Monday, 12 October 2009

Vochi, One of Bradford's Great Pretenders?

I've mentioned Vochi here because he so craved fame and attention and would go to inordinate lengths to get it. Having said all that I think he was a snob, despite the fact that at the time I knew him he lived in a bedsit in Manningham, Bradford, but that didn't stop him getting grants for writing and I am given to understand he did some recordings with Red Rhino Records in York. He was one of those people you'd see, year after year,walking round town in a black leather suit or boots with silver platforms, like a peacock, with a dowdy peahen girlfriend in tow. Then he disappeared, either he cut his hair, got a car and moved to the suburbs, or he left Bradford. He's probably not even called Vochi anymore!

The reason he is mentioned here is because he was an unusual, though not very pleasant person. I think I tried to understand him, but some people have such big egos that it is impossible to have any kind of relationship with them. He claimed to have an interest in the paranormal. There was a bit of a scandal which was mentioned in the papers of the time, when a vicar banned a play Vochi had written from being performed in the local church hall. I'm sure it is easy to understand why that would be!

'Dracula' at Bradford Playhouse & Film Theatre

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Freemasons and Other Groups

My great uncle was a Mason, he was also a lot of other things including a nice old chap, he really was kind too. My grandfather belonged to the Ancient Order of Buffaloes and my brother was a member of the Round Table, his wife being a member of the Ladies Circle.

When I was fourteen I attended a 'family night' at a Freemasons lodge in Leeds, along with my brother, his wife and their friends, the invite coming from Brian who was Worshipful Master of this particular lodge at that time and a friend of my brother.

We played cards in the ceremonial 'court room', where there was a black and white chess board carpet on the floor. My cards partner, Mike and myself sat at a cards table and played against another pair, before moving to the next table and playing again. There were quite a few card tables set up and you played and moved to the next table. I wasn't really sure what game we were playing but my cards partner, Mike and myself won a prize at the end which was officially awarded downstairs, where a party was held.

Because Brian was the Grand Worshipful Master and we were his guests, we got a few privileges such as using his downstairs room as a cloakroom. On the wall was a long black and white framed photo of a lot of men in pinnies.

What I never liked, even as a young person, was all this men's stuff. It was all about men and men being powerful, women being mere decorations. If you look around you, it doesn't matter if a man is old, or fat, he simply doesn't care, because no one sees this as a mortal sin, hes a MAN, it doesn't matter. But a woman on the other hand, is persecuted for her size and weight, or her age, her insecurities fed by a thousand adverts to make her feel she is not good enough in her own skin. So she becomes a pawn to the will of a man.

This is not a feminist request for a rantidote, merely a request for true equality; a few years ago, an educational publishers published an article of mine in one of their books about ageism towards women.

Unfortunately men's clubs and men's societies even today act as a barrier towards giving women equal rights. Yes there are now token women members of many groups but its not quite the same thing as having had EQUAL rights from the start.

The pictures show degree ceremony staffs of a different Order (such as 60° x 3 = 180°) and there we have an equilateral triangle or is it a pyramid? I suppose you could meditate upon this triangle or put an eye in it, or walk through it and end up in Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, great book, a childhood favourite).

Lets hope the New Dawn washes away old prejudices.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Followers Of The Astral Path

The Golden Dawn and its offshoots hold the fascination of many across the globe. Pop and rock acts have called their bands 'The Golden Dawn', 'Secret Chiefs' and 'Dion Fortune' to name but a few examples.

One strange email discovered last Thursday afternoon was from a man who said he still held the 'rights' to the name Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn in Bradford. We explained that an area may hold several churches of the same name e.g. St Mary's or St Peter's but that didn't make one more valid or less worthy than the other. The man said he was a member of the Ciceros, so we checked this out as well as the various other Horus Temple's around the globe and also The group which calls itself The Golden Dawn in the UK.

A lot of workings are based on Israel Regardie's publication of Stella Matutina work, an offshoot of the Golden Dawn of which Dion Fortune was once a member. As Israel Regardie was born in 1907 he wasn't even around when the original Golden Dawn were running and the magical papers he obtained were from the Stella Matutina who in any case had adapted many of the Golden Dawn's truly original rites. Below are are quite a lot of links to troll through for anyone who wants to examine this fact. In other words, all groups in existence today could be said not to be the true Golden Dawn of yesteryear even if they have copied and even perfected many or even all the rites, which were constantly being changed even in the time of Westcott and Mathers.

We think the Golden Dawn should belong to the People as it is a part of living history and not just to an elite and wealthy chosen few who have the money and means. Many people are not professionally well connected enough to become Freemasons and the original Golden Dawn was full of theatre people, artists and writers, many of them women who would not have been allowed to be Masons in those days. Basically it was for people with enquiring minds, who wanted more from life than what they saw in front of them.

Mathers and his wife Moina (originally Mina) were actually quite poor for much of their lives and at one time were supported financially by tea heiress Annie Horniman. Pamela Colman Smith died in acute poverty in 1951 and was always short of money during her lifetime, even in her younger days as a starlet painter.

Then you have to look at the fact that however clever the rituals, they didn't do many of the members of magical orders a lot of good in the long run, Dion Fortune died suddenly of undiagnosed leukaemia, despite being hailed even today as one of the most famous Occultists in the world, when she could go out on the astral planes all the time, why didn't she know she was ill and why didn't one of her Great Masters try to help her? Also, why was Mathers conned by some some people purporting esoteric knowledge they didn't have, if he was such an Ippissimus as everyone thought?

None of these people were very good at curing or assisting in the healing of illnesses it would seem, despite all their magic. That, overall, is a very serious flaw in the system. If Mathers could apparently call up and view an Archangel - did he really have that right and what did he want to do it for anyway? - then why couldn't he and all his followers after him cure illness? If they were that good they should have been putting their talents to work in hospitals, mass healing the sick and also saving lives and stopping wars. (Or they could have joined S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and ruled the world, were it not for James Bond!) Remember the cult 60s TV show, The Champions, featuring Craig Stirling, Sharon Macready and Richard Barrett, characters granted perfected human abilities by a secret Tibetan advanced civilisation? Doing good for the people. So why was this not the case with the original Golden Dawn posse?

Although many of them are famous, it never quite really happened for them, heavily bringing their rituals, however fantastical, in to serious question as to why they did not do more good both for the users and for mankind in general, since they purported to be taking orders from 'Secret Chiefs' or Great Masters elsewhere on elevated planes. Maybe they misinterpreted what they believed they were meant to do?

And for the record...

August 21, 2009
On August 21, 2009 and September 29, 2009, respectively, we inadvertently photographed crosses in the sky in roughly similar areas of Bradford, both photographed by accident, when testing the camera and not seen until later – Golden Dawn symbol crosses seen early evening 'As the moon is rising give us the sign?' Is this the sign that we are meant to run the new Temple of Horus in Bradford, be it in our own contemporary, non traditional way, despite what anyone else may say?

September 29, 2009
Two other things happened, last Thursday (October 1). It seemed in my imagination that I was wearing a long cloak entirely made of blue and green feathers and I felt like I was wearing a headdress of feathers and the head of a bird with a yellow beak, as if I had become a bird priest. The image was so strong that I felt compelled to do a quick abstract painting of this bird image that evening. We again took this as a sign that we were on the right track with our new Golden Dawn Temple of Horus in Bradford, though the bird may have been a representation of Quetzalcoatl. The second thing that happened, was that a new book I had bought, still in a wrapper and not even read, fell open at an old photograph of a person wearing a hood, long robe and holding a finger to their mouth. Underneath this photograph is the caption 'The Sign of Horus: SILENCE.' Enough Said?

Quoting The Guide to Mysterious Iona and Staffa, by Geoff Holder;
'The members of the notoriously fissiparous magical groups were always in dispute…their entire lives seemed to be spent in a tragic-comic round of seeking elevated spiritual states, acquiring high faluting titles, and wallowing in base hatreds.'

Quoting Jo and Pete, who commented on an earlier post;
'A lot of what I have seen on the internet about the temple is not true: I was involved in clearing up the attic room in the late 1980's when it was owned by a friend of mine (Sirag). There were also connections to the old St James market, which was the repository of the ritual implements and I had the sword from the temple when the market was pulled down. I have kept rubbings of the ritual markings of the sword, which was identified as the Horus sword by Bob Gilbert (GD historian).'

Followers of the Astral Path

Stella Matutina

The August Order of Light

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1888)

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Inc.

Chic Cicero

Friday, 21 August 2009

Jesus Shining Light Over Bradford?

This rather miraculous photo of a large, shining luminous white cross in the sky was taken by the writer of this blog at 1841hrs, on Friday, August 21, 2009, at a retail park near Bradford Cathedral. I held the phone camera up in the air and photographed towards the sun whilst looking in the opposite direction. I was taking a number of photos and found this one literally less than half an hour ago, whilst going through my snaps. I think it is truly esoteric and perhaps even Holy, as it was in the vicinity of the Bradford Cathedral. Strange indeed.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pamela Colman Smith and the Golden Dawn in Bradford

Corinne Pamela Colman Smith born February 16, 1878, Pimlico, London, died September 18, 1951, Bude, Cornwall, England is most remembered for the fact that she designed the Rider-Waite Tarot, travelled with the Lyceum Theatre Company headed by Sir Henry Irving (who's manager was Bram Stoker, author of Dracula) Ellen Terry and with influence from Florence Farr.

Pamela Colman Smith had a Jamaican mother and American father and she both toured and lived in Britain and America as well as spending substantial time in Jamaica. There are a number of grossly contradictory reports about her life, but it is known that one of her cousins was the actor William Gillette and another of her relatives wrote the Uncle Remus Br'er Rabbit stories.

None of this however did Pamela much good. She was nicknamed 'Pixie' and is mentioned in the 1907 book Bohemia in London by Arthur Ransome under the name of 'Gypsy'. Men seemed fascinated by her but, none seemed to want to marry her. When she died, her companion was Mrs Norah Lake, her friend of many years. Was it that Pamela was not interested in men, or was it that men saw her as a pretty exotic plaything but not marriage material?

There is much flowery frivolity about Pamela. Secretly, she probably hated being called Pixie and most likely left her bohemian life and Occultism behind because she was unfulfilled.

Her supposed friend, John Butler Yeats actually wrote some rather rude things about her and her father and also said she could not paint. Good job he never met David Hockney then, a figure despised by many a ten year old artist. If you are well known you can paint rubbish, if you are unknown you are rubbish. All looks yellow (or perhaps gold) to the jaundiced eye; why are we all here? - Because we are not all there! Why is David Hockney considered an artist? Nobody knows. The New Golden Dawn personal mottos of the 21st Century, who needs Latin? These days, Mozart would not be allowed to teach music because he would not hold a degree in music! Shakespeare couldn't teach literature for the same reason.

We've depicted Pamela Colman Smith as an angry lady. The Pixie turned angry; E.T. Unfulfilled and unforgiving of those who snubbed her. They must have done for she allegedly died in poverty in 1951, her goods sold to pay debts. A sad end to a life that originally held so much promise.

Selected References to Pamela Colman Smith

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Minutes of the Second Meeting of the New Bradford Golden Dawn

Discussion of the book - James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, questioning the role of the wizard, the bad aunts,the giant peach and James. Is this story some sort of allegory and how can it be applied to other everyday situations? What would have happened if the peach was an orange and would the outcome have been the same? The second meeting of the New Bradford Golden Dawn took place on August 7, 2009.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Minutes of the Meeting of The Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn

The first meeting of the Bradford Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn in the 21st Century took place on July 29, 2009. We have resurrected The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn's Horus Temple in Bradford West Yorkshire, now called The New Society of the Golden Dawn.

Topics that came up for discussion were the desecration of the old Horus Temple, but we understand that after so many years this may happen. Members watched a YouTube video regarding the desecration. A cleansing reaction was undertaken by members of the meeting which broke up soon after with a decision to look in to these matters further. Various esoteric systems and beliefs were also discussed at the meeting.

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Golden Dawn in Bradford

The history of The Golden Dawn in Bradford was to a great extent controlled by Mr Thomas Henry Pattinson, leader of the Bradford Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn and later, co-leader together with Dr Edwards, of The August and Oriental Order of Light Garuda, based on the teachings of a Mr Portman who had spent much time in India and who revived the Indian Cult of Garuda, the bird God of Hindu and Buddhist religions. Mr Pattinson was also a very prominent Theosophist, following the teachings of Madam Blavatsky.

The kingpin to all this was Dr William Wynn Westcott, a Freemason, Theosophist and one of the founders of The Golden Dawn along with Dr Woodman and Mr Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Dr Westcott visted Bradford, in West Yorkshire frequently and also attended meetings of the Theosophical Society in Bradford. He knew Mr Pattinson and it was Dr Westcott who authorised the setting up of both The Golden Dawn Temple of Horus in Bradford and also later persuaded Mr Pattinson to co-head The August and Oriental Order of Light Garuda, along with Dr Edwards, with the agreement of Mr Portman who had studied the teachings of the Cult of Garuda in India.

There are many conflicting stories about exactly what went on. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bradford, West Yorkshire was bursting with very earnest mystical societies.

One version of the Bradford Horus Temple re-surfaced again in 1983, when Salvo and Sindy IIardi discovered it in the attic of their newly purchased restaurant, New Gobbles, the event was even mentioned in The New York Times, as the fame of the discovery had spread. Mr and Mrs IIardi tried to re-furbish the temple to turn in to a local heritage landmark. Although the temple was clearly a replica of the original Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn, confusingly, it had also been used as a Garuda Temple. The original Garuda Temple was in premises at Kings Arcade, Bradford, (now demolished) and had the Garuda painted on the back wall in place of Horus, the art work done by a lady who had spent much time in India.

By 1984, Mr and Mrs IIardi had ordered ceremonial magical equipment for display and had parts of the temple repainted. One expert brought in, insisted the original paintings were from the early 1900's, but had been replenished in the 1950's. Predictably, the IIardis ran out of money and left the premises, their dream unrealised and the important find largely unrecognised after the original bursts of publicity.

Curiously, the author of the piece was witness to the temple during a visit to the building in 1986. It is now understood that there remains little to suggest the property at Godwin Street, Bradford, was once home to such a significant faction within the occult fraternity.