Mundane Politics and the Golden Dawn Temple

February 9, 2010

The Temple (or Lodge, or Order or whatever the official title) is no place for politics. This is the stance of the Temple of Thoth Amen-Ra, and is the stance of many groups I’ve belonged to or been associated with. But why is this?

To begin simply, politics (such as discussions of the pros and cons of a particular political party for instance) have no place in a magical group. The politics of the mundane should not be used to further anyone’s agenda, whether as a leader or a member. There is however, overlap in certain cases. Here are the few times I can think of when politics should overlap:

1. When a potential member’s political beliefs could potentially be harmful to the group.

This could take place for example, if a potential member is also a member of a political group that does not conform to the high standards of the magical order. As far as excluding members, our Temple states in its Constitution:

No person shall be excluded from membership on account of sex, race, religion, or specific tradition of magic that does not conflict with the purpose and mission of the Temple. (The mission of the Temple of Thoth Amen-Ra can be found on our website.)

Let’s take an extreme example of a potential member who could be refused entrance despite the non-mention of politics in the aforementioned section. Take the fictitious “Bob,” who feels that whites are a superior race,  and belongs to several neo-nazi organizations.

There’s no way that I at least, could on good grounds, allow him entrance into our Temple.  I don’t pretend to speak for other members of my Temple, but I can’t imagine any of them voting “Bob” in. This is for the simple reason that intolerance has no place in a magical order, especially one based on the Golden Dawn. I know however, that the Cipher Manuscripts state to “Avoid Roman Catholics. But with pity.”, but I feel these are more an outgrowth of the early Rosicrucian association with Protestantism. In most modern GD organizations that I am aware of, a Roman Catholic would not be denied entrance just because of their religious beliefs.

2. When mundane politics interfere with the Temple.

This latter possibility seems far removed in the United States, where the founding fathers were masons, and the long and respected history of fraternal orders has existed in and with politics, but who knows what the future holds?

The last time that fraternal orders were persecuted was the Third Reich, when approximately between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were executed in the Holocaust (Wikipedia). I am unaware of the number of magical orders that were shut down, but most famously the OTO was persecuted. In a case like this, it would behoove the Temple to openly discuss the influence of politics on their group. I have no idea what the best course of action would be in this case, and hope I never have to deal with it.

So, while I’m absolutely opposed to bringing politics into the Temple for personal or inter-Temple political ends, there are exceptions to the rule.

How to Accept New Members

September 13, 2009

Any Golden Dawn Order or Temple will have to deal with potential members of all types, ranging from the borderline psychotic to the adept from another group to the full-on neophyte with no idea of the Golden Dawn or what it stands for. How to deal with these members is an ongoing struggle between explanation of the Order’s goals and the vows of secrecy (whatever those may entail).

For most groups, there seems to be a concern over who to let in, and for good reason. The Denver Golden Dawn Temple to which I belong has had its share of members who were unable or unwilling to follow the group’s rules and regulations, some who have rebelled against some of the aspects of the GD, and some who just didn’t fit in personally. Trying to weed out unfit potential members is an ongoing task.

We used to have open meetings where a modified 0=0 opening would show the potential member what we have to offer. This resulted in one excellent member joining our group, but for many it was an opportunity for us to see their various psychoses in action. We soon disbanded the “open meeting” idea for a more prolonged and anonymous application process.

Our application process is as follows:

1. the applicant finds our website and sends a note to the Cancellarius (who by decision of the Inner Order is not only in charge of all secretarial duties and monies, but has this additional responsibility as well).

2. the Cancellarius reviews their email and decides to send them an application form.

3. the form is reviewed by all voting members of the Temple. A decision is then made whether to meet with the applicant at a neutral location, with all voting members present.

4. in a formal Temple (0=0 opening), the applicant’s membership in the Temple is opened to full discussion. There is a vote taken.

5. whether accepted or denied, the applicant is notified by mail. This is done to ensure that the current members are kept anonymous and no one person is seen as responsible for the applicant’s acceptance or denial.

The above has seemed to work so far for our Denver Temple. What’s your Temple/Order/Group standard application process, and why does it work or not work?