Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Inflation of Universe...well, my thesis...

I’ve been trying to finish the third chapter of my thesis. This chapter focuses on the history and then ritual structure of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Today, I found a novel solution to finishing the chaper: I made it into two chapters! Now I can claim to have finished chapter three. I quite like this solution.

Realistically, my opening, introductory, chapter is about six pages long. The second chapter discussing Western Esotericism and the current academic work on it (and its common definition via Faivre) is  14 pages long. The third chapter had gotten to be about 28 pages long in two parts, one on the history of the Golden Dawn (Cipher Manuscript, Mackenzie, Westcott, Mathers, Rosicrucian Society, blah blah) and the other on the initiatiory structure of the order (this is how we do fraternal initiation rituals, hey, our friend the Tree of Life, Renaissance roots of Cabala, etc. etc.). It made sense to make this into two chapters. The third chapter is now 11 pages long and the new fourth chapter is now 18 pages long.

One amusing bit is that I get about a credit for every ten pages towards graduation requirements. They tell you this to make sure people don’t write something too short. I only need five credits to graduate, already have 25 graduate semester credits. So, on length, I’m already at minimum to graduate. Looking through other theses in the program, I’ve seen ones from around 50 pages through to about 120. I have a feeling that I’m going to get to at least 90 or 100 easily before I’m done. I actually wish it was shorter but it doesn’t seem likely to be possible.

One example of this is that I had a note on a page of my thesis where I had made a small nod at summarizing Ficino and Neoplatonic theurgy in the Renaissance that I should “add more here.” Today I went and dug out my Francis Yates and added the “more here” to that one paragraph entry. It’s now about two and a half pages. That’s still pretty short for its topic but things like that are what cause the thesis to just inflate.

The less than fun thing here is that this is all background. It is in the subsequent chapters where I’ll actually get to discuss the soul in Golden Dawn. All of this is simply to give a context to both Western Esotericism and to what the Golden Dawn actually was in practice and in theory.