Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 9, Vol. 1, Autumnal Equinox 2005
Sent From the Second Order: The Collected Letters of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Darcy Küntz (ed). The Golden Dawn Research Trust; Austin, Texas, 2005. pp. 120.
review by Andrew Finley
Mr. Darcy Kuntz, with his eye for detail and his keen interest in the historical roots of the Golden Dawn, has allowed the public access for the first time to a number of letters from the “vaults of the Golden Dawn” which have only been available to a small number of scholars.
In this book I discovered a number of unpublished letters that revealed the hidden and unexplored idiosyncratic side of the founders and members of the Golden Dawn. These letters have provided me an insight into some of the unexplained behavior and interactions between the members William Wynn Westcott, S.L. Mathers, Dr. Berridge, Aleister Crowley, Annie Hornimann, et al.
Of the new material in the book there is a document from 1900 which discusses a “preliminary contract of peace” between Dr. Westcott and S.L. Mathers. Mr. Küntz also produces evidence which reveals the name of the member who wanted revenge upon Westcott and who wanted him kicked out of the Golden Dawn. There are two letters written by Aleister Crowley in 1908 which brought me much pleasure in reading. These letters show Crowley’s wit and charm prior to publishing the Golden Dawn Secrets in The Equinox (Vol. I, Nos. 2 & 3). Of particular interest is the letter dated February 1901 and written by the Majority of the Second Order Council. It could be argued that this document shows that Crowley was initiated in the 5’=6’ grade of Adeptus Minor and a member of the Second Order, while some people might argue that the evidence is only circumstantial.
The quality and nature of the 103 letters and documents in this book
has made it a valuable addition to my Golden Dawn library. The high standard
of scholarship from Mr. Küntz has made this a highly sought after
book. I was surprised to hear that Sent From the Second Order
was published in a very limited edition of 27 copies and 10 “Hors
Commerce” copies and that it would not be reprinted. Although it
makes it very collectable the problem is that researchers may have trouble
tracking down a copy. I only hope that Mr. Küntz will consider reprinting
a larger or “popular” edition.
I would like to see an expanded version with more original letters with
the same attention to detail that Mr. Küntz has applied to editing
this valuable source material. I also look forward to his book titled
The Golden Dawn Temple Manual. I have been told by Mr. Küntz
that the book contains all the source material that one would need to
start and manage a Golden Dawn Temple including the Consecration Ceremony
of a Golden Dawn Temple.