One of the modern Golden Dawn founders – Cris Monnastre is dead

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One of the key players in shaping of the modern Golden Dawn has died – Patricia Anne Behman, better known as Cris Monnastre, was 71.

Behman was one of the few modern Golden Dawn people to have been trained and initiated by Israel Regardie. She initially met Regardie when she was one of his Reichian patents. She met with Regardie years after she ended her therapy and started studying with him in the Golden Dawn system.

She told me in 1998 that Regardie did not like the outer-order rituals of the Golden Dawn and so he had her doing the Watch Towers rituals every day to get the same effect. The two of them began dating.

In 1982 Regardie initiated her to 5=6 in a vault built by Chic Cicero, along with Adam Forrest, and the decision was made to form the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She took the role of Cancellārius although the order was very loose knit and most chiefs were completely independent.

In 1983, she visited New Zealand with Regardie and there, at his request, was put through part of the 6=5 initiation ritual by Pat and Chris Zalewski.

Pat Zalewski gave Behman copies of some of the Whare Ra material, which meant her group had material other than that provided by Regardie’s Golden Dawn book which she had been using. But other than that, the trip proved a disaster for Behman’s relationship with Regardie and the couple broke up.

On her return, Behman continued to set up HOGD groups on the West Coast. Among her students included important names like Sam Webster and Donald Kraig who described her has his first teacher. Generally, these groups were short-lived, with people going off to do their own thing. She even attempted to recreate the Isis temple in London in 1998, which met twice in the basement of Atlantis book shop before it was destroyed by a former friend Gerald Suster.

As she drew closer to retirement she was always concerned that her occult personality might cause the ruin of her career, which was working in the education field. In 1989, she wrote the introduction to the Golden Dawn Black Book, under the pen name Cris Monnastre.

Staying under the public eye would prove difficult as Behman became drawn into a period known as the Golden Dawn wars. In 1992 Monnastre initiated and advanced David Griffin into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1994, she attended Griffin’s 5=6 initiation in Florida and a row broke out when it was discovered that she had awarded him a grade-rise minutes afterwards. The HOGD chiefs became concerned that a Portal Thesis had not been written. What happened next is a matter of argument from both sides either Behman resigned from the HOGD, along with Griffin and went to form their own Order also called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or Behman replaced the other two chiefs with and reconstituted the order with 3 temples, her Alpha Omega II temple in Los Angeles, the Isis Temple in Stockholm, and the Ahathoor Temple Number 7 under Jean-Pascal Ruggiu [see comments below].

Through the Golden Dawn wars, which were partly a legal battle over who owned the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn name, but mostly an internet slanging match. Behman stayed connected to both sides, regularly ringing both Chic Cicero and David Griffin.

But by 1998 she had enough. She was close to retirement and suffering from ill-health, the last thing she wanted was to lose her pension so close to retirement. She declared her exit from the Golden Dawn. She signed over any rights and a few items of Regardie memorabilia to David Griffin and walked away from it all.

Sadly, she became very sick and slipped into a coma for nearly two years, she awoke briefly a year ago and was able to communicate with her friends.  She fell back into the coma and was moved to a hospice a few months ago where she died of a stroke.

Although she would be the first to admit that she was deeply flawed, make many mistakes and spent too much of her life fighting alcohol abuse, there are many people, and orders who owe their existence to her teaching and choices.

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5 comments

  • Thank you Nick, once again for a fair and balanced article. There have been many mean things said online about Cris Monnastre that were very unfair.
    The only thing that is not balanced in this article is that it describes a terrible schism from only one side.
    Cris Monnastre did not resign from anything during the schism of 94.
    The real point of contention was a charter Cris Monnastre gave me to form a temple in Stockholm.
    CM was giving an ultimatum by one of the other chiefs the day of the Northridge earthquake to either revoke the charter “or else.”
    The morning following the earthquake, she learned what “or else” meant. The other Chief lied to the order, claiming that she “resigned.”
    Rather than fight with them, Cris Monnastre simply replaced the other two chiefs and resconsituted the order with 3 temples, her Alpha Omega II temple in Los Angeles, the Isis Temple in Stockholm, and the Ahathoor Temple Number 7 under Jean-Pascal Ruggiu.
    There are two sides to every story and I would appreciate it if you would further balance the article to not be so one sided about the schism of 94.

  • Moreover, when Cris Monnastre ultimately did leave the Golden Dawn, she was indeed disgusted by the terrible flame wars, but her primary reason was another. The she progressed spiritually, the more that CM realized that she was more naturally inclined to Mysticism rather than Magick. Her later years she dedicated to Catholic Christian Mysticism. I always respected her privacy so ever interjected, but there is no longer any reason for that, and it is high time that the record be set straight.

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