Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 2, Vernal Equinox 2002
An Interview with Pat Zalewski
by J. S. Kupperman
Patrick J. Zalewski (pronounced "Saleski") is a well known Golden Dawn scholar as well as magician. He is the author of many books on the Golden Dawn, including "Golden Dawn Enochian Magic", "Secret Inner Order Rituals of the Golden Dawn", and more. He is also a regular contributor to the "Golden Dawn Journal Series". He and his co-author Chris are both practicing 7=4s, having been initiated by members of the last surviving temple of the Stella Matutina.
In New Zealand Zalewski worked to revive the Golden Dawn teachings passed on through the Whare Ra temple founded by Dr. Felkin, a member of the original Golden Dawn under Mathers. Zalewski had been in contact with the late Israel Regardie and had been taught by a member of Whare Ra, Jack Taylor. Taylor himself had been a member of Whare Ra under the leadership of Mrs. Felkin, and had access to original teachings by both Dr. Felkin and Mathers.
When Zalewski offered to let me interview him for this issue of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, I simply could not pass the opportunity up.
JSK. What are your views on the need for lineage in the Golden Dawn Tradition? Can anyone with the ability and training tap into the current (i.e. self-initiation) or is there a need to be initiated into a Temple that itself has connection, in one way or another, to the original Order?
PZ. Although I went through this myself I have never thought it necessary and that is why I started writing; to give those people access to their experiences I went through. In New Zealand, under Taylor. I have said many time to many temples: if you want to start up a G.D. temple then simply do it, the rest will come. However not everyone has these views and I think if you want to go to a temple that has lineage then all well and good. Correct lineage should imply correct teaching and this is the advantage lineage does give.
JSK. Besides the 5=6 ceremony itself, and the Rose Cross Lamen of the Adeptus Minor, what exactly is "Rosicrucian" about the R.R. et A.C.? Where do you see the connection between the ideas and goals propounded upon in the original, historical, Rosicrucian Manifestos and the ideas and goals of the R.R. et A.C.?
PZ. Good question and I have often asked myself that. The problem today is that the general public, apart from the 5=6, has never seen any of the higher teaching of Mathers, Westcott or Felkin and how they applied that principle. The whole 5=6 principle of rebirth is embedded in the Rosenkreutz philosophy plus the fraternal influence in treating people as equals comes into it as well. Felkin went more to the Rosicrucian concept than Mathers in ritual.
JSK. Could you elaborate on this? What is Rosicrucian about the higher teachings of Mathers, Westcott, and Felkin? In what ways did Felkin go into the Rosicrucian concept than Mathers? Why do you think this was?
PZ. I think Rosicrucianism in the G.D. is a framework to work through but not necessarily what the second Order is about. There are some references to C.R.C. [Christian Rosencreutz] in the flying rolls but it is more ad hoc than anything else. We have it in the 5=6 Vault, but what few people know is the vault form the R.R. et A.C uses comes from Westcott and the Societas Roscirucian in Anglia. It is almost identical to the G.D. one in structure as far as the walls go. How far Felkin got into the C.R.C. [i.e. Rosicrucian concept] is a tough one but from his papers this was stressed at Whare Ra. Felkin was more the Mason and Mathers was more the man of intrigue.
But, after all these years in the G.D. I have to say that it was more Westcott than Mathers. Westcott aided Felkin with the S.M. [Stella Matutina] up until his death in 1925. He helped with designing the Felkin G.D. Tarot cards for example. Most of the Higher teachings of Mathers were kabbalistic. As a matter of fact I am nearly finished a book on them that covers the Th.A.M [Theoricus Adeptus Minor, one of the Adeptus Minor subgrades] papers of Mathers plus my own work for the Practicus Adeptus Minor Grade. The book is jammed packed full of mostly unpublished material. It will be around 200 odd pages (A 4 - or standard typing sheet size). I will do a spiel on this on Chic [Cicero]'s web site. I did this so people would have access to the material.
JSK. If the 5=6 grade concentrates on the Rosicrucian philosophy of the fraternal influence in treating people as equals, what aspects of the Rosicrucian philosophy do the 6=5 and 7=4 grades concentrate on?
PZ. This is a tough one as it changed with different temples and different chiefs at different times. The Mathers teachings of the 6=5 (in the A.O.) related to the Portal ritual and its substance while the 7=4 teachings related back to the 5=6 ritual. I think Felkin also carried the ball towards the Mathers direction but his teachings were like Waite, more mystical but still Rosicrucian.
Today, generally speaking, it is not like that and the C.R.C. philosophy is just that. Felkin and Mathers actually believed in this so faith played a big part here. However the Rosicrucian concepts still hold valid. I try to treat everybody the same until they do otherwise and that is my contribution in the fraternal sense. I don't have any axes to grind with anyone at this point in my life and do not care too much what people think.
JSK. In your opinion, what is the Rosicrucian ideal that people working in the G.D. tradition should aim for? How do you think this should be, or has been, influenced by the writings of people like Maters, Felkin, and Regardie?
PZ. That is a good one. I think the ideal has been lost long ago, though there are still some fraternal bonds that bind practicing members together. I think that is enough for the present. If you like people you will work with them, if not then you will not. It is that simple.
JSK. Regarding the differences that you have mentioned between Mathers and Felkin, had either of them ever come up with a complete curriculum for the Adeptus Major and Adeptus Exemptus grades? I know many of our readers would be interested in know at least a general outline for these grades.
PZ. Felkin junked the Th.A.M. grades and just went to from 5=6 to 6=5. The 6=5 by Felkin was more intense study of the rituals and the grades up to 7=4 were not high on scholarship. I do not think Felkin understood the way Mathers was working. His ritual instruction was like going back to school and working with a drill instructor. Everything had to be exact. Put it this way: by the time you got to 5=6 I feel those under Felkin knew more about the practice Magick and ritual of the G.D. than the AO did. But I think the A.O. members had better scholarship by getting more information from Mathers. Mathers wanted the elemental grades to be the main point of study for the higher levels. For example the 1=10 was the Th.A.M. The 2=9 was Practicus Adeptus Minor, the 3=8 was the Philosophus Adeptus Minor and the 4=7 was the Adeptus Adeptus Minor grade. Now Felkin taught people the breakdowns for these grades in the Outer order. The Portal was of course the 6=5 and the 5=6 was the 7=4 study. That was the way he outlined it at least, but something happened and I think Mathers never completed the study for some of these higher levels and we have no proof one way or the other. He put all his efforts into his Isis movement.
JSK. How did you get involved with the former members of Whare Ra?
PZ. By accident or divine plan. I was never sure which. In short we wrote to members asking about Whare Ra and got a negative. One letter to Percy Wilkinson was answered by Jack Taylor who told us 'they' expected us up there to see him. In fact we were booked to fly up to that region the next day, something he could not have known by normal means. Jack got a fair few of the old Whare Ra members together. He told them to wave the oath and show us what we wanted and that was that.
JSK. What lead you and Chris to decide to publish the GD material that you have and continue to publish?
PZ. I am blowed if I know. Regardie was the one who got me to promise to publish. I did not think anyone would be interested in what an unknown like me from New Zealand would have to say.
JSK. Can you tell us about your experiences with your mentor Jack Taylor?
PZ. I could write a book on that alone. He was very mystical and
believed in me
JSK. How did you meet Israel Regardie?
PZ. Well, I wrote to him to ask about some documents that I had uncovered. He had never heard of them and they were something Felkin took from [Rudolph] Steiner. We corresponded for about a year and he came over to meet me in Wellington, New Zealand. He brought Cris Monnastre out with him and wanted us to help with the G.D. teaching.
JSK. Could you tell us about your experiences with him?
PZ. A very rare individual. We gave him an honorary 6=5 in appreciation for his efforts. It was something he never solicited. It was just something we wanted to do in appreciation for how much we admired the man. He forgot more than I will ever know.
JSK. What do you see in the future for the Golden Dawn Tradition?
PZ. It will go different way with different teachers. That will be a fact of life. My way will not be the same as some others groups.
JSK. In your books you talk about your background in both Western and Eastern esotericism. Could you talk about how and when you first became interested in the occult, and how your own path has evolved to include both the East and the West? What draws you to both forms, and how do you see them complimenting one another?
PZ. Ha! You are digging deep here. My first love was, and still is, martial arts when I studied karate in 65. From that I went to Yoga. I then ended up in New Guinea in late 1960's and studied Tai Chi. I went to Hong Kong and Macao then the Philippines doing martial arts and ended up in Thailand. As a matter of fact it was Errol Flynn's son Sean (who later went missing in Laos) that got me in the ring with a Thai Boxer and I got creamed. He ran around Bangkok getting ice packs for me after the match. After some months in Thailand I went to India and studied Tantra under Tantric master Vivan Datta and ended up in Nepal. Years later I ended up in New Zealand and studied radionics which worked directly on Chakras and subtle bodies for healing.
Well martial arts was the transition phase for me. I started karate in Australia in 1965 and am still doing it. After years in this, where I competed internationally in the mid 1970's I gradually worked into the Kabbalah.
The Kabbalistic soul was always a handful to explain in practical terms and I found that at Whare Ra they opted for Chakras and subtle bodies and that worked better for me. This is why I elaborated on it in Kabbalah of the GD.
JSK. What first drew you to Western occultism, and especially the Golden Dawn?
PZ. I read briefly about the Golden Dawn and Crowley. When I picked
JSK. I saw recently that you had re-released your Kabbalah of the Golden Dawn through Castle Publishing in England. What prompted this move?
PZ. It was out of my hands. Llewellyn told me they sold the rights of the hard-backed edition. At the same time I was negotiating to get my rights back and there was a foul up in communication. The long and the short of it is that Thoth Publishing will be putting out paperback version. Castle has the hard-backed edition. Llewellyn did not even tell me who got the rights. I have never seen a hard-backed edition.
JSK. Finally, could you tell us about any of your forthcoming books?
PZ. There is one coming out on Evocations and Talisman techniques
of the Golden Dawn. Another of the Th.A.M. and P.A.M [Practicus Adeptus
Minor] grade level papers of my own work plus many unpublished papers
of Mathers. The third one is my Kabbalistic book from the old G.D. correspondence
course. The forth is a book I have just started and I am co authoring
it on the Tree of Life connected with psychotherapy work.