiting.

The concept does not exist in 90% of the worlds magic systems, and they get along just fine without it.

It is a useful endeavor, but it should not be seen as necessary.

Ask me anything


VL said...

Regardless any personal bias some people have against GD and the HGA thing; what is the difference between getting K&C with the HGA and getting the "muerto" for Santeros, paleros, Voodoo or even other traditions that "get their spiritual guide" or "padrino"?

Psyche said...

I'm interested to learn if you think it's completely unnecessary, or if it figures in any way as a point to be reached at some point in a magickian's career?

nutty professor said...

I don't know about dogma, and perhaps "spiritual guides" and teachers are not necessary, but they can help, wouldn't one agree?

VL said...

Hello psyche,

The first thing that came to my mind when I read that question was: "here we go again...more prejudices against GD...".

First of all, I'm a regular member of a formal Golden Dawn Order and what I can say for sure, is that Golden Dawn is more than the information on wikipedia, or Regardie or Ciceros books out there; Golden Dawn is much more than that.

Second, I personally know Santeros and Paleros, and they don't even dare to start their magical career without attain what they call "the muerto" or "el santo" (of course that in african languages they call it more appropiate than I'm doing it here, my excuses for that). Therefore, for them attaining the protection and guide of this spirit, is really important.

If you have the chance sometime of talking to any of them, they will tell you, because that's not a secret, and far from being a secret, they will show that they are the real deal, because they have their "santo".

Third, attaining the HGA is not a matter of the GD, it is something that exists on its own right. Have you ever felt since you were a child that someone was taking care of you? I'm not talking about your parents, I'm talking about you having the sensation of being protected by "someone" or "something"? call it whatever you like, according your belief system, but this entity is there.

Jason Miller, said...

@ VL: There is a difference. They are similar and can serve similar functions as far as being a guide, but the Holy Guardian Angel is not the exact same thing as the Muerto, nor as the Met Tet in Vodou, and definitely not the same as a physical person playing the role of Padrino or Guru in Tantric traditions.

Furthermore even in medieval and renaissance magic finding ones Holy Guardian Angel was largely not a factor. Most people who worked the Keys of Solomon for instance probably did not even know about Abramelin's book.

Jason Miller, said...


I feel that it is EXTREMELY helpful. It is not however a necessary step as is evidenced by the magicians all over the world that have done perfectly well without it.

I just recently wrote on RO's latest post that it was not a necessary step for crossing the Abyss. The idea of crossing the abyss, a place or state beyond subject and object, is WAY more universal a concept than the HGA.

Jason Miller, said...

@ Psyche

Forgot to mention: I LOVE Putonica. Wasnt aware of it before my Chaos Questions. Great site.

Jason Miller, said...

@Nutty Professor

Yes they are helpful. I said as much in the post.

Jason Miller, said...

@VL's Second Post

No one is attacking the GD. However many GD terms, rituals, and protocols have become the norm in western esoteric thought overall. When you start saying that these apply to all magic everywhere, than there is an error.

I agree that the being is there, and that you can draw analogies between it and spirit guides from other traditions. However, it is not universal.

Rootworkers, many Chaos Magicians, and Ngakpas for instance have nothing that equates to it unless to stretch the definition so wide that it no longer has any specific meaning.

We live in a very interesting time for magic, similar to the Hellenic era in some ways, where the blending of traditions and approaches is the norm rather than something you have to travel far to do. When people take one practice and say that it is necessary for magic or spiritual development as a whole, than there is almost always an error.

Psyche said...

@VL I didn't read the question that way at all. I read it as coming from someone new to magick who seemed awed by the intense work and self-discipline required to perform a working for (at minimum) six months.

There is a significant difference, culturally and spiritually. Worrying whether one is "better" than the another is futile. Which path one pursues is a deeply individual matter, and and equating them or negating them as a group serves no-one.

I undertook the Abramelin working some years ago, successfully, after eight months (I didn't feel ready yet after only six). I wouldn't describe my HGA as a protector, though it would be comforting if that was the case.

@Jason That's good to hear. I was worried by your response that you rejected its value outright.

I think it's an important step in the career of any magickian studying "western" traditions, and to omit it can belie a lack of commitment.

Most people aren't willing to get up at dawn, every day for six plus months - then twice a day, then three times a day. The discipline alone is immensely rewarding, especially for someone like me whose roots remain deep in chaos magick.

I would like to add that chaotes, being chaotes, can and do practice whatever form of magick they deem necessary or appropriate: in my case, the traditional Abramelin rite as described by Mathers. Don't be too quick to dismiss chaotes as "having nothing that equates to it". Chaotes have everything, limited by nothing more than their individual wills - just like everyone else.

Also, thanks for your kind comments regarding :)

Jason Miller, said...


I did the working in 1996 and it is a game changer, so I certainly do not reject the value.

As for the length, it pretty much takes as long as it takes. Its pretty clear now (and the Germans have always known this) that the operation was actually meant to be 18 months, but six, Mathers translated that wrong from the French Edition, which is itself in error on many things when viewed against the earier German texts.

It took me 9 months.

As for the discipline, you should try some Tibetan retreat practices :-) It was the first place my HGA sent me, and is still what I consider the root of my magic/spiritual training.

Eldritch said...

Working with the golden dawn material rather than the grimoires and Agrippa is like drinking decaf rather than real coffee.

Psyche said...

Yes, I know it was originally intended to be longer, but I read the Dehn & Guth translation after I'd started. :)

Jason Miller, said...

@ Eldrich,

So you say, but until I see Agrippan Grimoire mages summoning piles of gold coins, or flying through the air to go on vacation I am not buying. Go summon a demon to teach you string theory and win a Nobel Prize or do something that someone else cannot do, and I will roll along with you. Till then its just posturing.

I am not interested in GD myself, but there was as much value added to the art of magic from them as there was stuff that they dismissed.


You and me both. In a way though having it surface the way it did helps deconstruct what is really important to the rite.