Monday, 30 November 2015

Golden Dawn Vault on Clipstone Street

Perhaps the most impressive piece of ceremonial furnishing ever to be used is the Vault of the Adepti employed in the 5=6 Ceremony of the RR et AC, the Second (or Inner) Order of the Golden Dawn. 

This seven-sided room was modelled after the chamber that Christian Rosenkreutz was said to be buried in, and its use in ritual had a profound effect on any who experienced it.

The original Vault of the Isis-Urania Temple was first housed at Thavies Inn, off Holborn Cross. It seems there was a lack of space here, and the Order had trouble securing a second room. 

Westcott wrote on 10 August 1892 that he decided to move the Vault to Clipstone Street while he was in the pastos, suggesting he was taking the symbolic place of CRC to help him make this important decision.

Due to a lack of space, it was soon moved to 24-25 Clipstone Street, just off Great Portland Street, and not far from the British Museum (where many of the original Order members met).

According to Ellic Howe, J.W. Brodie-Innes said he was "very happy at Clipstone Street, but certainly it was dirty, noisy, smelly and immoral and many objected to it." While this may have been the case, the location clearly offered the necessary room and privacy for higher grade work.

Howe describes the neighbouring businesses as being "a hairdresser, a dairyman, a confectioner, two sculptors, cabinet-makers, french polishers, a piano tuner and the offices of the German Waiters' Society."

A century has passed, and the original Vault is long gone. Clipstone Street has changed dramatically, like much of London, and this is what it looks like today: