Lineage and the Golden Dawn
Lineage in Spiritual Traditions - East and West
The concept of lineage is found not only in Western esoteric orders, but also in various spiritual traditions of the East, as in Christianity and Freemasonry in the West. Lineage, much like trademarks, may serve to prevent public confusion about a given spiritual tradition. Lineage may also be a formal means of mutual recognition, as in the case of Freemasonry, which uses charters and systems of mutual recognition between Grand lodges to establish 'regularity,' or finally, it may carry with it a spiritual transmission or realization, as in the case of Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism.
Zen Buddhism, for example, maintains records of their historical teachers who, according to the traditional history of that school, have passed the Dharma from generation to generation in an unbroken line since the time of the Buddha. Dharma transmission is the formal confirmation by a master of Zen or Chan Buddhism of a student's awakening. This one-to-one transmission is said to trace back over 2,500 years to Gautama Buddha when he gave dharma transmission to his disciple Mahakasyapa, who is regarded as the first patriarch of Zen in India.
In Christianity, the doctrine of Apostolic Succession maintains that the Christian Church today is the spiritual successor to the original body of believers in Christ, composed of the Apostles. In pre-Protestant Reformation Churches, Apostolic Succession is claimed as having been passed through unbroken lines of bishops beginning with the original Apostles.
In esotericism, numerous orders use lineage as a means of ensuring a direct transmission of spiritual principles and energies. Lineage, like trademarks, is also a basic form of protection for the public, that what members find is actually what they associate with the name or the spiritual tradition. Martinist orders, for examples all claim lineage deriving from Louis-Claude de St. Martin. L'Ordre Martiniste (the Martinist Order) came about in 1884 when Gerard Encausse (Papus) met August Chaboseau. They discovered that they had both apparently received Martinist initiation through two different chains of succession, which linked back to Saint-Martin and his original disciples. Papus claimed to have come into the possession of the original papers of de Pasqually and to have been given authority in the Rite of Saint-Martin by his friend Henri Viscount Delaage. However, Encausse realized that there was a "missing link" in his own chain of succession: he and Chaboseau therefore "swapped initiations" in order to consolidate their lineages.
The Lineage of the Golden Dawn
The question of the lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn when it was founded in 1888, hinges upon the source of origin of documents known as the "Cypher Manuscripts." The "Cypher Manuscripts" are a collection of 60 folios containing the structural outline of a series of magical initiation rituals that in 1888 became the first order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (comprising the Neophyte (0-0), Zelator (1=10), Theroricus (2=9), Practicus (3=8) and Philosophus (4=7) grades). Wynn Wescott claimed to have obtained these manuscripts from A.F.A. Woodford, who had found them in a secondhand bookstall on Wellington Road in London, and who gave them to his friend Westcott to be decoded. Wescott claimed to have found among these folios the name and address of a certain Anna Sprengel of Germany, a member of a Rosicrucian order in which she was known as Soror S.d.A. Wescott wrote to her and obtained charter for Isis-Urania temple no. 3 of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in London. During a later dispute, S.L. MacGregor Mathers claimed that the Anna Sprengel letters had been forged by Wescott. This led scholars Ellic Howe and R.A. Gilbert to claim that the Golden Dawn had been based on a forgery from the beginning.
Recent scholarship, however, has indicated that the Cypher Manuscripts were actually obtained by Wescott from the widow of Masonic scholar and Rosicrucian, Kenneth MacKenzie, who had received a Hermetic and Rosicrucian initiation and affiliation from Hungarian Count Apponyi in 1850, while MacKenzie was living in Austria. It now appears that the Cypher manuscripts were given to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi together with Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages, with which to found the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
To understand why Wescott went to such lengths to obfuscate the true origins of the Cipher Manuscripts, one must also consider that Wescott was also the Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.), a Masonic Rosicrucian society founded by R.W. Little in 1867. It is today apparent that Wescott deliberately attempted to appropriate the Rosicrucian lineage of Kenneth MacKenzie destined for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, instead for the S.R.I.A. Under Wescott's tenure as Supreme Magus of SRIA, roll books were forged to portray MacKenzie as a founder of S,.R.I.A. moving his name from number 114 to 0 and following MacKenzie's death rumors were circulated that he had communicated his Rosicrucian lineage to Little.
It is clear that the true lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn derives from the Continental European order of Adepts represented by Count Apponyi, who initiated Kenneth MacKenzie and are the true source of origin of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. S.L. MacGregor Mathers claimed to have reestablished contact with representatives of this order in Paris in 1891, to whom Mathers referred as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen) and whom Mathers claimed gave him the rituals and curriculum for the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. that Mathers founded in 1892 (comprising the Adeptus Minor (5=6), Adeptus Major (6=5) and Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) grades. The European headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, reestablished contact with representatives of Mathers' "Secret Chiefs" in Paris in 2002, and were transmitted everything for the "Third Order" that had been envisioned for the Golden Dawn since its inception in 1888. These materials included the initiation rituals for the Golden Dawn's three highest grades (called "Magisteria"); Magister Templi (8-3), Magus (9=2) and Ipsissimus (10=1). This continental order of Hermetic alchemists, called the "Secret Chiefs" by Mathers, hold an unbroken Hermetic lineage that has been passed down from master to disciple since the birth of the Hermetic tradition in Alexandrian Egypt involving the spiritual techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy." Thus we see that the uniquely Western lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 is not merely a formal lineage as is the case with Freemasonry, but involves a spiritual transmission as well, as is the case with the lineages of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in the East.
Lines of Transmission of Golden Dawn Lineage
The primary lines of transmission of the Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages of the Golden Dawn have been to Kenneth MacKenzie through Count Apponyi in 1850, and to S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1891, and David Griffin in 2002 through Fratres Lux E Tenebris. Important auxiliary lines of transmission have passed through Desmond Bourke, Countess Tamara Bourkoun, and Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko.
Count Apponyi of Hungary was a Rosicrucian, representing an extremely ancient and secretive Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers would later refer to as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen in German). Apponyi transmitted to MacKenzie certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions with which to found what in 1888 became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Britain. MacKenzie encrypted certain of these documents using a code from Trithemius' Polygraphiae, into "Cipher Manuscripts," with which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was later founded.
It should be noted that at the time of MacKenzie's initiation, both the Gold und Rosenkreutz (Golden and Rosy Cross) order and the order of the Asiatic brethren were active in Austria and that the grade structure of the Gold und Rosenkreutz order found its way directly into the Golden Dawn. Moreover, the name that MacKenzie chose for the first phase of the Golden Dawn, Fratres Lucis, was actually a common name for the Asiatic Brethren. Further, the very name of the order, derives directly from the Frankfurt Jewish Masonic Lodge, "Loge zur aufgehenden Morgenrothe, "Chabrath Zereh Boqer Aour" in Hebrew, which may be rendered in English as Order of the Golden Dawn. Finally, it should additionally be noted that among the senior members of this lodge, were some of the most prominent figures of the Asiatic Brethren to be found.
Kenneth MacKenzie (1833 - 1886)
Kenneth MacKenzie was a noted Freemasonic Scholar and Rosicrucian, born in London in 1833. In 1844 his family moved to Vienna, where in approximately 1850 MacKenzie was initiated by Count Apponyi, receiving certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with the material for the Cypher Manuscripts with which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn eventually was established. As the first phase of the Golden Dawn, MacKenzie founded a group known as the "Society of Eight" (or Fratres Lucis) with his own temple as Number one, followed by the Bristol temple of F.G. Irwin as Number two. Isis-Urania became Temple Number three when the Golden Dawn was "founded" in 1888.
Frater Lux E Tenebris (1891)
Frater Lux E Tenebris was a representative of the Contintental European secret alchemical society that had earlier initiated Kenneth MacKenzie. In 1891, Frater L.E.T. contacted S.L.MacGregor Mathers while the latter was in Paris. In one letter, Mathers states "I have been in much communication with Frater Lux E Tenebris. Frater L.E.T. initiated Mathers and transmitted to him certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions and skeletal initiation rituals with which to found the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian, "Second Order," the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.).
S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1854 - 1918)
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers was a leading British occultist. His distant grandfather fought with great gallantry at the siege of Pondicherry, with Lally Tollendal, and received from Louis XIV the title of Count MacGregor de Glenstrae, afterwards confirmed by James II, a French title that he naturally did not use in England. Mathers became a Freemason and his mystical interests lead him to become a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia where he became is an associate of Kenneth Mackenzie, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman, with the latter of whom Mathers "founded" the Golden Dawn following MacKenzie's death in 1888.
In 1891, Mathers visited Paris where on July 30 he was initiated by representatives the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie, to whom Mathers henceforth referred to as the "Secret Chiefs." From these "Secret Chiefs," Mathers received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi, as well as an esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian "Second Order," to be called the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aurae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.). At that historic meeting, Mathers additionally received certain teachings about spiritual sexuality, notably certain techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic," which were intended for eventual inclusion in the Golden Dawn's projected Third Order.
Immediately upon having founded the R.R. et A.C., Mathers moved to Paris to remain in contact with his "Secret Chiefs." In 1906, Mathers founded the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's projected entire 'three order' system, with the H.O.G.D as its first and the R.R. et A.C. as its second order. Unfortunately, Mathers passed away in 1918 before he fully mastered the techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic" well enough to manifest the Alpha et Omega's planned Third Order. Mathers nonetheless did communicate some of the more advanced teachings regarding spiritual sexuality to certain select students, like J.W. Brodie Innes.
Desmond Bourke (1918 - 2005)
Desmond Bourke was a key player in nearly every field of British esotericism. Bourke became a 7=4 of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an VIII Degree of A. E. Waite's Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, an Adeptus Maximus of Madelain Montalban's Order of the Morning Star, an Arch Druid of numerous Druidic Orders, a High Grade Freemason, IX degree of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, a Martinist (Sup_rieur Inconnu), Reaux-Crois, and Chief of the Sovereign Imperium of the Mysteries. Bourke also became a Gnostic Bishop (multiple affiliations), founded the Hermetic Martinist Order, and guided the merger of the Ancient and Archaological Order of Druids with the Literary and Archaological Order of Druids to form the Universal Druidic Order. (The intimate association between the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Druidry that began with the mutual initiations of S.L. MacGregor Mathers and George Watson MacGregor Reid, continued and deepened under the leadership of Arch Druid and Golden Dawn Adept, Desmond Bourke.)
Bourke, who held multiple Golden Dawn and derivative lineages, served in the 1980's and 90's as Praemonstrator of the Serapis temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in London, England.
Countess Tamara Bourkoun (ca 1911-1990)
Countess Bourkoun founded a derivative Golden Dawn order called Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx. The O.P.+S. practiced Alpha et Omega ritual and worked Enochian magic, and had numerous connections with the Golden Dawn and its derivative orders. The cousin of the Cancellarius of the Alpha et Omega under Moina Mathers, Langford Garstin, also named Garstin, became a member of the Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx. Ithell Colquhoun, who wrote "The Sword of Wisdom" (a biography of S.L. MacGregor Mathers) was also an initiate of the O.P.+S. Helen Rand, former Cancellaria gave the pillars of the Isis-Urania temple to Countess Bourkoun for use in the rituals of the O.P.+S. Miss Tranchell-Hayes, Imperatrix of Mathers' Alpha et Omega eventually transmitted the lineage and authorities of the Alpha et Omega to Countess Bourkoun. Bourkoun also became an active Gnostic; was ordained as a Sub-Deaconess of L'Eglise Universelle de la Nouvelle Alliance' by Roger Caro in 1973, made a Deaconess by H.L. Jacques Lacroix in 1975, and ordained a priest by Jean-Paul Charlet in 1977. Bourkoun was the official representative in Great Britain of the 'L'Eglise Universelle de la Nouvelle Alliance," directed by Roger Caro who was also the Imperator of the Frères Ainées de la Rose+Croix (F.A.R.+C., Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross).
Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko (1920-2001)
Marquis Nicolas Tereschenko's family was raised to nobility in the Ukraine by the former Czar of Russia. Marquis Tereschenko became Praemonstrator Ordinis of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Praemonstrator of the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in Paris, Chief Adept of the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.), and Archon Basileus of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega. Tereschenko was also a High Grade Freemason, an Adeptus Maximus of Madeline Montalban's Order of the Morning Star, and an Arch Druid of the United Ancient Order of Druids. In 1992, Marquis Tereschenko, together was advanced in London through the Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) Grade at the Serapis Temple, with Apollon Leontas serving as Imperator and Desmond Bourke as Praemonstrator. Charters were issued transmitting multiple lineages, including numerous derivative Golden Dawn lineages. Returning from England armed with these authorizations, Tereschenko resurrected and reconsecrated the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in France, exactly 100 years after it had originally been founded by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1892.
Frater Lux Et Tenebris (2002)
Frater Lux Et Tenebris is a modern representative of the Contintental European secret alchemical society that earlier initiated both Kenneth MacKenzie and S.L. MacGregor Mathers. As did his predecessor during Mathers' time, Frater L.E.T. today also uses the motto, Lux E Tenebris. The true identity of Frater L.E.T. remains a carefully guarded secret. As has so often been case with the lines of transmission of lineages of the Golden Dawn, however, the family of the present Frater L.E.T. is also that of old, high Continental European nobility.
In 2002, Frater L.E.T. contacted leaders of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn David Griffin (Lux ex Septentrionis), 7=4, then initiated him in Paris. Griffin received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages that had been transmitted to MacKenzie and Mathers, together with esoteric transmissions and skeletal initiation rituals with which to found the "Third Order" that had since its inception in 1888 been intended to complete the Golden Dawn's "three order" system of grades.
These materials include the initiation rituals and complete curriculum for the Alpha et Omega's three highest grades (called "Magisteria"); Magister Templi (8-3), Magus (9=2) and Ipsissimus (10=1). Unlike the higher grades of R.W. Felkin's "Stella Matutina" or of A.E. Waite's "Fellowship of the Rosy Cross" these grades are not merely nominal or titular, but come with a vast esoteric corpus of extremely advanced teachings. This corpus includes not only the elementary sexual practices of Hermetic Inner Alchemy and Alchemical Magic given to Mathers in 1891 for the first Magisterium (Magister Templi), but also the continuation and culmination of these teachings for the second and third Magisteria (Magus and Ipsissimus) as well.
These techniques of Hermetic "Inner" Alchemy, which have nothing at all to do with Reuss, Crowley, or the O.T.O., comprise the highest wisdom and represent the capstone on the pyramid of the Western esoteric tradition. This alchemical practice uses the subtle fires of the body, including love and sexuality, to transmute the "lead" of the physical body (or "Prima Materia") into the "gold" of a solar body, into which the Adept projects his or her consciousness at the moment of death, thus becoming consciously immortal.
David Griffin (1955-)
David Griffin is Imperator Ordinis of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Chief Adept of the Golden Dawn's Second Order, the R.R. et A.C., and Archon Basileaus of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, which serves as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's aforementioned First and Second orders. Griffin is also a high grade Freemason (33, 90, 96 in the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim) a Gnostic Bishop (holding multiple lines of affiliation), an initiate of several other Continental European secret societies whose names remain secret. Griffin additionally holds a vast array of Rosicrucian initiatic transmissions, which include the Gold und Rosenkreutz Order, the Asiatic Brethren, the Societas Rosicruciana of Backstrom, Reaux Croix, and the Rose Cross of Egypt (Rose Croix d'Orient), and the of the Frères Ainées de la Rose Croix (F.A.R.+C.).
From 1992-1994, Cris Monnastre regularly initiated and advanced David Griffin into each of the Grades of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at the Alpha et Omega II temple in Los Angeles, then into the Portal and Adeptus Minor grades of the R.R. et A.C.
In 1994, Cris Monnastre was involved in a schism. Griffin sided with Monnastre and became Imperator Ordinis of the Monnastre's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1998, Cris Monnastre retired from the Golden Dawn, leaving Griffin in charge. In 1999, Griffin was advanced through the 7=4 Grade of the Golden Dawn's Second Order (R.R. et A.C.) at the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in Paris. The lineages descending from Desmond Bourke, Countess Bourkoun, and Marquis Tereschenko are transmitted to Griffin, who takes the initiatic name of Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis. Griffin's Golden Dawn order (formally Monnastre/Griffin's) was merged into the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, henceforth presided over by GH Frater LeS (David Griffin), GH Frater DeDI (Jorge Hevia) and GH Frater AVO, as its international Chiefs.
In 2002, Griffin met in Paris with Frater L.E.T., representing the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers referred to as the "Secret Chiefs." Griffin receives the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi and to Mathers by Lux E Tenebris, as well as an esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the "Third Order" that had since its inception been intended to complete the "three order" system of the Golden Dawn.
The Myth of a "Regardie Golden Dawn" Lineage
The publications of Israel Regardie, unfortunately, have recently engendered a host of modern, American groups on the Internet calling themselves "Golden Dawn," but having no connection to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in Europe in 1888. The teachings of these Regardie-based groups derive almost without fail, entirely from the Golden Dawn material published by Israel Regardie, which dead-ends partially through the Adeptus Minor (5=6) level. In desperate mover to give themselves an air of legitimacy, certain Regardie-based groups have deliberately created a myth of a "Regardie Golden Dawn lineage." Such a notion, however, is highly problematic. Israel Regardie knew that he had no authority to initiate or grant a charter to anyone and honestly admitted this on numerous occasions, including in the attached letter. To begin with, Regardie was never even initiated in the Golden Dawn but rather only in the schismatic Stella Matutina, founded by former Golden Dawn Adept turned rogue, R.W. Felkin. Moreover, Regardie was never granted dispensation to initiate anyone by the G.H. Chiefs of the Stella Matutina and certainly had no authority to grant any sort of charter or even to consecrate a Vault of the Adepti.
Fully aware of these facts, Israel Regardie nonetheless did consecrate a Vault of the Adepti in 1982 in order to initiate his student, Cris Monnastre, into the Adeptus Minor (5=6) grade. These events provided fertile soil for a myth of a "Regardie Golden Dawn lineage" to be deliberately cultivated by certain Regardie-based groups following Regardie's death. It should be noted that, in his life, Regardie only had four students. These were Cris Monnastre, William Kennedy, Larry Epperson (Adam Forrest), and Alan Miller (Christopher Hyatt). Regardie never endorsed any "Regardie-based" Golden Dawn group or order, although this imprimatur has been putatively claimed by a variety of organizations following his death.
One could potentially argue with some legitimacy that Israel Regardie has become the progenitor of his own occult school with its own lineage deriving exclusively from Israel Regardie, as is the case with numerous lineages deriving from teachers in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism in the East. In this limited sense, the Regardie-based groups could perhaps honestly claim a "Regardie lineage." Dishonesty enters and public confusion arises, however, when Regardie-based groups deliberately attempt to conflate such a "Regardie lineage" with a "Golden Dawn" lineage, which by his own clear admission, was never Regardie's to bestow.
Trademarks and Lineage
Our order, the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, is a direct lineal descendent of the original H.O.G.D. (founded in Britain in 1888) and the sole and exclusive owner of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® trademark in the European Union (reg. 000063925). We additionally own the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn International® trademark in Canada (CIPO Reg. TMA510387). In the United States, we operate by legal agreement adopted by the United States District Court as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega.®