The Origins of the Qabalah of the Golden Dawn
Recent decades of scholary research has shown that the Golden Dawn can trace many of its roots and origins from 18th Century Germany, particularily in the organizations of Gold- ünd Rosenkreutz and the Asiatic Brethren.
Jean-Pascal Ruggiu says in his highly interesting and original article Rosicrucian Alchemy and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1996) the following:
It must be underlined that the Rituals of R.R. & A.C. were not entirely created by MacGregor Mathers, but that he was inspired by those of the German Golden Rosy+Cross, which I am quite sure he received by regular transmission. Indeed, I have the proof that the GOLDEN DAWN wands patterns were inspired by the Moses' Wand described in a very secret and old German document of the Golden Rosy Cross (dated 1514), a copy of which is in my possession and that I received from the Internal college of this Order. It is quite interesting to note that this document contains strong Polish Jewish Cabalistic influences, and especially those coming from the school of Shabathai Zévi, who proclaimed himself in 1666 to be the Messiah awaited by all the Jews. This date (1666) is very interesting, because it is in accordance with at solar cycle of 111 years. Indeed, the German Golden Rosy+Cross Order was linked to this 111 years cycle; for instance, it was in 1777 that his Order was reformed with a new scale of grades, which was also adopted both by the S.R.I.A. and the Golden Dawn founded 111 years later in 1888. Now, the Golden Rosy+Cross document which I referred to above, contains also many rituals which we find once again in the Golden Dawn (for instance several versions in Latin and in Hebrew of the Cabalistic Cross Ritual and the Middle Pillar Ritual). So, this document constitutes the proof that the Golden Dawn magical rituals are in fact the developments of those of the German Golden Rosy Cross; but as these latter rituals are still very secret, it is also proof that the founders of the GOLDEN DAWN received a genuine German Rosicrucian transmission...But the Shabbataian influences of the Golden Dawn have even more prominent origins from the later offshot Asiatic Brethren, which took the amalgamation of Polish Qabalah with Rosicrucianism even further. Jean-Pascal Ruggiu have this to say about the Asiatic Brethren, or Fratres Lucis as they also called themselves:
The original Fratres Lucis or "Brooderhood of Light" was founded in Germany by the baron Ecker Von Eckhoffen, a past member of the Golden Rosy+Cross and also founder of Asiatic Brethren. All these German fraternities were deeply involved with the prectice of alchemy. My historical researches into these topics proved that many members belonging to the Asiatic Brethren of Fratres Lucis became members of a German masonic lodge called L'Aurore Naissante (or "the Nascent Dawn") founded in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1807. Westcott wrote that this lodge was a "very ancient Rosicrucian Lodge of Frankfurt-on-Main were Lord Bulwer Lytton was received into Adeptship".The hebrew name of the Lodge L'Aurore Naissante "Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur" were also identified by Gershom Scholem having some high ranking Frankist/Sabbatean members. This has also been noted by the reknowned scholar Harris Lenowitz. All these Qabalististic influences originated from the Asiatic Brethren.
David Griffin writes the following in his article Did W.Wynn Wescott try and steal the Golden Dawn's legitimate Rosicrucian lineage for the S.R.I.A.? (2008), which claims a direct Qabalistic transmission into the Golden Dawn through the Asiatic Brethren:
The Asiatic Brethren was a schismatic Rosicrucian order founded in 1780 by then member of the Gold und Rosenkreutz order Hans Heinrich von Ecker und Eckhoffen (1750-1790). Interestingly, the Asiatic Brethren was a Rosicrucian order which allowed Jews among its members at a time that antisemitism was rampant in Germany. Among its Jewish members figured prominent Qabalists from the heretical sect of Sabatai Zevi such as Ephraim Hirschfeld (?- 1819) and Thomas von Schonfeld (whose real name was Moses Dobrucshka). Thus the order of the Asiatic Brethren holds a unique place in the history of the Rosicrucian tradition, as having fully developed its Qabalistic aspect for the first time. Interestingly, the Sabataian Qabalah of the Asiatic Brethren is of exactly the same nature as that later found in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.On the 7th of July 2008 Olen Rush wrote the following highly interesting and initiated comment on the H.O.G.D./A+O forum:
I would note that Moses Dabrouschka was the cousin (often described as nephew) of Yaqov Frank the head of the most radical Sabbateans, he was also known as Junius Frey and Thomas von Schoenfeld. The Frankist Kabbalah is everywhere evident within the G.'.D.'. in its diagrams, rituals, etc. The Adoration of the Lord of the Universe is astoundingly Sabbatean as are many things within this Order (Serpent Symbolism, etc). However, much of the Secret meaning has been replaced.... (Ma'asah Dumah, Torah D'Atziluth, Mitzvah H'Ba-ah B'Averah, Ma'asim Zarim, etc) by other interpretations. Frank may be quoted in the Dicta of the Lord as stating "678. The gods of Framassoncy will have to do that which those two did." This is taken to mean Freemasonry as noted in the text.He gives the following references to support his statement:
Here is a link to a direct statement regarding this connection by Harris Lenowitz, Professor of Hebrew in the Department of Languages and Literature and the Middle East Center of the University of Utah. He is the author of several texts relating to Sabbateanism and Jewish Messianism:
It's obvious that the research into the Frankist and Shabbatheian origins of the Qabalah of the Golden Dawn is a much needed and highly interesting field yet to venture into. It's my belief that the "missing link" between German Rosicrucianism and the Golden Dawn is Kenneth MacKenzie, probably through the mysterious Hungarian Count Apponyi. Strangly at it seems William Wynn Westcott claims that the Rosicrucian MacKenzie-Apponyi connection was the true origin of the Societas Rosicruciania in Anglia (S.R.I.A.). David Griffin also says the following regarding MacKenzie:
In his 1947 paper, "The Origin of our Rosicrucian Society," [The Freemansonic Scholar Bruce] Wilson reveals an astonishing discovery. It turns out that Kenneth MacKenzie actually had been initiated into a Rosicrucian society and had indeed received a warrant from Count Apponyi. Furthermore, MacKenzie did actually use this warrant to found a Rosicrucian organization, but it was not the SRIA! Wilson reveals that the warranted organization was none other than the first phase of the Golden Dawn, as a branch of a Continental society called the Brothers of Light. This is a reference to the Order of the Asiatic Brethren (also called the Ritter und Bruder des Lichts or Knights and Brothers of Light).Jean-Pascal Ruggiu however has another intriguingtheory regarding Kenneth MacKenzie's continental connection:
According to MacKenzie and [Fredrick] Hockley's claims, they were initiated into the Fratres Lucis in France at Paris, possibly by Eliphas Lévi who is alleged to be a member of this Brotherhood.So it is possible that MacKenzie actually had communication with several members of the continenal Rosicrucian Order. MacKenzie later used the name of Fratres Lucis for his own English member of the rosicrucian body, also known as "The Society of Eight".