Thursday, January 7, 2010

Interview With Nick Farrell Part 1

As promised, here is the next interview in my "Golden Dawn Interview Series". A big thanks to Nick for taking the time to share his thoughts. After talking with him I realized he is a veritable Golden Dawn machine! ...full of zeal and motivation. For the enjoyment of my readers and the community at large I am posting the entire interview in two parts due to its length. I hope you enjoy...If you haven't yet, please read my first interview with Samual Scarbarough, some questions are the same, but I think its nice to hear a variety of viewpoints on similar topics in our community.

What was it that first interested you in magic? and Why did you choose the Golden Dawn System?

I was interested in religion as a kid but something about the art and idea of magic drew me in. I was always imaginative and found that exoteric religion was simply too shallow and proscriptive. The Golden Dawn attracted me because it was a complete magical system. I trained in groups that were derived from Dion Fortune and I always had the feeling that while such systems were good at some things they were not complete. This left the teachers free to add bits that they though were important which meant that other ideas came unstuck. The GD gives you a map and then it says “start from here”, while other groups I found would give you a jigsaw puzzle with the corners lost down the back of the sofa.

Were there certain changes in personal growth that you expected to see? Where these accomplished? If so, how quickly after being initiated?

I didn't expect any personal changes really, just development. I had been working in the magical tradition since I was 17 and was initiated into a Golden Dawn order when I was 33. I knew a lot but there was no structure on which to build. However there were some changes at key points in the grade system. The outer order of the GD is about becoming yourself as an individual and being confident about that. I think that during my period on the outer I evolved from someone who sat back and learnt other people's views to someone who was happy to express his own ideas. I became 'famous' for actually saying what I think and comfortable projecting those ideas in writing or standing up in front of people. This caused problems for some. I have a nasty knack of not doing what I was told and there is my sense of humour which I like but some people take seriously. My 5=6 was the most dramatic initiation I experienced though and that caused a personality change where the different aspects of myself fused together. It did not last but now I notice there is a 'plugged in' Nick Farrell and one which is ordinary and a bit weaker.

How would you describe spiritual growth in the GD system?

It is furry, with a few spots and tends to like chocolate :-) Actually it is like most forms of spiritual growth. It is hard work that requires sacrifice. People make the mistake of thinking the GD is about intellectual understanding and long involved rituals. It can be that. There a lot of people who sit there and pontificate for hours about the Geomatria of the Supreme Ritual of the Pentagram and its relationship to the spiritual alchemy of the godforms of Atum-Re but cannot do a lesser ritual of the pentagram if a demon was burning hoof prints into the carpet. However there are also those who do and they are the most fun to work with.

It seems many mystical traditions have similarities in mystical experiences, as well as ones that are primarily within their tradition…how would you describe the spiritual experience of the Golden Dawn?

It depends on the person. Each person has inside them a key to a part of the rainbow that is God. I think they find that and then find that they have deal with the other colours too. No one's rainbow is ever complete but it is theirs and they are happy with it. I would like to say that you see into the gates of infinity and touch the throne of heaven and certainly I have had spiritual experiences like that. More often though it is seeing the colours of god in your daily life and knowing what to mix to get the image you want.

What have you found the biggest pitfall in the Great Work and what advice do you have to give about overcoming it?

Believing that you are small. It is easy to think you are small when you stand on the rim of a small galaxy before the infinity of space. To make matters worse we have religions and other people tell us that we are at the bottom of a spiritual ladder two steps up from plankton. However the way I see it we are meant to be co-creators with infinity and you don't get that sort of job by thinking small.

Have you had what can be described as “peak experiences” of consciousness while doing magic or as an effect of magic, for example Unified Consciousness, one-pointed awareness, out of body experiences, levitation, etc…if so could you please describe a meaningful one? Have you found these to be common within people who study magic and the Golden Dawn?

I think they are overrated, certainly as a mark of spiritual progress. I mark diaries of students who tell me they have had them but you are left with thinking “well now what?”. A spiritual experience is not worth much if you can't do much with it. While most of the time it is people trying to impress you, generally these experiences are like electricity arcing in the darkness. It is all very impressive but it is not going to cook your dinner or light your home. The ones that get on my nerves is the person who tells you they have had a spiritual experience but say they don't have words describe it. I usually tell them to write a poem or draw a picture as art brings the experience down the levels. If they can't, and the experience does not translate into changes in their life it is not doing anyone any good.

How has the Great Work changed for you over the years?

When I started out I was a small child looking at the sky and it all felt too big. Now it is an adventure.

Have you found the Golden Dawn system to work with other systems…do you advocate using it with other systems…such as Eastern traditions?

In the west there are few traditions that do not owe something to the Golden Dawn. Most of the time they work together ok. The Eastern system doesn't. The GD founders were over awed by the Eastern systems and some of it found its way into the tradition. But I think if they looked harder they would find the same thing in the West which worked better. I use the Eastern godform techniques with Western gods and some of the breathing techniques. But I don't use charkas and some of the stuff on the aura. I prefer the western idea of the Sphere of Sensation which is similar.

Are there any particular techniques in the system that you believe are absolutely necessary to master for personal and spiritual growth?

Regular meditation work. Ironically it is the one thing that many GD schools think is pointless and few enforce. However if a person is not doing regular meditation work they would be better off watching a nice video.

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