The Truth about Trademarks
In recent years there has been much talking, writing and debating on the world wide web about lineage, charters and trademarks of the name "Golden Dawn". There was even one instance where the word "confusion" was mentioned. This article is designed to put more of a spiritual light on this matter and perhaps dispel any such confusion.
It is evident to the writer that in order to do so the reader must be made aware of certain "currents" as they are represented by any true Order, though the below are are not the only valid ones.
In order to look at the above mentioned matters we must ask ourselves what we believe the mysteries, or as we tend to call it, the Magic of Light, is? There are three basic answers to this question, of which one may be used, sometimes slightly different, by everybody out there, including ourselves.
1) The true mysteries are a sacred and ancient form of sympathetic cult celebration which is designed to expand ones consciousness and bring the Being performing it to a closer relation with his/her subconscious mind and nature.
2) The true mysteries are the invocation and evocation of energies and forces within creation, or nature, in order to direct them to achieve certain tasks for the magician.
3) The true mysteries are the core of an ancient mystery tradition, which existed microcosmically and macrocosmically since the dawn of time. Throughout the centuries it took on different forms, but was always designed to unite Man with God, the mundane with the spiritual, the lower with the higher…etc.
All these and many more definitions are true, yet these three answer three different questions: 3) answers to the "why", 2) to the "what" and 1) to the "how". What we should always refuse to do, is reduce the sacred magic of Light to a mere psychological drama, thus neglecting the Powers and Forces beyond human comprehension. Now, that we have answered this question, we must ask ourselves, what we believe an Order is? Or more precisely, what a Hermetic Order is?
Through the word "Hermetic" we have already limited ourselves to societies, which are dedicated to the process, in modern tongue, called "spiritual Alchemy". Thus a whole world of symbols is already implied, symbols that we can find throughout the ages of time. But even more, Hermeticism also includes the Qabalah, which again brings forth an immense set of Symbols and associations. These again being hundreds if not thousands of years old. The goal and mission of Hermeticism is the above- mentioned, under answer number 3, union with the Divine, or in Hermetic language the accomplishment of the Great Work; the creation of the Philosophers Stone. The Word "Order" implies a structure chosen by human beings to combine their efforts in order to magnify the effects and to check with each other regarding progress in the Work. For such an Order it was, is and will be a major goal to bring people that are devoted the Great Work closer to its completion (although, that final step can only be made by the individual). This given, it is natural that there will always be Brothers or Sister that are more advanced than others and that will teach the newcomers. Throughout time, there were always groups and individuals that dedicated their life to the accomplishment of the Great Work. And the One Thing they shared was a common mystical current, sometimes called the Western Mystery Tradition.
The most prominent Order for the last, lets say, 400 years was the Brotherhood of the Rose and Cross. Now the Tradition is not meant to be something static, such as we humans tend to see tradition, but more of a current or a stream of energy connected to superhuman entities and beings of Angelic, Archangelic and Divine nature. It was alive, grew, changed and developed.
This given, we may now talk about groups of people that gathered in 1888 in London, Great Britain. These People called their Group "the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn" and claimed to descend from the True Rosicrucian Order that existed for centuries before. Now the Golden Dawn was always designed to be the outer face, or shall we call it a prep-school, for this Order. We could of course ask ourselves why the Rosicrucian Order suddenly in 1888 needed such an outer Order, when they didn't need it the times before? This question implies that they didn't have an outer order before the Golden Dawn of 1888. That, we know, is not true. They had such an Order and it still exists.
Throughout the centuries some of the Rosicrucian Adepts felt that the Order needed to develop differently than their leaders thought it had to and the first schisms happened. It was then, in the time of the French revolution, that the outer Order decided not to follow the direction of its Rosicrucian leaders anymore and left them. Thus the need for a new outer Order for the remaining Rosicrucian leaders, who stayed true to the Current, was created. Under the Guidance of their Divine Guardians did they form the "Fraternity of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn" in England after having opened other Schools in Germany and France, probably.
Now what does all of this tell us about the ongoing debate of Lineage, Charter and Trademark? We learn that the Golden Dawn was actually only the outer school for a far more mystical and secretive order of which the name is actually lost, since the term "Rosicrucian" was never used in any documents by the actual Fraternity. We also know that the teachings revealed in the Golden Dawn are not only older than 1888 but were publicly available long before that. In fact, one Order in the United States has access to documents at least half a century older that any distinct Golden Dawn material that summarize these same teachings in the same way.
In this light, we may ask ourselves, what does a Trademark actually "mark"? It marks a name that was nothing but an outer school for the real Order, it marks a body of knowledge that was publicly available long before that, and it marks symbols that have been in the possession of mankind since we gained the art of preserving knowledge and symbols through writing. Such things can ideologically not be trademarked. But it has been done! Does a Golden Dawn trademark lessen the value of other Orders or Temples who practice the sacred rites of Teaching and Initiation - absolutely not.
We have said that the true inner Order, which is the Order that had the Golden Dawn as its outer façade for a certain period of time, is a magical order that has operated under different names throughout all of history. We have also defined the word "magic" as something beyond human comprehension, as a current of divine influx, that brought forth and is bringing forth Adepts of the Sacred Magic of Light. We could now quote and say that "the true Order extends to the heights above and the depths below" and is therefore not bound to physically incarnated human beings. If we would believe that this Order needed human beings and human laws to exist, we would limit what is limitless. Thus, the true Order is also not limited to THIS world's rules and regulations, and if these rules and regulations prohibit the use of a name, that had never anything to do with this true Order, but was simply for a certain period of Time the outer appearance of it, then all we need to do, is find another one.
The One word, that is defining the various Orders is not Golden Dawn, but the word "Hermetic". Certainly there are a number of Orders today that do profess the sacred teachings that never were dependent on a name nor on specific people. Whether these Orders are public, or whether they have an outer Order under which they are known, we do not tell, for this would mean to break the sacred oath we all have sworn.
What makes a group "real"? Well, since the essence of the Current is divine and cannot be fully grasped by us human beings, and also because its true nature has never been publicly announced, we have to say that it cannot be seen by the uninitiated eye, it cannot be comprehended by the human mind and it can especially not be put in written form. A group is "real" if it is dedicated to the sacred teachings - to the union with the divine. Once this aspiration becomes strong enough and the compassion for Spiritual Growth is motivated by Hope, Faith and Charity, the Divine will bestow this current upon a group, no matter if it holds a trademark, has a written charter or is professing to operate under any specific name in its outer Order. Scripture reads: "If two or more of you come together in my name, I shall be among them." The true core of such a group will receive its true name by the Divine Guardians and by NO ONE ELSE.
You may ask yourself now: "How can I distinguish between the Orders?" It is the Higher Genius that bestows true Adepthood upon somebody, and that Grace is certainly not limited to the physical incarnation of one particular group. It is the above-mentioned quality of the individual, that makes him or her an Adept. Not satisfied by this answer? Are you asking yourselves now what distinguishes an Adept? O.k. lets try to put in words what truly cannot be put in verbal form: If you agree to the above made points, you will agree, that:
a) A true adept will never make a statement to be exclusive;
b) A true adept will never claim to be perfect, because as we are taught by scripture: "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Luke 18,13-14;
c) A true Adept would never make the current depending on charters;
d) A true Adept does not depend on the name of the outer school of his Order;
e) A true Adept would never judge another group or individual;
f) A true Adept would never call him- or herself as such, for he knows his own imperfections. A true adept is humble in prayer and fervent in Spirit.
We do not want to create a paradigm of "haves" and "have-nots". But the answer to the call: "Will the Real Golden Dawn please stand up!" is that either everybody gets up, or all remain seated. In essence; it does not matter who claims to be the real Golden Dawn, for we do not support the creation of Order around a name - rather that an order is created around God, the Light Ineffable.