In Christianity, the doctrine of Apostolic Succession maintains that the Christian Church today is the spiritual successor to the original body of believers in Christ, composed of the Apostles. In pre-Protestant Reformation Churches, Apostolic Succession is claimed as having been passed through unbroken lines of bishops beginning with the original Apostles.
In its formal aspect, lineage may amount to little more than a formal means of mutual recognition, as in the case of Freemasonry, which uses charters and systems of mutual recognition between Grand lodges to establish 'regularity.'
Of course, in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, we have our charters, which we are very proud of, even though we understand that there is more to spiritual lineage than just charters. The Golden Dawn is not unique in in this regard, either.
In Western esotericism, numerous orders use lineage as a means of ensuring a direct transmission of spiritual principles and energies. Lineage, like trademarks, is also a basic form of protection for the public, that what members find is actually what they associate with the name or the spiritual tradition. Who wants to join a Martinist order, only to find Hindu teachings instead, or to join the Golden Dawn looking for tradtional initiation and to learn Hermetic and Rosicrucian magic and alchemy, only to find New Age teachings and "Astral" initiation instead?
Louis-Claude de St. Martin
Martinist orders, for examples all claim lineage deriving from Louis-Claude de St. Martin. L'Ordre Martiniste (the Martinist Order) came about in 1884 when Gerard Encausse (Papus) met August Chaboseau. They discovered that they had both apparently received Martinist initiation through two different chains of succession which linked back to Saint-Martin and his original disciples. Papus claimed to have come into the possession of the original papers of de Pasqually and to have been given authority in the Rite of Saint-Martin by his friend Henri Viscount Delaage. However, Encausse realized that there was a "missing link" in his own chain of succession: he and Chaboseau therefore "swapped initiations" in order to consolidate their lineages.
Let us not forget, however, that the Golden Dawn is first and foremost a SPIRITUAL tradition. Therefore, charters and such, are not all that matter. In all of the great spiritual traditions, both East and West, lineage carries with it a spiritual transmission or realization, as in the case of Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism.
Zen Buddhism, for example, maintains records of their historical teachers who, according to the traditional history of that school, have passed the Dharma from generation to generation in an unbroken line since the time of the Buddha. Dharma transmission is the formal confirmation by a master of Zen or Chan Buddhism of a student's awakening. This one-to-one transmission is said to trace back over 2,500 years to Gautama Buddha when he gave dharma transmission to his disciple Mahakasyapa, who is regarded as the first patriarch of Zen in India.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Shambhala Buddhist Lineage
I have often heard people in the Golden Dawn community say that: "Lineage does not matter. What matters is to do the work." This is certainly half true. "To do the work," however, one must have the necessary spiritual practices, as is the case with the Buddhist lineages.
This is why the advanced magical systems and spirtual practices recently transmitted by the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order are so important for the Golden Dawn community. This Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineage carries with it a vast corpus of knowledge and spiritual practices from the Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions.
Certain of our detractors have claimed that we are trying to destroy diversity in our Golden Dawn community. On the contrary, by sharing these teachings with qualified Adepts from across its entire spectrum, we are richly adding to the diversity of the Golden Dawn community.
Certain other detractors of our order have claimed that there is no proof that the Secret Chiefs or these newly released Hermetic lineages exist in reality. To such detractors, I say:
"The extreme effectiveness of the magical practices speaks for itself. The Alpha Omega has invited Adepts from across the entire Golden Dawn community to come to our International Conclave of Golden Dawn Adepti near Las Vegas and see for yourself."
Contrary to what has been asserted by nay sayers, initiatic proof of the higher Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted by the Secret Chiefs certainly does exist - and in abundance. That our detractors are either too lazy to come and see for themselves is not the fault of the Alpha Omega. That our detractors are unable or unwilling to follow traditional Golden Dawn rules oath bound material is not our fault either.
Substantial proof certainly does exist. All one has to do is come and see. Of course, however, the nay sayers will instead just keep repeating their "no proof" mantra because, for reasons of ego and money, they simply do not want to see.
For the Adepts more interested in spiritual development than in ego and money, however, I will see you in Las Vegas next month with all the proof you ever dreamed of!
HOGD, AO, RR+AC, 33
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