In this week’s episode of the show the one and only John Michael Greer returns for his now 4th time on the Thoth Hermes Podcast. You are probably familiar with his blog and I’m sure you’ll be enjoying our conversation on John’s latest work, the initiation system ‘The Fellowship of the Hermetic Rose’ or FHR which at the time of airing is available online for free, so please make sure to check out the show notes for further information.

This time, JMG as he’s frequently called, tells us how the passing away of one of his teachers John Gilbert marked a pivotal point in his decision to form the Fellowship. John Gilbert whose name might also be familiar to most of you was one of the significant teachers of Western Esoteric Tradition and the founder of ‘The Magickal Order of the Golden Dawn’. He initiated JMG into this order but then encountered some difficulties in his endeavour to keep up an adequate organisational structure.

After John Gilbert had deceased, JMG received permission from his widow to unpack the material renaming it ‘The Fellowship of the Hermetic Rose’ and putting out the knowledge in a reorganised form into a freely downloadable end result including a series of self-initiations.

Of course, it is not possible to explain JMG’s system without going back to the roots of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn established in 1887 although its founding history is more an appropriate material for a novel or a Netflix series. We will go into the lore behind the (in)famous Cipher Manuscripts and shed some light on the fragmentation that followed some ‘organisational issues’ and on the respective roles of Arthur E. Waite and Juliet Ashley resulting in JMG’s new system of initiatic practice.


JMG will go on to share his very personal story how he came to the conclusion that this particular system works so well despite of his original training with the classic Golden Dawn ceremonial magic work. He will also point out the main differences between both and give us immensely valuable insights into the original intentions of The Golden Dawn and the requirements and goals of its graduates. John will also elaborate on the issue how this changed and why during the order’s tumultuous course of history and emphasize how the Outer Order’s extensive practice offers a solid foundation for every magical working that is intended (though not obligatory) in some later phase of the practitioner.

We’ll dive deeply into the requirements of the Fellowship’s daily practice and what this means for individuals living in our modern times in terms of setting aside enough time and a working space for practice. We will discuss meditation, divination and protective ritualistic measures and break every part down to explain the basic idea behind them and how they serve the practitioner. John will also share some information on the degrees of the Fellowship as well as on the specific paraphernalia or tools for the work which are a little bit less money and space consuming compared to our Victorian aristocratic peers.

In the end, JMG will kindly open up regarding some future book projects, one being a series of occult mystery novels covering basic training coming out in spring/summer 2023 and his next big one on spiritual healing.

Music played in this episode

You know my “faible” for both classical and world music… and my ecclectic taste…

So I am afraid you will have to bear with it once again in the musical choices of this week’s episode!

1) DIE WALKÜRE – FEUERZAUBER – Richard Wagner, arr. Leopold Stokowski

In English you would call it the “Magic Fire Music”, this final scene from the opera “The Valkyrie”. And we have it here in one of those fine arrangements by the great Leopold Stokowski!
This is an hommage to my first conversations via email with John Michael Greer, seven or eight years back, where we both found out about our interest in Richard Wagner’s music.

(Track starts at [6:19])


A lovely piece of orchestral music from this opera, performed by the Francfort Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Paavo Järvi

(Track starts at [56:05])

3) LAKOTA LULLABY – Lakota Traditional

sung by young Brazilian artist Alexia Evellyn

(Track starts at [1:41:30])

Intro and Outro Music
especially written and recorded for the Thoth-Hermes Podcast by Chris Roberts

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