Monday, June 13, 2011

Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order, 1887-1923 by Ellic Howe

....While affording the subject all the dignity it's due, Howe's thorough treatment of the Golden Dawn's history reveals a trulyh ilarious tale of deception, cross-deception, power struggles and self-delusion which is part of modern occult history. It is fascinating to watch the fabrications of the Order take on a life of their own, until even the protests of the myth's creators cannot stop the process....This is a lesson to all would-be Rosicrucians, about how easy it is to fall prey to our need to believe in things that are both powerful, and tantalizingly forbidden. This is an example of the drama that sweeps the susceptible into mind-bending fits of fanaticism.....Hopefully we can learn from the example of the G.D.. It serves to illustrate the importance of restraining our desire to believe when it threatens the pursuit of authentic information....Even if every other aspect of the book is ignored, Howe's thorough tracing of the G.D.'s known documents and mythos provides a guide for tracing many hoaxes and commonly traded "occult" beliefs back to their sources, as well as identifying those real legends upon which they based their fabrications. Definitely a must-read for anyone considering Masonic or other occult pursuits.

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