The Holy Guardian Angel, the Golden Dawn and the Phoenix arising from the ashes are cognate terms. True discernment is made in the heart and not the reasoning mind alone. Thereby, truth can be known. This is the seat of what is called the True Will or Thelema.
The term, ‘Magick of Light’, owes to the Golden Dawn tradition established by Samuel Liddell MacGregor and Moïna Mathers, Wyn Westcott, William Woodman, Florence Farr and company. The deconstruction of that legacy was carefully prepared and set in motion by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones. It could be said that half a century later Kenneth Grant finished off completely the job they started. Or did he simply weave a seductively alluring tapestry, a fantastic veil to hide the real secret of the Golden Dawn from the profane—thus subtly doing the bidding of the ‘Secret Chiefs’ through darkly devious devices of his own imagining?
It was Grant that cleverly noticed the Golden Dawn expression of the reification of the Magick of Light as spelling ‘The Great L.I.E.’ (Light in Extension). This is a dualistic philosophical view to take, though in reality not much different from the rationalism of Crowley. Crowley littered his work with paradoxical assertions and negations, as did Grant, albeit in a very different style.
The dualistic denial of matter and proclamation of spiritual supremacy is nothing new; it was included in the knowledge of the syncretic Golden Dawn tradition. The Chaldean Oracles, attributed to the Persian sage Zoroaster, provide a fine example. The Upanishads are full of it. Strangely enough, everyone seems to be more or less in agreement that the (esoteric) way of the West differs from that of the East in so far as matter is not to be denied but transformed. The extraordinarily lurid works of Grant are as syncretic as those of any Golden Dawn. After all, he was not urging us to become Hindus or Buddhists. The ‘Typhonian tradition’ is usually taken to refer not to an ancient Egyptian pre-dynastic cult but to the legacy of Grant’s writings. The said writing embraces all manner of expressions, from an inverted view of the Golden Dawn, Grant’s extended use of Gematria, which he called ‘Creative Qabalah’, and on to Zen, Taoism, witchcraft, voodoo, demonology and even ufology.
The redoubtable Scientific Illuminism of Crowley is austere in comparison with the amorphous Nightside of Grant, but it continued the Golden Dawn tradition—after a fashion at least—in the declared aim of universalism. The universalism of the syncretic Golden Dawn was established at least a decade before the young Crowley was introduced to the household. It is perhaps unfortunate that he and other first wave Golden Dawn dissidents discarded elements of the tradition that were valuable and magically vital.
Holy Guardian Angel
While Grant proposed a way, if you can see it, that is essentially Against the Light, he nonetheless insisted, in his earlier writings at least, that one must attain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel before bravely immersing oneself in the demon worlds of the Qliphoth. And here is a strange thing to relate in view of the polemic against luminosity: the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is a hermetic, theurgic magical operation. The irony of Grant’s Tunnels of Set is that they lead nowhere; the longer one stays in the cloying labyrinth the further one is from the fragrance of the mystic rose.
The Holy Guardian Angel, a divine messenger that conveys direct mystical experience to the soul, is very much part of the Rosicrucian scheme of things. That means working the grades of the Golden Dawn as far as Tiphereth, the central solar radiance of the whole Tree of Life. At the foot of the Tree, coiled about the Kingdom of Malkuth, Thanatos and Eros weave the Ring-Pass-Not that mockingly bars all ways to the canopied couch of Logos and Agape.
Abridged from The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation.
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