Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Sentinel Beyond 0=0, Part 1

In the modern Golden Dawn community, it is commonly believed that the Sentinel is not present after the 0=0 (or, in some cases, after the 1=10), but there is a significant body of evidence that shows that this was not the case in the original Order, that, in fact, the Sentinel stood outside the door of the Hall for all grades of the Outer Order.

Before we explore this evidence, let us consider some of the reasons why the Sentinel "dropping out" has become the status quo:

1. The vast majority of ritual scripts, including the redacted Stella Matutina texts printed in Regardie's book, do not mention the Sentinel in 1=10 and above. In most cases, when the Kerux or Hegemon is asked to check if the Hall is properly guarded, the rubrics simply say "Done," "Does so," "This is done," "Having done so," or something equally vague. In some cases, no rubric is given at all.

2. There is an established pattern of officers dropping out at particular grades (Stolistes and Dadouchos after 1=10, and Kerux after 2=9), and since Sentinel is the only office that can be held by a 0=0, it can be inferred that he or she likewise drops out after 0=0. This inference is even found in footnotes in Regardie's book.

3. There are proposed magical reasons based on the above pattern, one of which I have seen being the idea that the Sentinel is essentially "absorbed" by the Candidate after 0=0, and then Stolistes and Dadouchos are "absorbed" after 1=10, and so forth. Thus, the Candidate essentially takes on these roles him or herself in higher grades.

All of the above may seem quite compelling at first, but there are significant flaws with all three points:

Firstly, the lack of clarity in the rubrics does not, in fact, intimate that the Sentinel is not present, but rather that the process of checking if the Hall is properly guarded is simply done. I would argue that in places where the text does not specify directions, it is expected that the members would follow the previously instructed procedure, which, in this case, is given in the 0=0. In other words, the Kerux gives one knock, which is answered by the Sentinel.

Secondly, the pattern of officers who drop out from the ceremonies already has a major issue, because the Hegemon, whose office can be held by a 3=8, does not drop out after 3=8. That office is kept on for 4=7, and must be held by a 4=7 then. 

This also affects the proposed magical reasons for officers dropping out, because only the Stolistes, Dadouchos and Kerux actually drop out of the ceremonies. If the idea was that the Candidate "absorbs" each office as he or she goes through the ceremonies, why does the pattern suddenly stop halfway through? While I can see potential explanations for this, the point is that the noted pattern is not consistent, and thus cannot alone be used as a basis for the Sentinel following suit.

It is also important to consider the fact that dropping the Sentinel after 0=0 (or 1=10) effectively leaves the Hall unguarded for those higher grades, which is not a good thing practically, symbolically, or magically. This certainly would not follow the protocol established by either Freemasonry or the SRIA (both of which heavily influenced the GD), where the Tyler and Acolyte guard the door for all of the ceremonies.

Now, let us consider the actual evidence for the Sentinel remaining for all five Outer Order grades:

1. Crowley's handwritten copies of the rituals explicitly show that the Sentinel gives an answering knock to that given by the Hegemon, in the case of the 3=8 and 4=7, as shown below:

The Sentinel is also mentioned in the closing of the above ceremonies.

In the case of 1=10, the Sentinel is not mentioned, but then neither is the knock given by the Kerux (the Kerux simply says that the Hall is properly guarded, with no rubrics). For 2=9, the Sentinel is not mentioned, but the knock by the Kerux is. Since the Sentinel is shown to be present in 3=8 and 4=7, however, the logical conclusion is that the Sentinel is also present for 1=10 and 2=9.

2. One copy of the 1=10, originally copied in 1896 and then revised by the rebels in 1901, has the typical "having done so" crossed out, with the knock of the Kerux and Sentinel added in.

While an argument could be made that this is a change implemented by the rebels (there are a number of changes elsewhere), I would argue that, in this case, it is actually just a clarification of the implied instructions.

Further, a typed copy of the 1=10 script, from the Amoun Temple of the Stella Matutina, clearly has the Sentinel giving an answering knock to the one given by the Kerux.

Further still, while my own copies of the Whare Ra (Smaragdum Thalasses) rituals do not mention the Sentinel, Pat Zalewski argues in his Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries book that "the Office of Sentinel is not dropped after the Neophyte ceremony," and that copies from both the original Golden Dawn and Whare Ra "clearly state this officer is present." (p. 189, footnote).

3. A lecture given by Brodie-Innes in 1895 on the 1=10 grade explicitly shows the presence of the Sentinel in Zelator:
"But it is the Sentinel, the Watcher Without, who prepares you to enter. Blindfold the King enters upon his Kingdom, blindfold because he must enter in faith. By knowledge he can never enter, by pride of accomplishments and attainments he can never enter; for man may study his whole life, he may attain riches and honour, but he never by these means can attain to the kingship of his own body, but only by faith. Therefore he enters blindfold; and it is not the Hegemon, representative of Mercy and Equilibrium, but it is the Sentinel who keeps and guards the door without, who thus prepares him."

4. If we were to argue that the lack of mention of the Sentinel in most scripts means that the office is not present, the same argument could be made for the dais officers, who are typically not mentioned in the rubrics, and not shown in the temple diagrams.

Yet, we know from Z1 (and, indeed, the Cypher Manuscript) that no meeting can be held without at least one of the Chiefs, and that it is preferable if all three are present.

Further, the same 1=10 paper by Brodies-Innes cited above tells us:
"Now the Hierophant and the Chiefs of the Temple, sitting upon the Dais, represent to you powers recondite and occult powers beyond anything you can know or conceive of at present."

This, therefore, confirms the presence of the dais officers in 1=10, and, by logical conclusion, in the other Outer Order grades. Thus, the argument that they are not mentioned in the ritual scripts, and thus must not be present, has no basis in this instance. While the above is somewhat of an aside, this arguably applies to the Sentinel as well.

5. In the Exordium of the 1=10, a paper explaining the inner workings of the Zelator ceremony, which was given to Theorici Adepti Minores, it states:
"As in the 0=0 Grade, the Candidate is waiting in the care of the Sentinel, and the Hegemon is sent to superintend his preparation. All that was said to the ZAM may be now considered as repeated here."
See the next point for more on this.

6. In all five ceremonies of the Outer Order, the Hierophant instructs the Hegemon to "superintend the preparation" of the Candidate. To superintend something is to supervise, oversee, or administer it. It does not mean to actually perform it, but rather to ensure that it is properly performed by another.

Z3 explains this as follows:
"But the actual Preparation of the Candidate is performed by the Sentinel, the 'Watcher Without,' to show that this Preparation must be first accomplished before the establishment of Equilibrium can occur. Therefore doth the Hegemon superintend the preparation rather than perform it actually." (underlines in original)

While the above text relates specifically to the 0=0, it does highlight the difference between superintending and performing the preparation of the Candidate. Thus, if the Hegemon is to "superintend" in 1=10 and above, someone else (namely, the Sentinel) must perform the actual preparation.

The above should be sufficient to show that the Sentinel was, in fact, originally employed in all the Outer Order grades, and that the modern practice of dropping this office is an error, no matter what arguments may have subsequently been made to justify it.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Four Elemental Implements, Part 2

For many, making magical tools is a significant challenge, and for some it is even an obstacle. After all, not everyone has woodworking or metalworking skills, so the Elemental Implements can seem quite daunting.

Something that I found interesting when going through Ritual G was the wording for creating each of the implements. There is a subtle distinction between making/forming two of them (the Wand and the Pentacle) and adapting the remaining two from existing objects (the Dagger and the Cup).

For the Fire Wand, we are told that it is "convenient to make the wand of wood," though cane (or bamboo) with an existing hollow and notches presents an easy alternative. Yet either method requires some amount of assembly.

For the Air Dagger, we are told that "any convenient dagger, or knife, or sword may be adapted for this purpose; the shorter the better."

For the Water Cup, we are told that "any convenient clear glass cup may be adapted..."

Ritual G does not use either word in relation to the Earth Pantacle, but a Whare Ra (Smaragdum Thalasses) copy distinctly lists the following titles for each section:

The Construction of the Wand
The Adaptation of the Cup
The Adaptation of the Sword (referring to the Dagger)
The Formation of the Pentacle

This, to me, is rather interesting, because I think the Dagger is one of the primary stumbling blocks for many students in creating their own Elemental Implements. Yet if we can simply adapt "any convenient dagger," then that process is significantly easier.

Yet, when the modern student thinks of the Air Dagger, a particular shape comes to mind, based on the general shape shown in Regardie's book, where the hilt is somewhat curved forward. This appears to have become the most popular design of this implement, but, of course, it is not required.

In fact, the design shown in Ritual G is strikingly different, and much closer to that of the Sword, which is itself based on the design in the Key of Solomon. I provide an example of this below (without the Hebrew, etc.).

The original design of the Air Dagger given in Ritual G

Of course, it is important to recall the actual instructions in the text, which allow for an existing dagger to be adapted. Most daggers will be significantly plainer than the above diagram.

In fact, even for the Sword, which is also depicted like the image above (albeit with a longer blade), Ritual G tells us "the shape of hilt there given is not absolutely necessary." The same instruction clearly applies to the dagger (with historical examples coming in varying shapes).

These tools, therefore, do not have to be overly complex in form, and even the least skilled craftsman can adapt an existing dagger for use. Here is an example of one used by either Yeats or his uncle Pollexfen (it is not clear which, as there are images of another attributed to Yeats, which is very different, and much less crude).

© National Library of Ireland