The Golden Dawn Journal series was created with the pupose of illustrating the diversity of the modern occult communities- both within and without the circles of the Golden Dawn adepts themselves. Of course, this being the case, one can never hope to be impresed with every essay offered. Our tastes and focuses as readers are as varied as the articles within the work. Yet, at the same time, it seems that there will be something for just about everyone in each issue. Viewing the series in this light, we certainly have yet to be disappointed. The most recent addition to the Journals is Book IV: The Magickal Pantheons. Right from the first page of the introduction, we are reminded what the Golden Dawn demands of it's initiates:
"Remember that you hold all Religions in reverence, for there is none but contains a Ray from the Ineffable Light that you are seeking."
The book continues from that basic stance to expand upon the point- exploring a number of pantheons throughout history. The introductoin itself turns into a small glossery of Gods and Goddesses catagorized by the civilizations that worshipped Them. Then, for a little over half of the book, we are taken on a journey through the pantheons of various ancient and modern traditions. We are introduced to Gods who have hidden within the Golden Dawn Tradition itself for nearly one hundred years, and shown how They relate to the Grades of the Order and the Tree of Life. Just as often, however, we are presented with non-Golden Dawn material concerning the ancient and contemporary practices of worship and workings with the Divine Beings. The pantheons offered for examination are as diverse as the Samothracian, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Norse, and more. We are given historical and archelogical information, and even neo-pagan concepts and practices.
However, the last third of the book takes a swing back into the largely Judeo-Christian pantheons of Angels and Gods. These essays are some of the best I've seen (keeping good pace with the great work we found in the Journal Book II). Here in Book IV, we are granted with historical and scriptural analysis of Sephiroth, Qabalistic Worlds, Angelic Choirs, and more. The essay In the Beginning Was the Word, by Harvey Newstrom, offers the best Qabalistic analysis of the Creation of Genesis that I've yet seen in print. Likewise, the essay entitled Osiris and Christ, by John Michael Greer, is an absolute must-read for anyone who hopes to understand the mysteries of the Eucharist (this, I feel, is the crown jewel of the book). We even have a visit from Don Kriag as he attempts to answer the question Do the Gods Exist? with the tools of philosophy, logic, and practical experience.
In my opinion, the essay by Mr. Greer is worth the cover price of the book. But I would certainly recommend this work from cover to cover (both the essays and the bibliographies which are included) to any student interested in the study of Gods and Goddesses, and comperative religious studies. As I stated above, we have yet to be disappointed in The Golden Dawn Journal series; and I for one am looking forward to further gems in the pages of upcoming issues.
Review by Aaron Leitch (Khephera)