Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are Golden Dawn Pagans Trying to Start a New WITCH WAR?

On the Heavens Within Earth blog and on HP Morgan Drake Eckstein's Gleamings from the Dawn blog, bizarre recent comments give the appearance that Golden Dawn members Eckstein and Peregrin (a Buddhist convert caught posing as Pagan while trashing the faith) are attempting to ignite a full blown WITCH WAR dragging the Pagan community into a decade old Golden Dawn conflict.

The incident began when Peregrin alleged on the Heavens Within Earth blog that Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento claims something or other about an alleged initiatic connection between Gerald Gardner and Italian occultism. The Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento Tradition immediately put rumors to rest with the publication of the following official clarification:
"Neither Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento nor The Great Rite make any claim whatsoever regarding any initiation of Gerald Gardner. Any statement made by any initiate contrary to this was clearly made in error."
In a fashion that has typified the Golden Dawn flame war throughout the last decade, for maximum strife stirring value, Peregrin repeated the original allegation on different venue, in this case on HP Morgan Drake Eckstein's Gleamings From The Dawn blog, to which Eckstein then replied:
"Hmmm, this reminds of how many times errorous information has been removed from [their] other claims. Sometimes I think it would be easier if they quit making claims, rather than correcting the ones that they make in error." [Note how Eckstein here deliberately conflates Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento Tradition with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (AO) although they are completely separate entities, the first being a Pagan religious Tradition and the second a secular, magical order outside the Pagan faith].
The additional Witch War tactics underlying this incident can be best understood in light of the decade old Golden Dawn flame war. Several of the rhetorical tactics that have been routinely used against the HOGD/AO and its leaders have been:
  1. HP Eckstein's present allegation, repeated over and over across multiple fora, blogs, websites, etc, that the HOGD/AO has somehow "shifted its story" over time, when in fact our order has been quite consistent all along.
  2. The frequent repetition of deliberate misrepresentations across various fora, websites, and blogs, ignoring all refutation, but instead merely repeating the same talking points, over and over, propaganda style. This has resulted in HOGD/AO having to refute the same unfounded allegations, over and over, ad nauseam. 
  3. Depriving through moderation HOGD/AO all right of rebuttal on the various fora, blogs, etc., where tactics 1 and 2 were being waged against our order as part of the ongoing flame war.
It is sad to witness Peregrin and HP Morgan Drake Eckstein suddenly reviving these failed Golden Dawn flame war tactics across the Blogoshpere. The time is long overdue for the Golden Dawn community to put all divisive flame war behind it once and for all - and to begin instead to heal the wounds left by over a decade of strife in our community.

The above exposition reveals the attempt of two Golden Dawn Adepts not merely to rekindle the Golden Dawn flame war, but also to drag the greater Pagan community into the conflict, escalating it into a full blown WITCH WAR. 

Admittedly, Frater Peregrin indeed reposted the official clarification as well, although he is at least guilty of reposting allegations across venues in a manner typical of the Golden Dawn flame war. Peregrin, therefore, may only be guilty of bashing Pagans yet again, although this time at least not posing as Pagan as he has done in the past. HP Morgan Eckstein, however, deliberately attempts to conflate the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (AO) with Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento Tradition.

Perhaps Peregrin and Morgan do not yet realize how the greater Pagan community is far less tolerant towards War-mongering Witches than the Golden Dawn community has been over the last decade. In the Pagan community, it is considered in extremely bad taste for one Pagan Tradition to wage Witch War against another, and War-mongering Witches may quickly find themselves shunned by the entire community.

Clearly, any attempt to drag the greater Pagan community into an old Golden Dawn conflict will not be well looked upon by the greater Pagan community. Attacking the Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento Pagan Tradition by attempting to conflate it with the purely secular, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (AO) clearly constitutes nothing other than WITCH WAR.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Historic Announcement Re: Pantheacon 2011

Pantheacon 2011 will be held February 18-21 at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, California. The description of events has now been made available on-line. I may now reveal my great pleasure, as International Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Alpha Omega), to have the honor to introduce and serve as interpreter for:

Diana of Benevento, Piemonte, Puglia, and Sicily
38th Arch Priestess, del Bosco Sacro Tradition of Stregheria

This will mark the first time in history that a sitting Arch Priestess of Strega has been sent by Elders of her Tradition from Italy to a major gathering of American Pagans. 

The "del Bosco Sacro" line of Arch Priestesses are traditional custodians of The Great Rite, greatly loved as ancient guardians of The Sacred Forest of Nemi, where once stood the temple of the Great Mother Goddess, Diana Lucina.

APS Diana will bless us with her presence and preside over the following events:

Historic Lecture:
The Great Rite & The True Sabbath
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 9:00 AM - Fir Room
Various occulted Branches, Traditions, and Clans of Italian Strega today cautiously begin to open to the outside world. Arch Priestess Diana & Dianus del Bosco Sacro emerge from concealment in Italy to unveil deeper mysteries of The Great Rite for Pagan couples. More than mere sexual union, The Great Rite leads to knowledge of the true Sabbath: conscious participation in the ecstasy of Universal forces. 
Introduction by Interpreter and Golden Dawn Imperator, David Griffin (Lupercus del Bosco Sacro). Anthropological commentary by Leslie McQuade (Aegeria del Bosco Sacro).

Historic Ritual:
Stregan Invocation Of Our Pre-Pagan Shamanic Roots
Sunday, February  1:30 - Pine Room
Direct from Italy, Arch Priestess Diana & Arch Priest Dianus del Bosco Sacro perform a ritual invocation from the del Bosco Sacro of Benevento Tradition. The intention of this invocation of our ancient Pagan ancestors is to bless of our modern Pagan movement and restore full nourishment from our common roots in the pre-Pagan Shamanism of the Great Mother Goddess in Paleolithic Continental Europe. Assistants: Interpreter & Golden Dawn Imperator, David Griffin (Lupercus del Bosco Sacro) and Anthropologist, Leslie McQuade (Aegeria del Bosco Sacro). Please note: the ritual has been adapted to be suitable for non-initiates. 

For more information, see: http:///

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua,
David Griffin
G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®

Bearing the torch of Diana Lucina,
Lupercus del Bosco Sacro of Benevento


Thursday, February 3, 2011

David Griffin Out Of The Broom Closet!

Members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Alpha et Omega), and others who know me, are aware how much I keep my personal religious faith a private matter. 

In the HOGD/AO, I stubbornly insist that religious preference, like sexual preference, race, creed, color, etc. should have no bearing on selection or advancement of initiates. It was only recently, while defending the reputation of Pagan scholar, Ben Whitmore, and his meticulously researched book, Trials of the Moon, that I first spoke out in public, albeit only vaguely, about my actual religious beliefs.

I have known for some time, however, that my days in the broom closet were numbered. I had hoped to keep this quiet for another couple of weeks, but compelling events have forced my hand and lead me, following tonight's celebration the ancient Pagan festival of Candelora, to openly and publicly proclaim my Stregan faith, once and for all.

On the schedule for Pantheacon, 2011, you will find an historic lecture set for 9:00 AM on Saturday, February 19, entitled The Great Rite and the True Sabbath by Arch Priestess Diana and Arch Priest Dianus of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento.

This is is the first time in history that any surviving Branch, Clan, or Tradition of Stregheria Italiana Antica, has sent a sitting Arch Priestess from Italy to address American Pagans at Pantheacon. The true magnitude of this event, however, lies in deeper mysteries of The Great Rite that Diana and Dianus bring with them to share with us.

Dianus & Diana del Bosco Sacro
What is not yet visible on the Pantheacon schedule is the role I play in all of this. As Diana and Dianus do not speak much English, I serve as their interpreter. Thus it will be my pleasure to present APS Diana and AP Dianus of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento to you at Pantheacon.

Secret History Revealed

In 1999, my publication of The Ritual Magic Manual, combined with our having reformed the Inner Order of the HOGD/AO to include Rosicrucian alchemy, attracted the attention of a certain Rosicrucian Internal College in Continental Europe. In 2002, this Internal Rosicrucian College transmitted to Jean-Pascal Ruggiu and myself the rituals and teachings that today comprise the Third Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega. 

It was through this Internal College that I first heard rumors of the underground survival of numerous branches, traditions, and clans of ancient Stregheria in Italy. These include the Animulari, Clan Nemorensino, Janare, Benandanti, Cogas (or Surbile), Strie, Magare, Anguane, Majare, Maiare, Masche, Bazure, and Clan Umbro. This was quite astonishing, considering so many Centuries of severe religious persecution intended to wipe out every vestige of ancient Paganism in Italy.

I was intrigued and set out immediately to attempt to make contact with them. Certain German alchemists agreed at least to try to aid me in this quest. Via the Internal College, they passed my inquiry to certain alchemists in Naples, Italy. This led at length to obtaining for me a letter of introduction to Arch Priestess Diana of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento provided by an elderly and influential Neapolitan alchemist.

Arch Priestess Diana
Over the years, I have grown close to Diana and Dianus. Following my initiation into Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento, they adopted me into the del Bosco Sacro family Tradition. They have become like parents to me and I have come to love them like blood relatives.

For years, I have remained silent about all of this. To convince elders of our Tradition to open to the outside world was no small task. In fact, due to continuing religious persecution in Italy,  most surviving Clans, Branches, and Traditions of Stregheria prefer to remain in the shadows even today. 

They likewise do not all approve of the Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento intiative. Nonetheless, Arch Priestess Diana and her family arrived in America on December 8, 2010 to establish Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento as an additional Tradition within the modern Pagan movement together with deeper mysteries of The Great Rite.

Diana and Dianus personify four lineages of Stregheria Italiana Antica: Janare of Benventano, Masca of Piemonte, Majara of Puglia and Maiare of Sicily. The title Grand Conservator of Stregan Faith and Traditions was bestowed on Dianus by Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento in recognition of Dianus' advanced spiritual attainment and of his essential role in preserving and transmitting the Stregheria Traditions of Janare of Benventano, Masca of Piemonte, and Majara of Puglia, and Maiare of Sicily.

There is no such thing as any sort of Grand Lodge, etc. in Italian Stregheria. Any and all titles of recognition are given exclusively at the local Tradition, Branch, Congregation, or Clan level. To avoid confusion, it is essential to clarify that Diana and Dianus in no way pretend to speak for any other Stregheria Tradition other than del Bosco Sacro of Benevento and the other Stregan lineages they embody.

It was recently asked why the initial High Clergy of our Tradition in America employs magickal names derived from Stregherian Goddesses and Gods. Diana, Dianus, Aegeria and Lupercus are, of course, not our real magical names.

These names were provided by elders of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento for public use in conjunction with our mission in America. They correctly foresaw problems in the accomplishment this mission, including magical attack. We were instructed to use these Divine names in all public aspects of our mission. This precaution is a but small piece of an enormous castle of protection magically erected to guard every aspect of our mission.

The principle mission of Diana and Dianus is to bring the deeper mysteries of The Great Rite out into the open here in America. To this end, Diana and Dianus already offer initiation and training in The Great Rite, including Egyptian Sexual Alchemy and the Shamanic Sexuality.

The del Bosco Sacro is an ancient and noble Stregan family, respected by all Clans, Branches, Traditions, and Congregations of Stregheria in Italy. As former guardians of The Sacred Forest of Nemi where the Temple of Diana Lucina once stood, the del Bosco Sacro family has always been guardians of deeper mysteries of The Great Rite. 

Upon their personal authority as inheritors of del Bosco Sacro Tradition, Diana and Dianus have decided to open initiation and training in Mysteries of The Great Rite to Amercan couples - completely independently of Stregheria. In this manner, deeper mysteries of The Great Rite can be shared not only with other Stregan groups, but even with couples from the entire spectrum of the Pagan and Tantric communities. These teachings of The Great Rite, comprise 66 distinct levels of initiation, practice, and consciousness, encompassing lineages of both Shamanic Sexuality and Egyptian Sexual Alchemy.

Diana and Dianus also offer initiation and training in Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento. Our Stregan tradition does not accept just anyone for initiation, however. We require, for example, prior application as well as legally binding confidentiality agreement. 

Compared with certain other Stregheria Traditions, our Tradition is admittedly somewhat liberal about admitting probationers to our First Degree. We are, however, extremely elitist regarding who will ever be admitted to our Third Degree, let alone adopted into the del Bosco Sacro family Tradition.

Our Probationer Degree includes a year and a day of practice and devotion to the Goddess, Diana Lucina. Beyond this, I am not at liberty to comment on rituals, grade structure, teachings, requirements etc. of our Tradition as this remains oath bound information. We indeed charge modest fees for initiation and training. This is necessary to support the mission of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento in America.

Our Stregan Tradition is well aware that there already exist other Traditions of Stregheria in America. Noteworthy in this regard are the family Traditions transmitted by Leo Martello and Raven Grimassi. Our particular Tradition, Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento, is inextricably and intimately connected with the mysteries of The Great Rite. We do not claim that other Stregheria Traditions need to be this way. There have always been substantial differences between one Stregan Tradition and another. We merely clarify that this is the nature of our particular Stregan Tradition.

Like other Stregan magical Tradtions, Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento also uses magical implements, etc. These take on relatively minor importance, however, compared to how they are used in most other Stregan Traditions. This is because the essence of del Bosco Sacro family Tradition are the mysteries of LOVE - the love of Diana Lucina - as well as the love between a man and a woman. 

Again, The Great Rite is of paramount importance in our Stregan Tradition.

Due to the prominence of The Great Rite in Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento, we have been asked to clarify our position on sexual preference and relationship style. The Great Rite is primarily a heterosexual tradition and is most easily and effectively practiced by monogamous couples. This does not mean, however, that our Tradition excludes polyamorous couples or gay or lesbian mysteries. On the contrary, Diana and Dianus have brought deeper Gay and Lesbian mysteries of The Great Rite with them to America. These, however, are separate branches of the sexual mysteries of The Great Rite. We are in such a preliminary phase of our mission in America that Gay and Lesbian mysteries have not yet been implemented. This will require finding suitable ambassadors for these mysteries to the GLBT community.

Now that I am out of the broom closet, and have revealed what I have secretly been up to all these years, I have no doubt a certain detractor will try to frighten people by conflating my role as an International Golden Dawn Imperator with my religious activities within Stregheria

In clarification, the HOGD/AO is completely separate organization. I thank my HOGD/AO sisters and brothers for your hard work and spiritual advancement, that has made our order, in my opinion, the world's finest and foremost school of ritual magick.

Rest assured I remain as Imperator at the helm of our order. The demands of this mission on my time, however, will necessitate that our Order rely on our Adepti and our Initiates more than ever. I have no doubt that we collectively shall remain equal to the task, even though our order shall henceforth grow far more rapidly than ever.

In closing, I extend a personal invitation to you to experience Diana and Dianus' historical appearance at Pantheacon, to hear their lecture, and to observe a demonstration of Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento ritual on Sunday, February 22 at 1:30 PM. 

For a few qualified candidates, there will also be limited possibility for initiation during Pantheacon, both in Stregheria del Bosco Sacro of Benevento and in The Great Rite.

To learn more about The Great Rite, don't miss these valuable resources:

Coming Soon:
The Great Rite on Blog Talk Radio

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum,
David Griffin
GH Frater Lux ex Septentrionis
International Imperator
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®
Lupercus and Aegeria del Bosco Sacro