Dead Names, Dead Dog: Blinded by the Dawn, Part 2

To pick up our discussion, Nate points out that the Ciceros do suggest here that the Cromlech Temple was part of the Golden Dawn. My answer to this is twofold. First, we should note that these references are brief, and each describes the Cromlech Temple as a “hybrid” organization. Elsewhere, it is described as a “side-order” of a Golden Dawn temple, suggesting that it might not have been your according-to-Hoyle Golden Dawn organization.

The Cromlech Temple and different Golden Dawn orders did share members in common, the Golden Dawn may have had a role in its foundation, and the organizations did have close relations. Nonetheless, that doesn’t make the Cromlech Temple the Golden Dawn. To do that we would need proof that the organization was chartered as such, or that its members considered it a Golden Dawn temple, or even that it shared the goals with the Golden Dawn. As “Simon’s” own source (Modern Ritual Magic) and further readings show, none of these are the case. Here are the results of my own research:

The Cromlech Temple was an esoteric order based in Christian mysticism, instead of the syncretic approach typical of the Golden Dawn. Many of its members were Anglican and Scottish Episcopalian priests seeking mysticism while remaining within religious orthodoxy. Indeed, no non-Christian could pass beyond the system’s introductory degree. The teachings of the Temple were not always the most orthodox – they included elements of Gnosticism, and reincarnation was a fundamental tenet – yet for the most part they tried to appear as much in line with the teachings of their churches as possible.

Further cementing the divide between the Cromlech Temple and the Golden Dawn was the former’s attitude toward magic.  Practicing such techniques was not considered improper, but merely outside the Temple’s scope. Those who were interested in magic were sent to the Golden Dawn orders for instruction.  I don’t know many occultists who’d accept as a “Golden Dawn” an order that outsourced all its magical training.

For those who wish to pursue this, King collected a number of the group’s rituals in his Astral Projection, Ritual Magic, and Alchemy. Those familiar with documents from both orders will find it readily apparent just how far these two orders diverged. To pre-empt “Simon,” the teachings have a couple of superficial similarities – a Temple head named Shemesh, and the use of seven colored strings called “quipu” in meditation (another non-Golden Dawn element). Of course, “Shemesh” is the Hebrew word for “sun,” and the sevenfold color scheme of the Cromlech Temple is entirely different in shades and symbolism from that in the Necronomicon. The Temple also gave respect to a wide variety of religious traditions, though it maintained that all its teachings were in accord with strict orthodoxy. Reading these references in context will quickly eliminate any supposition that the Temple was practicing Necronomicon magick. If you feel obligated to make digs at Presbyterians, you’re a long way from walking the gates of the Sumerian gods.

What about the most interesting possibility – that the Cromlech Temple did, indeed, have the Necronomicon? Next time (or probably the time after), the Veils of Negative Existence are parted!

Published in: on July 27, 2006 at 6:24 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. Ah! You know, I sort of thought I was firing off a message into the void there that nobody would actually read, so I apologize if the tone of my previous comments seemed rude. (My email is just to avoid spam, nothing personal).

    It’s good to see you’re really researching this! I’m a student of the occult and I’ve read a lot of Christian-based texts that inspired the Golden Dawn and it’s many offshoots, including Crowley’s A.’.A.’. Crowley built his religion upon the cornerstone idea that drew him into the Golden Dawn in the first place: the idea that there was a secret inner school as presented in the text The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary by Karl Von Eckhartshausen, which was given to him by Waite after Crowley inquired to him about a book of black magic. Funny switcheroo, eh?

    Crowley liked the overtly Christian text so much, he plagiarised it for his own “An Account of A.’.A.’.” Read the two back to back and see for yourself. The new editions of Cloud Upon the Sanctuary even have a special preface acknowledging this fact.

    🙂 Funny! Crowley inquired about black magic. Waite gives him a book about Christianity. This inspires Crowley to join the Golden Dawn. Crowley has a feud with Waite… and later admits he would never be where he was if it wasn’t for Waite. Then, he plagiarized this most inspiring Chrisitan work to accomodate his sort-of Anti-Christian (but not really) brand of religion.

    What this text explicitly says is that all religions are but One. So, there is really no big surprise or incongruity in the fact that a Golden Dawn temple would be Christian-based… or that a Christian-based magical order would use an Ancient Sumerian text. The Golden Dawn is, after all, a mish-mash of ideas, including Christianity as a frequent prime focus. Several Golden Dawn temples and their offshoots use the Bible as a means of illumination, without a hint of irony or cynicism.

  2. Nate,

    Thanks for your comments!

    If I may expand on the point regarding syncretism, the surprise here is not that Christian material shows up in the rites of the Cromlech Temple, but the organization’s drive toward excluding as much non-Christian material – and individuals – as possible. This doesn’t work, of course, but it does set this organization apart from most magical orders. The Temple material pay the usual lip service to the “all religions hold portions of the Light,” but they’re much less shy about turning around immediately to slam corporate confession.

  3. Hm, well, I don’t know too much about the Cromlech Temple, specifically, but it could be that they were just focused on Christianity, not necessarily prejudiced (which makes most sense to me, based on what I know of GD and GD offshoots). The Gods of one generation become the Devils of the next– this idea is explained in “Cloud Upon the Sanctuary,” for instance: the spirit and the letter are two different things. When man’s weakness confuses the letter for the spirit of the letter, only the letter remains, but the spirit is neither harmed nor destroyed. And it, in fact, reveals itself in other forms and other letters while the weak men continue to harp on about some meaningless exoteric dogma (the letter without the spirit).

    But, it doesn’t strike me as particularly suspicious that Simon got ahold of some texts, which were once in the hands of GD members (the Cromlech Temple, which is an offshoot) and which he presumed might be the actual text the Necronomicon legend was based on. Perhaps because whoever showed him the texts suggested as much. The texts themselves are authentic enough to an extent, if incomplete and dangerous.

  4. I should clarify that last statment about it being “authentic enough.” What I mean to say is that it works “better” (definitely faster, anyway) than any other occult text out there. And to that extent, we can be sure it is “real” in the same sense that the Qaballah is “real.” There is some debate about that, as I’m sure you’re aware, too!

  5. PS – You convinced me thanks to this post here about the Hebrew scripts:

    I won’t repeat the whole comment I made there, but Simon is a dork. Thanks for your dilligence and patience.

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