Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Pillars & Tetragrams

This was going to be a huge challenge.

Not only did I have to make the pillars, but also the Tetrahedrons and the bases for supporting them when uncovered in some grades.

The temple Praemonstrator guided every stage of the process so they came out perfectly.  They were to be used in the Irish Golden Dawn Temple based in Dublin.

We initially sketched out the specifications to get an idea of the wood, paint, and perspex needed.

I used about 10m of 19mm x 19mm pine, 8 sheets of 3.2mm mdf, and 2 sheets (12" by 8") of translucent perspex.

The base is just over 40cm wide/deep. The total height of the pillars goes over 2m.

This was the point that I knew I'd need power tools.  There was no way I was going to be able to cut each pillar side anywhere near accurately or quickly.  It was at that point I discovered how useful the mask was when I made the first cuts.
One cut and covered!
After masses of research I eventually bought a smaller Makita circular saw for the job.  I'd thought about cheaper tools; but since seeing a drill go up in smoke I'd decided to get the best tools I could afford.

I started by assembling the base frames, and screwing/nailing those to increase stability.

Then I started with the pillar body frames.  These needed to have 0.91° angles for the joins (Yep, it can be done!), and got pretty close.  Everything was glued, clamped, and then screwed for stability.

Then came the moment of cutting the mdf.  Everything had been marked out, clamped (You must NEVER clamp the wood part that falls away... If you do, you risk severe injury due to the blade jamming in the groove and it leaping out with kickback.)

I was going to cut 4 sheets at a time for the pillar sides - everything had to be figured out beforehand.

You can see in the picture that one side of the wood being cut is not clamped and can move freely.
The assembly of the pillars body was now ready.

These were glued, and then the edges routed to give them a rounded edge. Primed, and painted shortly after.

The rough, raw pillars

The painting began, and while they dried I began to figure out how to make the capital.

That temporary capital literally fell off moments later

The paint drying was going to take a fair while.  This gave me time to create frames for the capitals and to start making the Tetrahedrons.

The tetrahedrons... [NOT suitable for real candles] well I had tried to make wood supports, but my head melted trying to work out the angles and then a tool to be able to do it...  I resorted to human ingenuity and 3d printed them at Shapeways.

3D printed Tetrahedrons skeletons

To shape the perspex you'll need to score the sheets with a blade designed that it points towards yourself.  You'll need to score the plastic deeply many times and right to the edges (or you'll get lumps on the edges near the points). To snap the perspex; Place the scored mark along a straight hard edge on table, the scored edge facing upwards - clamp it well and then use your body weight to push down and snap it.  It's going to send small shards everywhere - so goggles/gloves are a must, sweep up after... and cover with a cloth while snapping if you want to stop projectiles.
Perspex/Plexiglass Blade

You can attach the sheets with superglue or any other clear plastic glue.

The Perspex covers attached to outside

Light test

The capital, Tetrahedron and its base (the white is wood filler)

These came together really well and kitchen was getting cramped with all the separate items.  The Capitals and tetrahedron bases were painted and pillars assembled for first time.

The pillars had a special locking system in the base enabling them to be moved around easily.  You can fit both capitals, tetrahedrons and their bases into one pillar base (plus other temple tools if needed)


  1. Elegant. I like how these turned out. I've been debating whether to make pillars for private use for some time, but I'm not sure I need them. At least now I have some ideas how to do them.

  2. Brilliant work...Pillars of a differing kind feature in both systems I work now I know where to get my own for my Shrines/Temple Room!

  3. Nice, and they look unique. but these are not the traditional Golden Dawn Temple pillars as described in several books (Robert Wang, Chic Ciscero, Israel Regardie), which are round with a square base, round top with a 2D decahedron base and a 3D red lighted tetrahedron topper.
    These don't resemble the Pillar of Solomon's Temple either.
    So while I totally appreciate the hard work and effort why not go traditional?
    BTW: I am a Master wandmaker (ROTA Magic Wands) and Golden Dawn traditional tools and weapons are my specialty. :D
    My first pillars were rescued from a Victoria Home demolition in Pennsylvania, USA and after removing 200 years of paint were remodeled after the original specifications, with custom base and topper.

    1. Those people you cite were all after the original fracture - they went on to create their own systems (SM, BOTA etc). These were as traditional as they could possibly be, with the limited information from the Mather's period. There are some handy groups on facebook (the Golden Dawn Research Trust is moderated by people well aware of the roots behind all forms the GD has taken in the past), and worth connecting with, if you want to learn more about those current systems, and the difference to the older ones. There were many things added and changed by Regardie/SM forms of GD, and is very liberating when these differences are discovered.