We shall now give a proper account of the history of the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, commencing from that point in earthly time where the Spirit of the Order assumed its fundamental form, and we shall give details regarding the main figures of our lineage, the founders and teachers of our esoteric Magical Society, which, be it Hermetic or Thelemic in kind, is given the sacred name of the Golden Dawn.
We shall begin in the year 1887, when Dr. William Wynn Westcott (1848-1925), a London Coroner, Theosophist, Freemason and Rosicrucian, obtained a Cipher Manuscript from a debatable or rather unknown source. In this Cipher MS. there were contained skeleton rituals of initiation, attributions of the Tarot Trumps to the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, and the name and address of a Rosicrucian Adept located in Germany, Soror Sapiens Dominabitur Astris (Fräulein Sprengel). Westcott wrote to her with the result that in November of 1887 she authorized him to found an English branch of the Golden Dawn. This led to the establishment of Isis-Urania, Temple No. 3, of the Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer, in the year 1888. It was on February 12, 1888 that Westcott and two other Masons and Rosicrucians signed the Preliminary Pledge Form of the Golden Dawn. Then a Warrant was created for these three to constitute and rule the Isis-Urania Temple and they signed it on March 1, 1888.
Westcott was a member of an Esoteric Society of Master Masons, called the Rosicrucian Society of England (Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, or Soc. Ros., founded in 1866 by Robert Wentworth Little). After the death of the founder of this society in 1878, Dr. William Robert Woodman (1828-1891) became its Chief or Supreme Magus. After Woodman's death in 1891, Westcott became the Supreme Magus of the Soc. Ros. Another member of this esoteric society was Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854-1918). Mathers, like Westcott, was a member of its High Council. Westcott invited both Woodman and Mathers to join him as Chiefs of the Isis-Urania Temple of the Golden Dawn. It was Mathers who assisted Westcott in decoding the Cipher MS. The key was contained in Abbot Johann Trithemius' "Polygraphiae" (1561). Mathers also expanded on the skeleton rituals of initiation and it was his occult genius that made the Golden Dawn into a Magical Order. He eventually became the sole Chief of the Order.
Now regarding three other very important figures of the Golden Dawn who played such a major part in shaping Aleister Crowley's magical career and who therefore play a significant part in our history. In February of 1894, a man named Allan Bennett (1872-1923) was initiated as a Neophyte of the Golden Dawn. He quickly advanced to the Grade of Adeptus Minor. Crowley first met Bennett in the spring of 1899 during a Golden Dawn ceremony. Bennett then acted as Crowley's magical mentor and later as his Guru (Yoga Instructor) in 1901. Bennett took the Yellow Robe in 1902 and became a Buddhist Monk, but which he later abandoned. He is well known as the Leader of the first Buddhist Mission to the West. In June of 1894, a man named Julian L. Baker was initiated as a Neophyte of the Golden Dawn. He advanced to the Grade of Adeptus Minor on March 10, 1896. And on July 12, 1895, a man named George Cecil Jones (1873-1953) was initiated as a Neophyte in the Golden Dawn. He advanced to the Grade of Adeptus Minor on January 11, 1897. It was Jones who proposed to Crowley that he join the Golden Dawn and he sponsored Crowley for his Neophyte initiation. (Jones also later assisted Crowley in the formation of Astron Argon, or the Order of the A.·.A.·., from 1906 to 1909.) Crowley met Baker during the summer of 1898, and Baker introduced Crowley to Jones in September of 1898.
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) joined the Golden Dawn as Frater Perdurabo (Neophyte 0=0) on November 18, 1898. He was initiated to the next grade of Zelator (1=10) in December of 1898, as a Theoricus (2=9) in January of 1899, as a Practicus (3=8) in February of 1899, as a Philosophus (4=7) in May of 1899, he then took his Portal Initiation in December of 1899, and was initiated as an Adeptus Minor in Paris on January 16, 1900 by Mathers who Crowley first met in May of 1899. Now scandal and schism arose in the Order in 1900; the London Adepts were in revolt against Mathers, the Chief of the Order, and by the end of March, the London Temple declared independence from Mathers. Both Crowley and Jones originally sided with Mathers during the revolt, but later went their own ways, Crowley to Mexico who then became a Freemason. Crowley stated, "In 1900, the Order in its existing form was destroyed."
On April 8th, 9th, and 10th of 1904, Crowley received from his Holy Guardian Angel (Aiwass) the Book of the Law (Liber Legis), which proclaimed that he was the Prophet of a New Aeon (New Age) and that his office was that of being the Founder and High Priest of a New Order of the Golden Dawn, which he later called the Order of the A.·.A.·. (Astron Argon), maintaining, however, the name of the Golden Dawn as the title of the Outer Order. Crowley's reception of the Book of the Law was a direct manifestation and result of his initiation into the Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn was, in fact, the basis of the Proclamation of the New Aeon of Horus and the Law of Thelema. After receiving the Book of the Law, Crowley wrote and sent a letter to Mathers informing him that the Secret Chiefs had appointed him to be the visible Head of the Golden Dawn. Mathers did not respond, but nor did Crowley expect a response from him.
On July 27, 1906 Crowley renewed his Adeptus Minor obligation during a visit with Jones. Crowley wrote, "Fra P. [Crowley] was crucified by Fra D.D.S. [Jones] and on that cross made to repeat this Oath..." Later these two Adepts discussed the idea of forming a New Order. By December 10, 1906, Jones recognized Crowley as a Magister Templi (Master of the Temple). Crowley, however, did not actually accept this grade until December 3, 1909. But by their sincere efforts and spiritual preparation a New Order was made manifest in the year 1907, called the Order of the A.·.A.·. (Astron Argon).
In October of 1928, a man named Francis Israel Regardie (1907-1985) met with Crowley in Paris to become his personal secretary and student. On October 28, 1930 Regardie took the Oath of the Probationer of the A.·.A.·. (A copy of this Oath is printed in chapter eleven of the sixth revised edition of Regardie's book, "What you should know about the Golden Dawn.") In January of 1933, shortly after severing with Crowley, Regardie joined the Order of the Golden Dawn (Stella Matutina) at Hermes Temple in Bristol with the Neophyte Motto Ad Majorem Adonai Gloriam. (In the book, "The Eye in the Triangle", Regardie states that he retained this same Neophyte Motto for his 5=6 Adept degree, the Adeptus Minor Grade.) Regardie resigned from Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina on December 5, 1934. Many years later Regardie initiated Frater Adonai Achad (C. Hyatt, a past Chief of the T.·.G.·.D.·.), who also became Regardie's legitimate heir, continuing the Regardie lineage of the Golden Dawn through a reorganized form of the Order, called the Hermetic Temple and Order of the Golden Dawn in association with the Israel Regardie Foundation. Regardie died on March 10, 1985. Frater Adonai Achad initiated Frater Aurora Aureae (D. Cherubim) as an Adept of the Golden Dawn on March 10, 1990, five years after Regardie's death, and Frater Aurora Aureae was chartered to operate his own Temple of the Golden Dawn and he received certification up to the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus of the Regardie Lineage of the Golden Dawn. Frater Aurora Aureae also became one of the Officers of the Israel Regardie Foundation and later a Chief, or the Cancellarius, of the Hermetic Temple and Order of the Golden Dawn.
David Cherubim (D.C.) was initiated as a Minerval in Aleister Crowley's Thelemic Order and Magickal Fraternity called the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) on the evening of June 16, 1985 e.v. at Baphomet Lodge in Los Angeles, CA, USA, and, after two more initiations in 1986 and 1987, he became an Initiate of the M.·.M.·. Degree in the O.T.O. on March 5, 1988 e.v., completing the Outer Triad of Initiation. His main initiator (and magickal tutor) for all grades in the O.T.O. was Frater Yod (Past Master of Baphomet Lodge and Past U.S. Deputy Grand Master General of the O.T.O.), who was initiated by the Frater who is now the U.S. Deputy Grand Master General of the O.T.O. (Lon Milo Duquette). For his M.·.M.·. initiation, the Frater who is now the U.S. National Grand Master General of the O.T.O. (Frater Sabazius) and his wife acted as the other two initiating officers (Wazir and Emir) with Frater Yod (who acted as Saladin). Gerald del Campo (who was sponsored by D.C. and a Soror to join the O.T.O.) was also initiated in the same degree at this time. (D.C. participated in Gerald del Campo's earlier O.T.O. initiations.) Soon after this, D.C. departed from the O.T.O., his membership status became officially inactive in 1989, and he officially resigned from the O.T.O. on December 4, 1994 e.v. All of his O.T.O. certificates (except for the I° certificate, which was never received by him), his letter of resignation (dated December 4, 1994) and their letter of response (dated December 31, 1994), are part of the Order archives.
On the Vernal Equinox of 1990 e.v., David Cherubim founded the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn (Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·.) with past associates in Los Angeles, CA, USA, conducting (as Hierophant) twelve Neophyte initiations to start. He also founded in Denver, CO, USA, another Thelemic Order called the O.·.A.·.I.·. (founded in 1996 and terminated by him in the world in 2003) and, also, the Aleister Crowley Foundation (founded in 1998 and transferred to Gerald del Campo in 2003). On March 31, 2004 e.v., David Cherubim resigned as a member and representative of the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn (Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·.) after abolishing in 2003 all financial and political links in the Order, including his own administrative position and title as Chief (or Head) of the Order and all other officer positions and titles, in service to the Order itself, to ensure its spiritual success, and to ensure its object remains one during its continuing vast growth - to accomplish the Great Work of Thelema! He is now only a "private" initiate of the A.·.A.·. (Third Order), retired from all T.·.G.·.D.·. activities, and he is now only known to us as the Founder of the Order. He no longer maintains nor is he responsible for the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn (Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·.), and he no longer conducts or participates in any T.·.G.·.D.·. activities.
However, all of the documents that David Cherubim wrote and published for the Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·. remain to be the main source of knowledge, inspiration and initiation for the Order. (He donated all of his T.·.G.·.D.·. related writings and rituals to the Order.) David Cherubim devoted fourteen years of spiritual service to the Order, during which he conducted hundreds of initiations and classes, wrote innumerable Order related documents, and actively maintained and represented the Order. Through all this, he founded and established what is now one of the largest and most successful of Thelemic and Magickal Orders, a spiritual legacy which traces its descent or lineage from Aleister Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn. And this spiritual legacy is not just for a few, but for all of you who seek Initiation and Wisdom, Balance and Healing, and Light, Life, Love and Liberty!
Update: Following the passing of our order's founder, S.'.H.'. Frater A.A. (David Cherubim), Frater Praemonstro (Proctor of the duly chartered Logos Sanctuary of the TGD) in agreement with other adepts of the order, placed all order documents online to be freely accessed as they were prior to the founder's passing. This was determined to be in keeping with the will of Frater A.A. to make initiation into TGD accessible to all. Frater Praemonstro was personally initiated into the order of the TGD in 1998 e.v by the founder of the order and continues to support aspirants of the order in their work of self initiation. The adepts of the order agreed to keep private the order's physical initiation ceremonies.
-Frater Praemonstro, 2020 e.v.