New Reformed Orthodox Order of the
Golden Dawn (NROOGD)
The NROOGD is an American Witchcraft tradition which
was founded by a group of San Franciscans interested in the occult;
they banded together to perform an archetypal Witches’
Sabbath for a class at a San Francisco university in 1968. Using
published sources from Robert Graves, Margaret Murray, and
Gerald Gardner, a ritual was composed which serves as the
basis of the NROOGD practice. After repeat performances, the
group created an identity for themselves and trained others in
its performance. The name they chose, New Reformed Orthodox
Order of the Golden Dawn, is a play on the attitudes they
had toward what they were doing and upon their spiritual antecedents.
NROOGD is a wholly new tradition stemming from
the magical order known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn; they consider themselves their spiritual and magical
successors.
The mother circle of NROOGD ‘‘hived off’’ (branched off
into) daughter and granddaughter covens. In 1976, the governing
body of the order, called the Red Cord Council, was dissolved
and the NROOGD became known as a tradition. Those
groups tracing their lines of initiation back to a member of the
original group and that share certain forms of liturgy consider
themselves part of the NROOGD tradition. Covens are autonoEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. New Reformed Orthodox Order of the . . .
1113
mous and recognize one another’s initiates. The identities of
initiates are held in strictest confidence.
Coven esbats are usually held skyclad; they work on ethical
magic and the celebration of the divinity of each participant.
The covens recognize and greet the force of a Goddess and
God.
Initially, the ritual performance required three priestesses
and one priest, but now this form is usually reserved for large
public rituals; the smaller coven meetings require only one of
each. Although magical workings vary in form and content,
they often include charms and simple poetry. Mythic enactments
corresponding to a needed transformation may also be
performed.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, younger members expanded
inherited liturgy by writing new poetry and songs for
new rituals. The NROOGD encourages creative expression,
and these new writings serve to keep the tradition alive.
The core NROOGD ritual, written by Aidan Kelly and others,
begins with a line dance in the form of an inward and then
outward spiral, representing death and rebirth, with coveners
singing a chant—‘‘Tout, tout, tout, throughout and about!’’ Afterward,
conjurations of elements, which go into a central
‘‘Charging Bowl,’’ begin with ‘‘I conjure salt for savor. . . .’’
Gods, demigods, or other spirits at each of the cardinal directions
serve as Guardians of the Circle and of the Elements.
Each coven has their own guardians that are unique from other
covens. Names of the Gods are idiosyncratic to each group and
the names are kept secret.
The sharing of food and drink (called a Love Feast) concludes
the ritual, as members prepare themselves to reenter
their daily lives.
Three initiations distinguish the practice of NROOGD. The
first initiation, called the White Cord, marks the entrance either
into the NROOGD community, or into a particular coven’s
instruction. The second initiation, called the Red Cord, is a full
initiation into the Mysteries of Witchcraft. Red Cord initiates
are elders of the tradition, and are empowered to lead their
own covens and train and initiate. The third initiation is not bestowed
by human hand but rather by the Gods themselves, and
is called a Black Cord, or Taking the Garter. This last is the
most intensely personal of the three.
The order holds large public ritual celebrations at each of
the eight Sabbats for the benefit of the greater Pagan community.
The most unique of these celebrations is the re-enactment
of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the fall. Area covens also meet
periodically to decide responsibilities for the coming year.
NROOGD member covens are primarily in the San Francisco
Bay Area, yet elders are found all over California, the Pacific
Northwest, Michigan, and on the East Coast. There is no central
authority nor spokesperson for the tradition.
The order publishes a quarterly magazine called The Witches
Trine, consisting of news, articles, poetry and reviews relating
to the NROOGD tradition and Witchcraft in general.
Sources
About the NROOGD. httpwww.conjure.comTRINE
nroogd.html. May 1, 2000.