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Year of DMK (Last Updated 04-Mar-2004)

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Introduction to the Year of DMK Project

What is the Year of DMK Project? A conversation erupted on the alt.magick and alt.magick.virtual-adepts newsgroups as a result of someone cross-posting messages between the forums. Coinciding with this, two regulars from alt.magick were leaning towards engaging in a year of solid magical work by a formal process. As the conversation continued, they came to the conclusion that they would pursue a Golden Dawn system of magick, and, after awhile, agreed upon using Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, by Donald Michael Kraig.

They invited their counterparts from alt.magick.virtual-adepts to examine the system with them, and, naturally, eventually put out the word that the project would be open to anyone.

Hah! By the time the original deadline was selected, there were 22 persons who had signed on board, and by the time the final deadline was imposed, the count had risen to 30.

The group fairly quickly decided that they wanted a forum other than alt.magick in which to converse, partially to keep the noise level down and partially to permit conversations that would be considered nontopical in alt.magick. An E-Mail list was set up on Onelist called DMK, and the criteria for joining the project became membership on that list. The group later moved to an E-Mail list by the same name at E-Groups (the two later merged into one company, E-Groups, which was then later bought out by Yahoo and is now Yahoo Groups).

The thought of adding a manual bridge to non-Internet-capable FidoNet users was quickly voted down.

The group quickly decided they would all use the same tarot deck, to aid in the coordination of symbological analysis and other factors, and debated a bit on which deck to use. In the end, the high availability of the Rider-Waite tarot deck made it the deck of choice.

The start date was set at July 23rd, 1998 e.v., which was selected because it was a New Moon, and, as it happens, also was the start of the Dog Days of Summer. Tom Schuler, a regular on alt.magick, said this about Dog Days:

July 23 is the beginning of Dog Days, when the Dog Star, Sirius (the brightest star in Canis Major, "the big dog"), rose just before dawn and signified the beginning of the life-giving floods that brought fertile soil to the Nile Delta and fed the Egyptian civilization.

Note that this celestial event happens once every 365 days and its regularity is what led to the development of the first known 365-day calendar year way back about 6000 years (as counted at 365.25 days per year) ago.

Sirius is called "the Sun Behind the Sun", which has an interesting qabalistic meaning, especially for the aspiring student of magick, seeing as how Tiphareth, the sephirah associated with the Sun, corresponds in the GD system with the grade of Adeptus Minor, the highest of the Outer Order, or the lowest of the Inner Order, depending on who was looking.

In Tarot symbolism, the Fool, first of the Major Arcana, is accompanied by a dog, too. Arf.

And so the project was undertaken. The goals of the project were twofold:
  1. To commit to performing the daily work as prescribed in the course work in Modern Magick for one year;
  2. To discuss, as a group, Modern Magick, progressing in the discussion at the rate of approximately one chapter per month.
It was also agreed that noone in the group was to be considered a teacher, nor anyone a student. It was simply to be a group effort. It was not to be a forum for bragging, and no sense of competition was to be expected. If some got ahead, and others fell behind, or even dropped out, it was to be okay for everyone to have these things occur.

That pretty much sums up what the Year of DMK Project was.

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History of the Year of DMK Project

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May 1998. The project is envisioned, discussed and agreed upon in alt.magick and alt.magick.virtual-adepts. Start date is set to July 23rd, 1998, a New Moon and, coincidentally, the start of Dog Days.

June 1998. The group selects Onelist to host the DMK E-List, to provide occassional progress reports to alt.magick, to use the Rider-Waite tarot deck, to use Modern Magick, 1st Edition, and to include only those who are capable of signing up at Onelist.

It was also agreed that the contents of the list were to be considered private material, unless specified otherwise. Hence, you'll not see the daily digest of messages from the list posted here, merely this freeform summary.

The deadline for joining the project is set at July 1st.

There is some confusion as to the meaning of "one chapter per month", and discussion ensues regarding self-censoring materials. In the end, the group more or less agrees that censoring is undesirable, and messages on material more advanced than the current group location in the course are to be tolerated or ignored.

July 1998. D. M. Kraig is invited to join the E-list, but declines so as to not have undue influence on the participants. He agrees to field questions tallied monthly. Several participants design personal Commitment Rituals or Oaths to augment the start of the project. Several participants decide to undergo ritual fasting prior to the start of the project.

As of the 1st of July, there were exactly 22 persons on the project. For fun, the members started assigning each other tarot trump cards. Some participants reported learning some new things about themselves, and how they are perceived, based on the assignments given them.

The project signup deadline is extended to July 22nd, due to some late entries, partially due to the nature of newsgroup distribution.

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July 23rd, 1998. The project begins; a full 30 persons have joined. There is a flurry of messages about the various introductory subject materials, as well as the Oath and Commitment rituals and the fasts, all of which wanes a bit after two weeks. The group agrees to align the progression through the Lessons with the Lunar month, rather than the Solar Calendar month. Several participants choose to go with the Lunabar program to compute Moon and Sun movement. Some go to paper, others to computer software for journaling. These, as well as tape recorder, are discussed as methods for recording the dream diary. Some minor revelations are shared.

Two to three weeks into the project, the group suffers its first casualty; mere days before the beginning of the next lunar month, attrition takes a second participant away.

Discussions turn more towards ancilliary subjects as the first month comes to a close; Thelema, True Will, etc. Some problems with using the list server come to light, with some people missing hordes of messages, and one suddenly developing text formatting problems.

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August 21st, 1998. Project enters Lesson Two. Another flurry of messages accompany the turnover, discussing new experiences with Lesson Two material. More and more people bow out of the project. Remaining members begin discussing pros and cons of moving to another communciation mechanism. It starts to become apparent that some participants have bowed out without notice; however, it also becomes clear that some participants are merely behind on their E-mail, but are still on the project and doing the work.

Somewhere into the second week of this lunar month, the group suddenly experiences a rush of synergy and starts uncovering a variety of intuitive and inspirational insights into some of the tarot cards. Energy in the project takes a definite turn upward, despite the dwindling quantity in participation.

September 14th, 1998. In response to growing complaints about problems with lost E-mail from Onelist's listserver, one participant takes the initiative and creates a parallel E-list on EGroups.com, and puts all the remaining participants from Onelist's E-list onto the one at E-Groups.

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September 20th, 1998. Project enters Lesson Three. Yet again, the volume of message activity increases with the new lesson, but the participants are splitting activities; several of the eighteen or so remaining participants indicate they will be continuing their work on Lessson Two. Noone objects to proceeding into Lesson Three for the purposes of discussion.

The insights into the Tarot cards continues unabated, and the group seems to have a knack for the Tree of Life symbology at the very least, along with some insights into other areas.

Despite some difficulties with E-Groups, most notably in the area of delivery time, the group continues to migrate away from Onelist and towards E-Groups. A formal vote is taken; oddly, the voting mechanism at E-Groups failed to register several votes, but discussion on the list made it clear that the move to E-groups was acceptable, and for the most part, done.

Some discussion begins on the Earth meditations, naturally, as this is the primary subject of Lesson Three. Also, discussions take place regarding expansions to the Middle Pillar Ritual and expansion of function for the LBRP.

One of the participants begins classes in Latin, and offers to translate English Mottos to Latin; several participants take him up on the offer. The preliminary Motto choices being investigated are varied and interesting.

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October 20th, 1998. Project enters Lesson Four. Yet again, the volume of message activity increases with the new lesson, but not as significantly as in the past. Discussion turns to the Air attunements, the I.O.B. and the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram. The group's complement seems to stablize, although it is clear that there are still silent participants. As the month progresses, the group gets very silent as each participant starts exploring subjects which have them turning inward.

Though the group does not halt having its discussion continue into Lesson Four, participants are now scattered all over from Lesson Two to Five.

Discussions occassionally rise on the subjects of Enochian, fear in progress, protection in and out of Ritual, Will, Thelema and mottos. The issue of the privacy of the group's E-List posts is revisited and reinforced. Inconsistencies in Kraig's writings, either when compared to other parts of Kraig's writings or with other Golden Dawn sources, are noted and discussed.

Several people begin to indicate some irregularities in the consistency of their Ritual work. Few are overly concerned with the ramifications thereof, and accept that pressing on with the Work is the important part.

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November 18th, 1998. Project enters Lesson Five. Discussion is at an all time low, with the group going days without any messages at all. Most conclude that it is the private nature of elemental attunement which has caused this to happen.

There is, however, increased discussion about tool manufacture as many of the active participants are finally reaching the point where they are getting the resources necessary for the creation of the Pentacle and Dagger. More discussion of Enochian takes place. There is some talk about the SIRP. There is also some enhanced discussion about 'little nasties'. The Goetia comes up in a little more detail. Discussions about the mechanics of ritual makes it clear that most participants are doing at least part of their ritual work astrally at this point, some more intentionally than others.

Oddly, many of the participants report a faltering in the daily work at this point, yet none find themselves having quit, merely that the daily routine has become disrupted.

Some discussion about orders and groups versus individual work takes place.

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December 18th, 1998. Project enters Lesson Six. Discussion continues to be sparse. There are occassional comments about the intermittant nature of the daily rituals from participants. There is a brief pickup in social chatter, but then the group falls fairly silent again. Some discussion of the rainbow wand ensues. Very nearly everyone is behind the "course current". It's pretty clear that the holidays have disrupted nearly everyone's progress. Some participants indicate a sense that things will return to cohesiveness with the New Year.

January 13th, 1999. The question is raised about holding back the group "bookmark" one lunar month, to which there are no negative replies.

January 17th, 1999. The New Moon marks the first lunar month where the group has not proceeded to discussion of the next Lesson.

Discussion picks up a little during this time, on a variety of subjects. Grinding through the elemental lessons is clearly a bogging-down point on the project. A few people are starting to show signs of interests which are divergent from Kraig's outline. There seems to be a sense of anticipation regarding getting to the "Grey Magick" part of the book, though not everyone's anticipation is based on an excitedness to begin it, but, rather, some seem to be anticipating it strictly for its change of pace.

Several members are modifying rituals to match their models; one is adding components involving God, Goddess and Great Rite, from a Wiccan perspective, and others have pulled in resources from outside the project. One of the project founders starts another DMK-related project in person, with heavy emphasis on sex magick. There is some discussion of the effects consistent ritual has had upon different members of the project, and in one case, the effect inconsistency has had. Some more discussion of the MPR and correspondences takes place. One of the participants attends seminars which feature Lon Milo Duquette, Poke Runyon, and plans to attend one by none other than Donald Michael Kraig himself. Some research into Kraig and his occult and tantric involvements ensues. Another participant attends a lecture by Kraig and reports its substance.

Another piece of software called The Brain gets the attention of many of the remaining project participants as being a great way to store information.

It is becoming clear that the group will not be progressing as a group into the new chapters any time soon. Participants are still scattered all over the book, and interests are starting to fan out. However, a rekindled discussion of tarot cards pops up, mostly regarding frequency of particular cards being drawn.

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February 15th, 1999. Without much in the way of a formal choice on the matter, the group sort of proceeds into Lesson Seven. Some discussion of dreams takes place. The member who had started a side group notes that jealousy and immaturity infected that group and reduced it to its original two members (himself and one other). Discussions of sex magick ensue.

One participant creates a MIDI file with tones timed to the breathing cycle he uses during the LBRP and shares it with the group, to mixed reviews. He also ponders the creation of an animation of the LBRP. A discussion comes up regarding antidepressants, their effects on magick, and alternatives. A brief discussion on the effects of vibration in ritual takes place. There is also a brief discussion of Jesus and the potential for his having been trained in Egypt mystery schools. More books are discussed, with a seeming bias towards DuQuette's work.

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March 17th, 1999. Again without fanfare, the project enters Lesson Eight. More discussion of Tarot; detailed discussion of some aspects of Sephir Yetzirah takes place. One member reports increased dream activity since undertaking the "Grey magick" of Lesson Seven, which leads to more dream discussion.

Discrepancies and variations on rituals are being discovered and, to a limited degree, discussed. Several people discuss the values and detriments of modifying rituals to suit the magician. The impact of blinds and of secrecy is discussed. The left-brain and right-brain aspects of ritual are discussed.

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April 15th, 1999. Ostensibly, the project enters Lesson Nine. In reality, discussion is taking place pretty much on random subjects, with frequently-echoed sentiments that everyone is pretty much on their own forks in the path at this point. The book itself is rarely the subject or guide of conversation anymore. There is some discussion of where participants think they're heading; Chaos, Wicca, GD or non-GD, etc. Very nearly all of the vocally active participants indicate some irregularity in what was originally to be the daily routine. Some discussion about the end-of-project party takes place.

There is more discussion of Karma and the general nature of magick. One participant indicates a potential readiness for an entirely new functional paradigm, ready to give up tools made twelve years prior and possibly even the Motto selected at that time. Discussion takes place regarding some of the staggering changes in the Lives of some of the participants. There are some comments about synchronicity again, reminiscent of the opening months of the project. Some discussion takes place about the value of teaching others in solidifying one's own knowledge. The subject of joining orders versus solitary practice comes up again. One person's account became mysteriously dropped from the E-list, but had a backup account which was also signed up, so the discrepency was caught.

One member indicates preparations for a 'major evocation' to take place in the near future, with some details not yet chosen. Another member has plans for some Goetic evocations with a partner. Some recent practical magick (Grey Magick, according to Kraig) from several members is discussed in varying degrees of detail. More discussions arise on the topics of the nature of 'True Will' and Enochian magick.

As an interesting twist, demonstrating the progress of the participants, the conversation turns again to the structure of the course's design, but instead of questioning why things are done the way they are, most who still hold interest in this style of magick seem to understand the whyfores and indicate an appreciation of the subtle filtering the process creates.

One of the participants shares some fairly detailed and inspiring research into what turns out to be source concept material for Liber Resh.

The tone of the messages as this lunar month draws to a close seem to lean towards preparing for the end of the project, seeming to recognize that the unity of the group from a magical work perspective is breathing its last. There is, however, brief discussion of entertaining the prospect of another yearlong project.

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May 15th, 1999. Though the project theorectically enters Lesson Ten, noone on the project is even pretending that there is any sense of linear process at work here.

However, discussion of new effects in the Tarot Meditation, Tree of Life and pathworking is raised, as well as a continued discussion of Thelema, notably the difference between a 'Crowleyite' and a 'Thelemite'.

Some more strange effects with the E-List service are encountered, with one person showing as being subscribed but not being permitted to post. These things are corrected quickly.

As would be expected, more discussion of the rapidly-shrinking end of year party takes place.

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June 13th, 1999. The New Moon passes without event or any significant notice on the project; though this would have been the point at which the illustrious last chapter of the book would have been central to the discussion on the project, it is of course 'over' from the perspective of group work.

June 17th, 1999. Messages at this point focus solely on people linking up for the end of project 'party'.

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Answers from DMK

In this section I was going to be posting the questions tallied for Kraig, and the answers he gave to them. Since I'd promised to check against the FAQ in the 2nd Edition before sending the questions to Don, to eliminate duplication of effort, I got behind in the effort to tally questions. So, as it happens, he has been asked no questions and therefore there are no answers.

One of the founding members of the project noted, however, that the group had already hit upon every question in the FAQ by about Lesson Three or so.

It is still my intent to go through the archives of the project's E-List messages and pull out all the questions that might have been directed to Kraig, and then send them to him and post the answers here. I do not have an estimate at this time for when I might have the time for this undertaking.

Each question and answer will be posted on its own page and linked to from here, since some people have indicated that they might not want to be influenced by Kraig's answers on some of the questions that have come up. By posting each to its own page, these participants can click on the ones they want to read up on, and ignore the others. Though the project itself is over, and the participants of the project will not, in all likelihood, be affected by Kraig's answers, visitors to this page might have similar sentiments, and so the intended structure of separated questions will be maintained.

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