What really is the "Tradition" of the Golden Dawn? Some would say its the magical techniques passed from teacher to student, some might describe it as a special Current that flows through the Orders, some might say it is a system of core beliefs that the Golden Dawn is based in. Arguably, you could say it is all of these...however I believe that our wonderful system is filled with something much more precious that gives the Golden Dawn its "Tradition", an essence that reaches above the physical and is thus beyond all of these things which I stated above and more.
The problem with some of the more terrestrial answers such as 'its teachings", "its Current" "its beliefs"etc...is that although each of these come attached with a lofty ideal they are still imperfect in that they in their nature can still be used to defile the system or another. How many times have we seen on the internet and possibly even within our own Orders that a person has used the words "Golden Dawn Tradition" to either support their own views or even nay say another's.
Today I recieved a post which stated "This whole idea that within the GD there is voting is ridiculous...Voting does not exist in the Golden Dawn in any Order that I know of....I want to make it clear that in the Golden Dawn Tradition there is no voting. I know this offends Americans, but the Golden Dawn is a Hierarachy not a monarchy or a democracy"
Now for someone who is power hungry or seeks to place themselves above others, this statement may sound like the Holy Grail...hot damn! and you can use the words "Golden Dawn Tradition" all the way to the bank, into some girls pants and more! All you have to do is start your own GD Order and state "Tradition!"
But, the real root of the Golden Dawn, the singular aspect that every "tradition", ritual, and belief is based on is not a tradition at all...its the spiritual goal of becoming one with the True Self/ The Higher Genius. This is the only thing that one should base their personal development on. The one question one should constantly be asking themselves is..."Is this ______(fill in the blank) going to bring me to union with my Higher Genius?".
And I hate to break it to the power hungry peeps out there... but only you can know, and it is your duty to find out how to do that. Allowing anyone to use the excuse that something is part of a tradition in order to make you go against what is your proper path in life will do nothing but take you further from the Truth and cause you and others ultimate pain. And sometimes, when one is going through their alchemical growth one must shun the old and bring in the new. Like Osiris, there comes a time when one must die to the old so they can be reborn again. Only you can know...and how do you know?
This is a legitimate question because everyone who is apart of a spiritual path must know how to make decisions for their spiritual growth otherwise one would put all their faith in symbols, persons, and other outside entities to save you, when your Higher Genius in from the realm within. You must learn how to validly determine what your dharma is. Following are a few things that I have witnessed over my years as a magician to be some of the most effective tools in this process.
1. Divination- I often tell my 0=0 students that if they can only focus on one magical technique in the Outer Order besides their banishings this is it. Divination is an indispensible tool to the magician. Not only does a Tarot Reading allow you to see the influences surrounding a situation but the process of divination itself allows one to develop the Nechamah. It is through the Nechamah that a magician becomes truly intouch with their higher intuition. The process of invoking higher forces to guide you in your divination allows one to connect to their Higher Self, and the process of doing the readings themself help one to hone their skills in discrimination. Tarot doesn't come easy for everyone, it can take a lot of practice. I was not very good at Tarot when I first started but after diligently practicing one day the cards "opened themselves up like a book" the power from it was profound. Tarot of course is not the only from of divination available, pick what works best for you and use it.
2. Contemplation. The best mind is a quiet mind. When all else fails, your True Self is there...waiting to open itself up to you. The best way to hone this skill is through meditation. Meditation allows ones thoughts to settle and one's Essence to be present untainted by emotion, thoughts, perceptions, or judgements. Medititation as well can seem like a daunting task as well, but it in fact one of the most natural states of consciousness. The key to meditation is non-attachment. One should just let themself be. Just allow yourself to sit and watch. Mantras can be used to help the particularly unruly mind. If using a mantra say it once and then allow your mind to bring the word into the forefront of your consciousness when it wants...just let the thoughts settle, and if they present themselves see them as you would a house as you pass by in a car...notice it and don't give it any mind. By practicing meditation even for a few minutes a day you will be able not only to gain a deeper sense of knowlege in the universe to guide you through your spiritual path...but you will also empower your magic greatly.
3. Get Someone's Opinion, The A Second, Then A Third...although its easy to get caught in a group mentality when you are apart of a spiritual community, it is also important to remember that you are apart of a world-wide community. Don't forget that everyone and anyone can be your teacher, from a child to a pet, to a homeless person, to the person behind you in the grocery store. Just as well, when your going along your spiritual path you should not let yourself get so focused on the opinions of only one type of person that you forget there are other perspectives.
4. Stay balanced. In the Golden Dawn the Magician Card shows the picture of the enlightened mage standing above an alter with representations of the four elements upon it. The magician learns while going through the Outer Order that he must balance the elements within himself as the start of mastering the self. Yes, the start. This is your foundation, and building this foundation firmly and within your Sphere of Sensation will give you the ability to genuinly determine the future of your spiritual path. It is through this balance that one can then begin work with the Metals or Alchemical Symbols present in Adepthood.
So much more can be said on this topic...but as always there is so little time.
Nosce te Ipsum