"An Apology of Mathers"

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"An Apology of Mathers"

Post  Khephra on Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:48 am

For the full text, see Gyllene Gryningen:




There seems to be in vogue today to bash Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and accusing him of anything ranging from poor authorship, lack of understanding of his own creation (i.e. the Golden Dawn theurgical system) to general mischief. People are even suggesting it actually was Westcott who was the real genius behind the R.R. et A.C., forgetting that Westcott in his own writing giving all credit of the R.R. et A.C. to Mathers, while keeping the G.D. (i.e. Outer Order) for himself.

Well, basically nothing's new under the sun. It’s more or less a rehash of old rumours, gossip and pure speculation, albeit displays some originality and creativity. J.W. Brodie-Innes summed it up quite well back in 1919
:

What was he - a great adept - a great scholar - a great impostor - a great rascal? I have heard all opinions, confidently, even dogmatically, asserted. As many and as contradictory opinions as were pronounced of Cagliostro.

Recently, Pat Zalewski and his ally Nick Farell has jumped on the bandwagon on their own personal crusade against MacGregor Mathers in general and his Rosicrucian Order of the A.O. in particular, at the same time promoting the elevation of Felkin and the Stella Matutina (Whare Ra). The real reason behind this is of course to promote Nick Farrells upcoming book on the A.O., which is said to reveal the "sad truths" abouth it, no doubt from an S.M. perspective. Pat Zalewski expressed the following sentiments on his own Yahoo-groups forum on July 3rd and August 1st:

I …. will make the point that many of the tings in the 0=0 that we take as gospel are optional in the AO. This means that what was written for the ZAM (Z1,Z2,Z3 papers) would be severely compromised or simply thrown out if his wishes were taken to the extremity.

Mathers mental state needs a good look at by future historians. My own take on this is that after he left the GD he decided to change the rituals for changes sake, so it would not be the same as the GD. This also opens the door that he did not fully understand the principles he constructed and/or his input was not as great as we are led to believe.

I have often made the comment that that quality of some of the AO papers was a great deal lower than that of the GD. Now I certainly have not been privy to them all but some I have seen are terrible.The sidereal astrology paper and the Kerubic squares Enochian paper.They go against what was written previously. I make a distinction here between the THAM papers and the AO papers. I have seen the original kerubic square paper (by Westcott) and have seen the new and improved Mathers explanation and it simply does not cut it by any stretch of the immagination.

The 1911 paper he did on astrology with Regulus as the starting point for the house division system does no hold water when tested with other system on famous people.

The Hermetic Cross paper (the large one -as the small one is simply an introduction to it) is another which is rambling about one god forms to the next with no punch line.

The Table of shewbread paper is very lightweight and certainly not for the THAM level.

The Seven branch candlestick paper contradicts earlier descriptions of cards in some instances and mixes one system of card development with another (description verses talismatic figures). It looks like Mathers started to explain the cards (Empress) along that line and when it did not fit the others abandoned the template for a descriptive process.

The Metatron-Sandlaphon paper is very basic and why it was put at 8=3 defies belief.

The Mathers 1=10 explanation is a simple narration and has none of the real analysis equal to the Z papers.

No acceptable evidence has been yet presented that Mathers even finished his cards and handed them out to the AO. The 6=5 AO rituals description are extremely vague and like the cards are described in a generic manner and not a specific.

These are just some quick overviews of some of the papers. If people wonder why the GD went in different directions this is a good hint. Frankly I think he missed the boat.

Then on July 6th and 9th Nick Farrell wrote:

Working with the early AO documents is fairly sole destroying if you know what Whare Ra managed to make out of the GD rituals. It is fairly clear that Mathers either didn't know his own system, or care. In my view there is nothing to suggest that Mathers was the genius of the GD... there is more evidence to suggest Westcott...

Certainly anything that Whare Ra was doing in the 1950s make the freemasons look like the boy scouts and the original GD look like a kindergarton. The fact that Mathers was able to ignore the z documents and opt for masonic systems in the AO, probably meant that he didnt really understand what he got either.

This suggestion made by Nick Farrell that Westcott was the real genius behind the G.D. is quite amusing, considering the fact that Farrell claims to be a historian. Well, as a historian he should have considered taking Westcotts own words into account:

About 1886 AFA Woodford gave me Hermetic teaching & old MSS information of G.D. 0=0 to 4=7. Mathers helped me to write those up _ & Woodman as S.M. agreed to be 1st Principal of the Isis Temple. We 3 were co-equal by my wish _ & this lasted until he died Dec. 1891. Then Mathers brought from Paris the 5=6 and said it was the culmination of my G.D. 0=0 to 4=7 and I carried 5=6 on in England until M. became so eccentric that I resigned in 1897.

I make no claim to the 5=6 Ritual authorship but I do claim right & precedence in the origin of G.D. 0=0 to 4=7 derived from Woodford I started the Isis Temple. I paid Mathers to translate & write out the rituals from my original cypher drafts. I paid for the Isis Warrant, & paid M. for writing it & I won't have him say he got the G.D. from his ancestor in Pondicherry, as he now pretends.

While I also don’t claim to have seen all of the A.O. papers I however have seen some of the mentioned documents. The Kerubic Square Paper is a highly interesting document which expands on the Godform used in scrying and working with pyramids. Regarding the comments on Seven Branched Candlestick, one wonders if Zalewski actually have read the correct document. The copy I have read doesn’t involve any Tarot Cards at all. It instead presents the formula of sound and colours which Paul Foster Case later used as a springboard for his own system of sound and colour meditation.

The sidereal astrology developed by Mathers is a pioneering work and presents a more accurate way of erecting a horoscope taking the precession of the Equinoxes into account. It should be mastered by any Rosicrucian Theurgist in my opinion. It doesn't at all contradict earlier material as allusions of counting the starting point of the Zodiac from Star Regulus in 0° Leo already were existent in the Astronomic Tarot paper (Ritual "O"), written by Mathers and being part of the early Z.A.M. material. Let me again quote Brodie-Innes speaking of Mathers scholarship
:

His astrological knowledge was exceptional, as is abundantly proved by many horoscopes that have passed through my hands, in which the accuracy of his judgment as evidenced by events was convincing.

In the Rosicrucian Order of the A.O. of today, the teachings makes use of both systems, using the tropical zodiac for personal natal horoscopes and the sidereal for synchronization of ritual and talismanic work. Zalewski obviously has no understanding of these matters.

Regarding the “Z” material being optional this - never before heard of - information is not substantiated by any means and doesn’t hold water, especially considering that Mathers is accredited as the author. The curriculum was mandatory. Some material in Z.A.M. and Th.A.M. were later elevated into higher sub-grades, i.e. some re-arrangements were made over the years, but noting was removed from the curriculum.

Regarding the changes in rituals, they were actually of a minor nature. Basically the Neophyte Ritual did go through some changes, or rather some material were added which complemented the original version; almost nothing was removed from the original G.D. version. Waites comment comes into mind: “Temple Consecration ritual of DDCF includes obeisance to Isis.” Waites statement is of course a half-truth. All this points to the fact that Zalewski has not seen the actual ritual papers of the A.O. For me personally, this last fact is satisfying considering Zalewski’s attitudes on secrecy.

The reason for the change which actually were made of course was motivated by preservation of the integrity of the egregore. Remember that the Neophyte Ritual (or at least portions of it) was public domain after the Horos scandal and particularily after Crowleys breach of secrecy. It had to be somewhat altered to preserve the egregore of the new A.O. Order. Again, we cannot expect Pat Zalewski to understand the esoteric principles of secrecy, considering his attitudes towards this subject.

About the quality of the A.O. papers being much worse than that of the original G.D., again implicating that Westcott was the true genius behind the R.R. et A.C., this is just plain wrong. Westcott wasn’t near the genius of Mathers by any stretch of the imagination. Just compare Westcott’s “Book H.” with Mathers’ The Book of the Concourse of the Forces. Book H. is very muddled compared to the direct and consistent teachings in Mathers Enochian papers.

Regarding the Tarot cards. They were already finished and handed out to Adepts prior to the 1900 schism; Mathers simply used these, the existing version.

Zalewski’s last paragraph betrays his real motives and personal bias. He tries to discredit the A.O. lineage and elevate the Stella Matutina tradition of Whare Ra (of which he is a self-proclaimed representative) as the foremost representation of the Golden Dawn, which is evidenced by the comments made by Farrell.

For a follow-up, see "Mathers - Hero or Villain?".


Last edited by Khephra on Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: "An Apology of Mathers"

Post  kybalion on Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:14 pm

I can't believe the first thing posted in the Golden Dawn section is bullshit from Griffen's camp.

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Re: "An Apology of Mathers"

Post  Khephra on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:17 pm

We'll see about remedying that lack of breadth in content, but for the record, doesn't it make more sense to reciprocate with content you approve of rather than complaining?

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