Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we get started:

The Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn is a magical order teaching a system of ceremonial magic descended partly from the Druid Revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and partly from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a nineteenth-century magical order. It is not a church or a religious organization; it does not offer ordination to the ministry; its teachings do not descend from those of the ancient Druids; and its symbolism and philosophy come primarily from Welsh Druid Revival sources.

If you are contacting us for any of the following please be aware:

I’m an old friend or acquaintance of John Michael Greer / I’d like JMG to be on my podcast / I’d like JMG to do a blurb for my book / I have a question for JMG regarding the Celtic Golden Dawn / I’d like to get into contact with JMG for some other reason.

Please be aware that JMG retired from the governing body of the DOGD in December 2022, and can no longer be reached via the DOGD office email. You may reach him by way of his blog

Frequently Asked Questions

What does joining the DOGD entail and what does it offer to its members?

To apply for membership, please read this FAQ and our curriculum page in its entirety and then go to our membership page and read and follow the directions there. The Archdruids of our order will then evaluate your membership application. If accepted for membership as an Aspirant in the DOGD you will then get access to our Dreamwidth community where our members talk shop and can share their experiences with other members and ask questions regarding the curriculum. Members also get immediate access to additional papers, knowledge lectures, rituals, and practices relevant to our work that are for members only. In addition it offers members the opportunity to be certified as Ovates, Bards, and Druids in the magical system presented in The Celtic Golden Dawn, after doing the necessary work and passing the appropriate examinations.

What is the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn?

It is the Druid/Golden Dawn hybrid order that John Michael Greer created as a framework for the teachings in The Celtic Golden Dawn. Second, it's an association of people who practice the system of hybrid Druid/Golden Dawn magic and occultism taught in The Celtic Golden Dawn.

Did the Golden Dawn and the Druids have anything to do with each other?

The ancient Druids went extinct long before the Golden Dawn was founded, but the Druid Revival was a going concern all through the history of the Order. After the Golden Dawn began to tear itself apart, a good fraction of the membership quit, and some of these refugees ended up in a variety of Druid orders and brought much of their Golden Dawn teachings with them. The result was the birth of hybrid orders such as the Ancient Order of Druid Hermetists and the Cabbalistic Order of Druids.

How well did the Golden Dawn and the Druid Revival traditions fit together?

Surprisingly well. Like every other magical order, the Golden Dawn combined a set of magical practices, a collection of interconnected symbolism, and a system of occult philosophy. What the Golden Dawn refugees who ended up in Druid Revival orders found is that the magical practices, with slight variations, could work equally well with a different collection of symbols and a different system of philosophy.

What happened to the Druid/Golden Dawn hybrid orders?

After the Second World War, a new generation decided that the old ceremonial orders were too square for them, and took up newly minted traditions such as Wicca instead. There are still a few Druid orders that contain Golden Dawn legacies, but nearly all of the hybrid orders went out of existence in the second half of the 20th century. As so often happens with defunct magical orders, most or all of their teachings, rituals, and traditions were lost when the last temples shut down and the last members died.

Where does the material in The Celtic Golden Dawn come from?

John Michael Greer, the author of The Celtic Golden Dawn, is a longtime student of the Golden Dawn tradition as well as Druidry. After detailed study of what little is known of the teachings and workings of the old hybrid orders, he reverse engineered a set of rituals, teachings, and meditations that are as close as possible to those a Druid/Golden Dawn hybrid order in the 1920s or 1930s would have used, blending a mixture of Golden Dawn magical techniques, Welsh Druid symbolism and philosophy, and occult lore drawn from a wide range of sources.

Shouldn't a project like that limit itself to Celtic sources?

Not at all. The Golden Dawn tradition is syncretic - that is, it draws on teachings and traditions from many places and times, combining them into a synthesis the way a mosaic maker combines stones of many colors to make a single pattern. The Druid Revival also has a strong syncretic streak. Combine them, as the old hybrid orders did, and creative borrowing becomes the order of the day; to do anything else in a reverse-engineered hybrid order would be hopelessly inauthentic.

Why does the system in The Celtic Golden Dawn differ from the original Golden Dawn system?

An initiatory magical system isn't simply a grab-bag of random materials. Each symbol, practice, and correspondence relates to all the others to produce a coherent and balanced structure - a mesocosm, to use a bit of technical language, that mediates between the macrocosm (the universe as a whole) and the microcosm (the individual human being). Fairly often symbols and practices have to be tweaked in a variety of ways to make the entire structure come into balance. The founders of the Golden Dawn made many such changes to the symbolism and practices they inherited, in order to make their system work well. The Celtic Golden Dawn does the same thing, adjusting certain symbolic patterns and practices to make its system a coherent whole.

But isn't there one right way to do things in magic?

Not at all. In workings based on the Tree of Life, for example, there are many different ways to assign symbolism to the paths that connect the ten Spheres, and each of them works just about as well as the others do. For example, the Martinists have one way to assign the Tarot cards to the Tree of Life, the Golden Dawn has a different way, English occultist William Gray taught a system that differs from both, and so on; there's been no shortage of squabbles about who has the "right" attributions, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and sincere and dedicated students of all three systems (and others as well) have achieved good results with all of them. In exactly the same manner, there are many different "right" ways to trace a pentagram, practice Pathworking, summon a spirit, or do any of the other things that magicians do.

Is the system in The Celtic Golden Dawn the only way to combine Druidry and the Golden Dawn?

Of course not. One of the reasons The Celtic Golden Dawn was written was to remind today's Druids and Hermetic magicians that the sort of creativity that gave rise to the Druid Revival, the Golden Dawn, and their various hybrids is still a live option today. The original Druid Revival and the original Golden Dawn were both highly innovative movements that constantly adapted and changed what they were doing as they figured out what worked and what didn't. It would be good to see more of that sort of creativity in the contemporary occult scene.

Doesn't that mean that people can just do whatever they want and claim to be Druids or Golden Dawn adepts or whatever?

People have been doing exactly that since the beginning of recorded history, so it's pretty much a moot point. The issue that gets forgotten far too often is that there's a great deal of middle ground between mindlessly copying whatever was handed down from the past, on the one hand, and just making it all up as you go along, on the other. It's in that middle ground that creativity flourishes best, in magic as in anything else; most of the great magical systems have come about because somebody combined traditions from the past with brand new insights and innovations.

Will there be sequels to The Celtic Golden Dawn

They're in the works, our Governing Body and Druid Grade members are currently working on developing them. All the exercises, rituals, and other practices have to be developed and tested before each book can be written, though, so it's not a fast process. Fortunately the work included in The Celtic Golden Dawn will give students plenty to do until the next volume comes out. Additionally, the books The Litany of the Tree of Life, The Mysteries of Merlin, The Coelbren Alphabet (which has been issued in a revised, expanded edition in 2023, under the title Coelbren), and a series of seasonal magical practices that can be found in The Mysteries of Merlin are all compatible with our curriculum and provide members with additional practices and rituals.

Is the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn connected to any other Druid order?

No. Some DOGD members are also members of other Druid orders, but that's about it.

Is the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn connected to any other Golden Dawn group?

No again. The DOGD is on friendly terms with several other Golden Dawn temples and GD-related organizations, but has no formal or informal connection to any.

Do I have to belong to the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn to practice the system of Druidical magic taught in The Celtic Golden Dawn

Not at all; that's why the whole system was published in a book, with self-initiation rituals that anybody can do on their own. Membership in the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn is purely for those who want to share experiences with other practitioners of the system and contribute to the growth of a living system of occult ceremonial and magical practice.

I'm already an initiate of a Druid order or a Golden Dawn temple. Can I join this order at my current rank in that one?

The system practiced by the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn is different enough from the teachings of other Druid orders, and also those of the original Golden Dawn, that you would have to go through the same process of training anyway to learn what we have to teach. For this reason, every person who joins the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn begins at the beginning, and must earn the grades of Ovate, Bard, and Druid in the same way as everyone else.

Why are the Druidical Order’s grades Ovate, Bard and Druid, in that order, and not Bard, Ovate and Druid?

Most 19th and early 20th century Druid orders with three degrees of initiation placed the Ovate Grade first, the Bardic Grade second, and the Druid Grade third. When Ross Nichols founded the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids in 1964, he reversed the order of the first two grades, because he wanted to put a greater focus on the poetic and musical dimensions of Druidry. He was well within his rights to do so in his own order, but the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn follows the older pattern.

How do members earn advancement through the grades of the Order?

By completing the studies and practices given in The Celtic Golden Dawn, taking the examination of each degree, and paying the required fees. Please contact the DOGD office via the contact page before taking the examination of each degree.

Are there local temples I can join?

Not at this time. Although our Druid Grade members can petition our Governing body for temple charters, none have chosen to do so. The work of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn is geared to the solitary practitioner for the time being.

Can nonmembers attend temple meetings?

No. In fact, once we have temples, you'll have to be an Ovate grade initiate to attend any temple activities. The system of training and initiation taught in The Celtic Golden Dawn is for those who are willing to do serious individual magical work on their own; it's not about throwing parties or treating magic as a spectator sport. If you're looking for a group where you can sit on the sidelines and watch other people do solstice and equinox rituals, or go have a potluck eight times a year, you need to look somewhere else.

If I join the Druidical order of the Golden Dawn, will I be assigned a mentor?

No. The Druidical order of the Golden Dawn doesn't use the mentor system. Instead, we have a members-only Dreamwidth community where members can talk shop and ask for advice or feedback, and we also offer advice by way of our office email.

Do you have an Inner Order?

That information is available only on a need-to-know basis, and until you've completed the course of study assigned to the three grades of Ovate, Bard, and Druid, and become a Druid Grade initiate, you don't.

I'm an active member of AODA (or another Druid or GD order/temple). Can I join the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn?

Each membership application will be evaluated on a case by case basis. We recommend that if you are going to be a member of any other order, that you finish that curriculum first, or set it aside while you do ours. If you want to get credit to advance in our order you must perform the work as given in the CGD, similar to if you want to get a degree from an educational institution you must do the curriculum as given there to get credit. You can’t get a Harvard degree by performing and going to classes at another college, or mixing and matching the assignments.

I practice another magical system that's based on the Sphere of Protection. Can I join the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn?

Maybe (see above). Same answer applies.

Can I become a member of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn while incarcerated?

No. Some of the material that's central to our curriculum can't be done by an incarcerated person. Once you're released, then you may apply for membership.

Can I become a member of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn without paying a fee?

Sorry, but that's not an option. Our membership fees - US$50.00 for a lifetime membership in the DOGD - are modest enough not to put a strain even on a very restricted budget, but running a website and an order does cost money, you know. In magic as in anything else, if you want to share in the benefits, you should expect to help cover the costs.

I’m really angry with something you have said in this FAQ or that your order exists at all!

Please see our Frequently Thrown Tantrums page.