The Golden Dawn Temple - Officers Ceremony and Costume
The Golden Dawn in the Outer
You already know that the Golden Dawn was an occult organization, which started accepting members around 1888. However most of the history associated with the G.D. does not concern the "Golden Dawn" proper, but rather the "Second Order" (or "Inner Order") of the R.R. et A.C. of the Golden Dawn, which only existed after 1891-92.
|Joining The G.D. in the Outer
There is very little exciting about the G.D. "in the Outer," as the First Order was called after 1892. Members applied in writing to William Wynn Westcott's address, and were mailed a pledge form. If they signed and returned it, they were then accepted or rejected. In many cases, the Order initially rejected a membership, but counseled the applicant to apply again after about six months. There appear to have been two elements here. First, a certain degree of "high-handedness," admission might seem more desirable if it was delayed. Secondly, there was a very real desire to turn away both the "idle curious" and those who might be intent on embarrassing or otherwise interfering with the order. Remember that at this point, most English Gentleman's Clubs, and all Masonic Orders, functioned along these lines, and the process was not so mysterious or aberrant as it might seem today. A.E. Waite was told by a friend that it was a "standard practice" for the Order to decline members "about whom they did not know anything," presumably using the interim to check out references, and friends of friends. After the first brief reference in Lucifer, there is no indication that there was any "advertising" for the G.D. per se. There may well have been other examinations as well.
Arthur Conan Doyle was a friend of Dr. Henry Pullen-Burry, and the Dr. suggested he might apply for membership. Conan Doyle would later describe an "Astral Visitation" whereby he was examined for membership. The process unnerved him, but convinced him of the reality of the Golden Dawn's powers. Similar sensations have been described by other initiates who were examined either "in person" or "astrally" for membership in an occult order. Conan Doyle's judgement can hardly be considered unimpeachable...he is the man who was utterly taken in by the Wright-Griffith Fairy Hoax. However his experience is typical, rather than exceptional, and there is no question that the Golden Dawn claimed that its living Chiefs examined Outer Order applicants. Whether the "Secret Chiefs" paid them much attention or not is conjecture. Certainly Mathers made it clear in his "Manifesto" that and those "higher" initiates of 8=3 and beyond examined candidates prior to, and after, admission to the Second Order.
The Golden Dawn in the Outer conferred the degrees of:
There are two types of Officer within the Golden Dawn Temple. The first is the "Ritual Officers" who have no very serious duties outside of the actual Temple Ceremonies. The second is the actual "Officers" who govern the day to day affairs of the temple and do the paperwork. The names of the Ritual Officers come from certain Eastern Mysteries. At least for Outer Order Ceremonies, the Ritual Offices seem to have been filled by any qualified individual for a given ceremony. In Flying Roll No. 1, Mathers says "Anyone who being a 4=7 and passes five Examinations becomes a nominal 5=6, and is competent to preside at First Order Assemblies [i.e. as Hierophant]..." Even so, we can imagine that roles were frequently taken on by the same individual.
The regular Officers were a more serious matter. These were the individuals who actually "ran" the Golden Dawn, and they turned over fairly infrequently. One is under the impression that Westcott, as "Chief Adept in Anglia" stood in as Heirophant except when Mathers was present.
Hiereus – Priest – “expounder of the mysteries”
Hegemon - “leader or general” prepares the candidate for initiation
Kerux – Herald – makes reports and announcement
Stolistes – priest in charge of sacred vestments
Dadouchos – torch bearer, assist the Heirophant, takes care of all the lamps and fires
Sub Imperator or Vice-Imperator
Initially, Second Order initiation consisted of nothing more than the 5=6 grade. Shortly thereafter, the "Portal Grade" with no number was added. Initially "nominal 5=6" members took the Portal Grade, and then the 5=6 Second Order initiation almost immediately thereafter. By the late 90's however, there was a waiting period of 4-6 months.
In addition there were "sub grades" within 5=6
The Second Order was theoretically comprised of all those with the degrees of:
Zelator Adeptus Minor
Theoricus Adeptus Minor
Practicus Adeptus Minor
Philosophus Adeptus Minor
6=5 Adeptus Major
7=4 Adeptus Exemptus
Westcott, Mathers, and Woodman were all self-anointed 7=4 from the day the G.D. was founded. The grades beyond lay in the shadowy realm of the quasi human "Secret Chiefs." Mathers claimed a 6=5 for Moina. Otherwise, no G.D. member rose above 6=5.
The Third Order, for what it may be worth included:
Hiereus – Black Cloak, Lamen, Sword
Hegemon - White Cloak, Lamen, Sceptre
Kerux – Lamen, Lamp, Wand
Stolistes – Lamen, Cup
Dadouchos – Lamen, Sword
*The "Lamen" described is the Rosy Cross Symbol.