Following a blogging trend : short points on secrecy

Sometimes I like to be one of the herd, and it seems nearly every GD blogger and his i-dog has been writhing over this topic recently, each plonking up replies to posts and their own posts. So why not? I have done a bit of replying myself, trying to get some sense injected into the ‘debate’ and reacting (I hope with decorum) to accusations of oath breaking. For those interested see Nick Farrell’s blog, GH Fr LES’s, GH Fr SR’s, H Fr AIT’s, Fr AM, Fr Barrabbas and others. Of course I have blogged on this before: here and here and here.

These comments are not decorous in any way and will probably really annoy some folk, but heck I’m not on their Christmas card list anyway, Perth is too far away for them to smash my windows and I really can’t be bothered with politeness sometimes. The whole sobbing mess of the Golden Dawn community is so depressing, if it wasn’t for the beauty and potency of the tradition which has helped me unfold and serve others, I doubt I’d be bothered with it all.

What has depressed me the most about these discussions is that senior leaders focus on magical secrecy more in terms of what is or is not revealed rather than the more subtle, beautiful and powerful mysteries it points to. The real secrets of the Golden Dawn, like the mysteries of the Eucharist and the mysteries of sex cannot be revealed. All the rituals, signs, symbols and passwords which are secret merely point to these real secrets. A published paper copy of magical ritual, no matter what grade or provenance is akin to sex instruction manual with instructions of when and where to put what – simply a guide to the real action. And just as the public availability of the rubric of the Mass does not diminish one iota the Mystery of the Institution of the Body of Christ, so too the publication of a GD text cannot affect the mysteries it points to.

Nick Farrell and a few others say this clearly but many seem not to get it.

Secrecy in magic is a tool for spiritual unfoldment, nothing more and nothing less (John Michael Greer explores this well). Without tools we cannot approach the mysteries, but as soon as we valorize any tool for its own sake we enter idolatry and we can kiss goodbye to deeper spiritual unfoldment since we have created a barrier in our own minds.

The approach to secrecy that seems to be being taken by many in the GD is frankly idolatrous. I mean, seriously guys…what other word can we use to describe GH Fr LES’s insistence that a Golden Dawn oath of secrecy applies to material from other Orders we find in a library?

Another depressing trend is the wink-wink, hint-hint that there are REAL secrets from REAL orders BEYOND the GD/RR et AC who will not reveal their SECRETS to anyone one who they think aren’t trustworthy. Or that there are HIDDEN GUARDIANS who will get the naughty oath breakers back somehow. In this post GH Fr LES waxes lyrical about secrets, assuring his readers (“It is for YOU – the spiritual elite of this generation”) that all is not lost, that higher Orders are out there ready to help the worthy despite the ravages we GD oath breakers have caused. While not sounding quite like a used car salesman (as I describe in this post) it is a close call. This use of occult clichés and draw cards is really dated and, well just plain boring these days…sorry.

The appeal to hidden Orders, masters etc is all a load of nonsense anyway. I know the GD Order of GH Frs SR and SR is very earnest in all this, but let’s face it, there is no proof. GH Fr SR said the internal alchemical tradition of these Orders is supposedly a tradition handed down from the Hellenic era. Ho-hum, who hasn’t heard these tales before? To base our sharing, and yes publication, of GD material which will aid many folk worldwide on the fact we may get on the bad side of these mysterious hidden brothers would be bizarre in the extreme.

Dalai Lama Leaving Tibet

The situation is of course not helped by GH Fr LES’s subtle and not so subtle hints that his Order is the ONLY order with access to these HIGHER Orders and in turn these are the ONLY Orders which have the TRUE secrets which are the ONLY means for full initiation available. I suspect all this is not quite true, not quite a farce but somewhere in between. We will never know of course because of the secrecy involved. Ho hum…nothing changes.

Now, in terms of the sheer volume of spiritual (and using the word broadly, magical) secrets that have been revealed recently, the top prize has to go the Vajrayana traditions of Tibet. Largely following the direction and lead of HH the Dalai Lama, hundreds of previously secret manuscripts and processes have been made available and translated. The generosity of the Tibetan Buddhists is immense. They have done this to aid all Beings, seeing a genuine spiritual desire and need and meeting it in a contemporary way, making material accessible. And as anyone initiated into these traditions by a Tantric Master will attest, their traditions have not suffered a bit, have not been profaned and have not diminished. Makes you think, eh? 🙂

24 comments

  1. Katie Moore · July 30, 2010

    Very true Peregrin. The mysteries hold themselves secret quite simply because they are so profound and beyond the material. Getting caught in the trappings of what is ultimately a culturally and historically produced tradition and while necessary in the 19th and 20th centuries, is not relevant to the 21st century magician. As Peter Cropley says, all a magician needs in a stick of incense and her will. Intrapersonal Alchemy is the key to the mysteries.

  2. Peregrin · July 30, 2010

    Thanks, Katie. Yes, I guess it is a cultural/time thing. Thanks.

    I agree re the Intrapersonal Alchemy though must add a rider, which knowing your politics, I am sure you would agree with. While change is always personally instigated, the paradox is we are not independant beings. Our transformation is always bound up with the whole, the corporate, the social. The Personal is Political is Spiritual. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” This is the core truth of all paths, and again I go weak reading the great MLK quoted on the side bar 🙂 Thanks.

  3. Sincerus Renatus · July 30, 2010

    Peregrin,

    We are talking about two different things here. You are addressing revelation of mysteries, which is always personal and is supposed to be facilitated by the training and application of symbols of a tradition, etc. The Christian monks and nuns for example doesn’t profess to teach esotericism; all their teachings are part of the church which holds nothing secret as to the teachings of Christ. Still these monks and nuns are mystics and their “secrets” is expressed by their revelations in the mystical state, which cannot be expressed with words – hence it being “secret”.

    You compare with the church mass which is exoteric. The Hermetic tradition and its eucharist is esoteric. This means that a distinction is made between initiates and non-initiates. The hermetic tradition i best taught and conferred through initiations and gradual training and teaching. This means that its teachings must be secret so that the initiate doesn’t receive certain instructions and theory premature. At least this is the most optimal situation from the perspective of the initiate. Thus I don’t agree with you that esoteric teachings is for the masses. It is not even for the minority. One hasn’t the right to receive esoteric teachings (written or oral). One has to work for it and earn it.

    You also compare with the Tibethan buddist trantric traditions. It is up to them to reveal their teachings to the public if they want. Besides not even a traditionalist Order as the H.O.G.D./A+O is dead silent, as you are very well aware of. We have been bold enough to reveal true secrets concering alchemy to the public which has never seen the light before. But this wasn’t done without the consent of the guardians of these secrets, the Alchemical Masters.

    Thus it is up to the Western Hermetic schools to decide for themselves if to reveal secrets or not; this decision is not left for anyonoe else outsider or to one particular initiate to decide without the consent of the Chiefs of that particular Order. In my opinion they (the Hermetic Orders) have the RIGHT to uphold the integrity of their teachings, not the other way around. Besides I doubt that we know all about the Tibethan tantric teachings. I’m sure they still have reserved their most precious secrets for their own orders (or monastaries).

    But most important, what me and G.H. Fra. L.E.S. is addressing in this debate is the integrity of a working group, the egregore. Even you know (or should know) that egregores need the hermetic vessel of silence and secrecy for it to thrive. For initiation ceremonies to be most optimally effective it needs a strong egregore. Thus in particular the intiation ceremonies themselves need to be secret, or have parts that are secret and uprofaned.

    What if your own Temple in Perth has written or used some versions of the Rituals which weren’t public. How would you have felt if someone profand them without your consent?

    Not longer that one week ago you made me aware that the are much more similarites between the different factions than differences. But on this subject of secrecy in the esoteric traditions you, particularily in this post, have also made me aware that there is an abyss between us. The importance of secrecy is the very foundation of a esoteric school. So, sorry as I am to say this, you and me (and the respective factions that we represent) are fundamentally different in our outlook on the mysteries and therefore live worlds apart. Unfortunately I cannot come to another conclusion.

    S:.R:.

  4. Arcad · July 30, 2010

    Care Fra Peregrin,

    I may not be in a position to judge on this or even have a well founded opinion. I also do not say it is impossible or untrue – I do not know. But I always found the idea of teh secret chiefs strange. I mean they exist over 100s of years and pop up now and then when it is convenient to justify some changes or developments. Why not saying “we developed teh system further and there you go”? I believe the people also in the olden times were knowing what they did, so why cover their own geniusses? Of course if you can put yourself in line with a much older tradition… But then, who am I to say there are no secret chiefs, maybe there are some guardians of the secrets and systems… However, I see the points on all sides and there are some here and there. What I still find distracting is that the debate still rather focusses on the “We against You” issue although each side says it has nothign to do with that and they have all respect for the other side. I take it that secrecy as such is an important issue for the orders. But I agree with you that some of the discussion goes a bit too far – or besides the point.

    In L.V.X
    Arcad

  5. dirkt · July 30, 2010

    from one point of view, secrecy was and is simply a tool to conserve a sense of reverence and awe for certain practices and rituals, so as to make them something “special” for the practitioner. a bit hard (while certainly not impossible) to treat any ritual or practice as something “special” and awe inspiring when evereyone runs arround in t-shirs, depicting the kalachakra tantra mandala or (in case of the GD) the rosycross symbol because they are just fun to look at. from another perspective, secrecy serves to protect people from engaging in practices, they are simply not cut out for. no sense in engaging in sophisticated tantric practices when you find your personal summum bonum in watching the worldcup or are perfectly content with partaking in sunday service.

    in terms of the GD, that first view of secrecy was more or less done for when crowley published it’s rituals in his equinox and regardie later made it even more available to a greater public audience through his books. after that, the emergence of the internet whistled it from the rooftops.

    but in a way, that’s a perfectly normal development. the buddhist tantric tradition dealt with that for a thousand years by simply subtly altering existing tantras or developing new ones, when the old ones had become too much a part of pop culture. maybe thats still necessary today, maybe not.

    as for “secret chiefs” or “hidden third orders”, i see that as instituting myth to further the notion of the reverence and specialty in the same manner, as for example buddhist tantras were traditionally “hidden” by a certain bodhisattva or buddha in a pure land, to be “discovered” there by a distinguished yogi of that tradition. who takes those “skillful means” literary and makes no difference between myth and reality, has imo certainly absolutely no understanding of what modern magic/mysticism or tantra is all about. sadly, that seems to be the greater part of the modern GD community from what i can read about it on the internet.

    on the other hand, those myths come still in handy for that psychological “bag of tricks” a magician/shaman can use in those “imaginary mongoose for hunting imaginary sankes” type of scenarios, when employed with great care.

    my two cents.

    as for MLK, i totally agree.

  6. Samuel · July 30, 2010

    Peregrin,

    Another excellent post. I realize that I am not going to be making friends with some people with my comments about Secrecy.

    I do happen to agree that the GD is a wonderfully sublime tradition, and that sublimity comes not from published or unpublished documents of the original Golden Dawn (1888-1903), Stella Matutina (1903-1978), Alpha et Omega (1903- c. 1940), but rather through the practice of the material in both a temple and personal setting, the study of the symbols, meditation on those symbols, and the insights that come from this sort of work.

    These original documents published by Crowley, Regardie, Torrens, and others have only furthered the tradition rather than harmed it. It has given those serious students who are doing the work additional material to compare, to see subtle differences, to gain insight from these differences. This also helps the modern GD practitioner (regardless of stripe) to gain insight into what the writer was thinking at the time the “original” document was written. These ideas can now be expanded upon by more modern GD members as they expand the material of their Orders.

    Secrecy does have a purpose, and as Peregrin pointed out John Michael Greer deals with this eloquently, so no need for me to go into it.

    In my opinion, those that make the most noise about Secrecy and Profanation of “Sacred material” are doing so not out of a sense of loyalty to the overall GD tradition, the current, or Hermetic Tradition as a whole. They fear the loss of control which is the shroud behind which the material they have is used. It is a “Secret Unpublished Document” so it must all that much more important to the system and teachings. Not sure the publishing of the Bible has hurt that document being Sacred or the Koran, or… well you get the idea.

    Besides, how does one group or the other know if it is not the will of Thoth-Hermes, the patron of the Western Tradition that the particular material be published so that it helps the true seeker? The unpublished material released would only benefit these true seekers anyway as they would be opened to sublime messages in the material.

    Just some thoughts.

    In LVX,
    Samuel

  7. Sincerus Renatus · July 31, 2010

    Care Samuel Scarborough,

    Your thoughts represent the popular view and you definitely will make more friends than enemies promoting open publication of the G.D. tradition. As I said on my blog, the position which I represent is in a minority in the Golden Dawn community. As I also said, it is a lost cause. It is me that represent the un-popular view and take the role as the devil’s advocate. I understand this as most Golden Dawn students draw their information on published sources being solo-practitioners.

    However, your position is definitely not the traditional one and you perfectly well know it. But you will probably say, “hey man, it’s time to adapt to the times of change”.

    Well, the H.O.G.D./A+0 has adapted to this new “open source” paradigm of 21st Millenium but not in the same way as you have. At the turn of the Century, namely in 1999, we reformed our Order because of this situation. We have acknowledged this fact and that our students are much more prepared and knowledgeble that the candidates one century ago. People now practice magical formulae originally reserved to the “Inner Order” in the Outer. The reformed Inner Order is now again sealed hermetically with substantial Rosicrucian and Hermetic, traditional, formulae which never has been published.

    Beacause of the fact that we do possess this hermetically sealed part of the Tradition, we have to be selective of who we accept for candidates. All our candidates must accept (although they may still not understand) the EQUAL value of the four virtues of the Adept:

    1. To Will
    2. To Know
    3. To Dare
    4. To Be Silent

    These teachings and in particular these practical applications are most optimally taught in the Traditional Temple or Lodge setting. We do in fact do this out of a sense to the student or initiate, and to the overall Hermetic Tradition. The H.O.G.D./A+O also takes responsibility for the solo-practitioner. It is not their fault that they have so easy access the material. Whenever possible we try to guide also the student who have chosen or is unable to take part of a Temple. However, in this guidance we may of course only limit ourselves to the published material and teachings as a reference.

    But this reformation aside, I still condemn the actual cause of this reformation. We had to do it out of necessity as the damage were already done. However, contrary to most modern Golden Dawn schools, we still believe in the sanctity of our oaths and the esoteric (hence secret) nature of our mysteries.

    It is quite strange that this attitude of publication and profanation is relatively “limited” to the Golden Dawn community and some traditions inspired by it. “Limited” is perhaps not the right word to use in this context as the Golden Dawn tradition is the dominant one in the West. But there exist other Rosicrucian and Hermetic currents, particularily in the more traditional European soil, which has a completely different attitude to that of the anglo-saxon Golden Dawn community. Funny enough, even in the pagan community, which is even bigger than that of the Golden Dawn, and in particular in the Wiccan tradition, they obviously understand the need of secrecy and the esoteric and occult implications of it much more than modern Golden Dawn Adepts.

    And in closing, yes Sam, we do regard the Hermetic and Rosicrucian Tradition and its teachings as “sacred”. You cannot compare it with a religion though or its Mss. with a holy book, however sacred they may be. It is strange that people today don’t understand the difference between a esoteric tradition and exoteric religion, or between the religions devotee and the initiate. Still both are part of a Sacred Tradition but serves different purposes.

    But both are also expressions of man’s understanding of the Most Holy behind these sacred Tradition. Being “sacred” doesn’t mean that the word written or spoked is final. But it is sacred as it deals with that part of man and his existance which beyond the wordly and profane. Hence as man develops, so must also the Sacred Tradition, both exoteric and esoteric. This is also the reason for the need of periodical general reformations “both of divine and humane things”.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe
    S:.R:.

  8. dirkt · July 31, 2010

    what a soap opera.

    wicca, as we know it today, wouldn’t even exist without the published GD material. and the same is true for any modern GD “order” 😉

  9. Peregrin · July 31, 2010

    Care GH Fr SR,

    thank you for taking the time to give us your thoughts and comments. It is appreciated.

    I actually do not think we are far apart on the secrecy issue at all. Though what one party may think is minor, another may think is major.

    I believe secrecy is an integral part of the western esoteric tradition.
    I believe once an oath is taken it should be kept.
    I believe the esoteric orders have a right to uphold their secrets.
    I agree esoteric traditions are not for the masses.

    Where we differ is:

    The application of oaths to material not covered in those oaths.
    The key aspect of western secrecy being the Order specific symbols, names, images and modifications to publically available rituals NOT the rituals themselves.
    That the breakage of the Hermetic seal of secrecy that takes place when a secret Order document is placed in a publically accessible collection occurs WHEN it is placed in the library not when it may be published half a century later.
    The responsibility for the breakage of the seal lies with whomever allowed the documents to be placed in the library not someone who finds them later.
    Using the motifs of a third higher order with real secrets etc are not effective ways to get people to subscribe to magical secrecy.

    In answer to your question, of course if some rituals completely specific to the Perth Order were published I would be upset. But, (unless our Order symbols were included) if they were our modified GD corpus initiation ceremonies etc, not really. I do not see specific Order rituals being released by the various folk like Nick Farrell, only variations on the theme and pattern established by the historical Orders. As I said, we differ on the need to keep these variations secret.

    Finally, just to be clear I do not represent any faction, or indeed any Order. These views are my own and I did not canvass any opinions on the matter before the post. Thank you. 🙂

  10. Sincerus Renatus · July 31, 2010

    @ dirkt: wicca, as we know it today, wouldn’t even exist without the published GD material. and the same is true for any modern GD “order”

    Have I ever said something which goes against your suggestion? Although many wiccans would most passionately disagree with you 😉

  11. Peregrin · July 31, 2010

    Care Fr Arcad,

    thank you for your measured response. I have always understood that with the secret chiefs it’s a case of ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ – so there is really little point in talking about them or advertising their existence 🙂 Thanks.

  12. Peregrin · July 31, 2010

    Hi Dirk,

    I agree with you fully re secrecy making something special. Of course the esoteric practice is not only to have secret symbols and images etc, but to hold secret meanings within ourselves when we engage with outer imagery. The same ritual, image, etc is then secretly engaged with, even in exoteric surroundings like a church.

    Yes to the functional equivalency of wisdom from the third Orders and Tibetan Terma. I have posted on this before.

    Thanks 🙂

  13. Peregrin · July 31, 2010

    Thanks, Samuel for these thought. You express the matter very well. Especially with regards to the fact it is our interaction with the tradition that makes it alive and wonderful. 🙂

  14. Peregrin · July 31, 2010

    @ GH Fr SR, lol 🙂 No, I have not seen you suggest this. Wiccans can passionately argue as they will; straightforward history will prove them wrong. 🙂

  15. Arcad · August 1, 2010

    Care Fra Peregrin,

    your reply to Fra S.R. explains the position better and I believe that this is also Nick´s position. I also believe that this is something a lot of people could subscribe to.

    As for the secret chiefs, exacztely, that is how I understand it….

  16. Sincerus Renatus · August 1, 2010

    When Israel Regardie published the entire corpus of the Stella Matutina (as presented at the Bristol Hermes Temple) up to and including Z.A.M., the organization most severely criticizing him was the “competing” and Mathers lojal Roc. Cruc. Order of A.O., through its Chiefs Carnegie-Dickson and Tranchell-Hayes who weren’t “bound” by any oath to the Stella Matutina.

    Just some food for though.

    S:.R:.

  17. Samuel · August 3, 2010

    Thanks for your reply Tomas Stacewicz. I think that the main difference of opinion is in relation to interpretation of the Oath. At no point did I claim or say that I do not value Scire, Velle, Audere, Tacere. In fact I hold these in very high esteem.

    Perhaps you swore a different Oath from the one that I swore (I do not know), but I do know that in my Oath, there is nothing covered about “historical documents, or manuscripts” even if they do relate in one way or another to the material within the Order I am in.

    I am not advocating that every group or Order out there publish their commentaries on the material, their “original” papers which are specific to them, or to publish their course curriculae. I am not advocating divulging the names and addresses of an Order’s members, the location of an Order’s temples, or any number of other common sense things that the Oath covers.

    But how many of us have broken our Oaths in one way or another? How many of us have “profaned” the material? How many of us have publically proclaimed what Order we are affiliated with? Is not this a clear violation of our sacred Oath?

    What about revealing the names of members? Some of us in the community have done this too – whether inadvertantly or out of spite.

    How about “profanation of material”? That too has been done. Peregrin has allowed to be released some Whare Ra initiation rituals (rituals that have been published before he released them). Nick Farrell released a redaction of the Book of the Tomb, and others have published grade papers, lectures and other material. What about the “profanation” of releasing videos of our sacred rituals? That too has been done.

    Can any of us say we have not violated our Oaths in this regard? I really don’t think so. I have published commentaries on GD ritual, that certainly makes me guilty of profaning the material I suppose. Others whom have commented here have participated in videos of the Equinox ceremony. That is a “profanation” as well. And of course there are all sorts of shades inbetween on profaning the material by all. Those people that answer questions or post blogs are just as guilty as those that publish in a book.

    As it says, “Let him without sin cast the first stone”. We are all guilty in one way or another of violation of Oath and profanation of the material – even if that profanation is just the opinion of an Adept within the tradition.

    The overall GD current is alive and well – hence these discussions and differences of opinions, but the specific egregores of the original HOGD, the Stella Matutina, and yes, even the AO are dead. They have been revived or reinstituted and constituted in the modern era post-1978. That means that the documents from those original Orders, while foundational to those Orders in the modern era and in the 21st Century are not exactly part of the those Orders (even if a modern Order has taken the exact name of the “Original” Order). This foundational material is of benefit to the whole of the GD community, not just to those Orders that have copies of unpublished documents.

    And it is mostly copies of unpublished documents that the modern Orders have – very few temples or Orders are sitting on original material from 1888 or 1920 or what have you. And where did those copies of material come from? From a Library. A place that is obligated to the continuation and preservation of knowledge. Some of these Libraries are public and certain open to the public. Some are in Universities. Some are National and part of large collections.

    And do these libraries keep the material hidden in a secret vault? Not at all. One Library has examples of its GD collection plastered over its site pages online. Other libraries are more than willing to assist a person (and this does not just have to be someone with a PhD or a Professor or chair of a university department) obtain copies of the material. These selfsame libraries even have protocols for what to do if the material that is housed in their collections is to be published.

    We all know the adage, “When the student is read, the teacher will come”. Not everyone in the GD community, regardless of Order, affiliation, etc. are ready for all the unpublished material to suddenly be published and made available, but what about those that are? Should they be penalized because they do not have access to some document?

    Besides, it would take a long while to publish every single document that is out there in all these collections. Might even be more than a life-time.

    What I would like to see is a central library of GD material for the use of those that are serious about the Work. The thing is this is a pipe dream and I know it. Getting all the various groups to share historical material would be nigh on impossible. Now we both know Tomas, that there is a great deal of behind the scenes sharing of original document material with members of the various Orders. I am seeing the next step.

    I hazard that the GD current is alive and still vital because it was “profaned” by people like Crowley and Regardie. But their work is only a snapshot, not everything. As you are well aware Tomas, Regardie’s published material neglects specific diagrams that relate to the lecture or paper in question. This material is available in the unpublished versions and is certainly of use to the persons working with the tradition. The use of Discretion and Discrimination, not to mention taking Responsibility for actions comes into play for anything that is published by an Initiate.

    My original post here was not to win friends nor to make them (regardless of whichever camp a person falls in on this subject). I do not care one way or the other. What I wanted to do was present an opinion. My opinion! Not the opinion of the Order I am a member. Not the opinion of the GD Community (as I am not so conceited or egotistical to believe I can speak for the Golden Dawn Community or a Tradition).

    Do not mistake my opinion as not caring about the Golden Dawn or the Hermetic Tradition. I care very deeply for them, as anyone who knows me can attest, and I hope through my writings it shows as well. This is no different from your caring of the GD Tradition.

    As Peregrin has pointed out on numerous occassion, there are probably more things in common than not between most GD groups and their members. This includes probably you and I. You are entitled to your opinion Tomas, just as I am to mine, or Nick to his, or Peregrin, and everyone else. I would hope that most Initiates are able to not only abide by the four powers of the Sphinx, but also to have Discrimination, Patience, Diligence, Moderation, Responsibility, Self-Sacrifice, and Service-to-Others.

    Perhaps it is this latter quality of Sevice-to-Others that those who feel the need to publish or “profane” the material are trying to accomplish. Certainly, none of us in the modern era of the GD would be here without the efforts of someone whom “profaned” the material which we hold dear to our hearts.

    Just my thoughts.

    In LVX,
    Samuel

  18. Peregrin · August 3, 2010

    Hi Samuel,

    thanks for sharing this response on MOTO, which is very interesting and heartfelt. I have the same pipe dream of a central GD library, supported by a website with the various redactions of historical documents 🙂 I have also mooted in the past the idea of the various larger Orders coming together and commissioning an historian or anthropologist to produce some definitive work on the antecedents, history and lineage of the various groups. So we would all be on the same playing field, knowing what we mean when we say ‘lineage’ is what others mean etc. I think this could be be done without Order symbols and specific secrets being released, but with a focus on physical charters, inspirations, teachers, books etc. With an objective historian doing this we could lay to rest much of the confusion, suspicion, doubts etc that separate one group from another. Another pipe dream!

    Thanks again 🙂

  19. Sincerus Renatus · August 3, 2010

    Carete Samuel and Peregrin,

    Regarding my oath that I have taken, like yourself I haven’t sworn to uphold “old and historical” Mss. But I am addressing the spirit of the oath, not just the words spoken. I don’t think it’s a greater streach of the imagination to also upold the secrecy of historical and yet unpublished Order documents belonging to the Golden Dawn (or Stella Matutina and Alpha et Omega) if you have sworn to uphold the sanctity of your own Golden Dawn based Order’s modern Mss. I definitely don’t believe that the “Guardians” of our Tradition sees any difference between modern and old material.

    The fact is that there are modern Orders today who use variants of old, historical and unpublished versions of the Golden Dawn Grade rituals. It is irrelevant when something was written. The importance is that it is till used and regularily and that it creates a unique egregore which should be protected in its integrity. Should scholarly concern go before magical concerns? What if there are Collage of the Adepti who use the A.O. 6=5 and 7=4 rituals? Should they also likewise be published for the greter good of the G.D. community?

    Personally I believe that initiates deserve to experience these rituals as they are supposed to originally. As a total surprise and in a hermetic vessel upheld by the power of secrecy. Thus I beleive one also serves compassionately the initiate in this way. The Golden Dawn tradition is made by and for initiates, and it should be maintained as a initiatory Tradition. One should be able to pick out a book in some New Age bookstore and read about it in the armchair. One should experience it as it was meant to.

    But personally I go even beyond this. I would for example not publish anything coming from any genuine Rosicrucian Order as well, such as the Gold- und Rosenkreutz or the Asiatics, etc.

    You may be surprised to hear, but I actually like the idea of collecting all original and historical documents in a central Library serving all Golden Dawn Orders. I would like to see a limited addmitance to it though, mainly the Chiefs. And thus any information gained from scholarly study of this library would benefit the initiates of respective Order. In this way it would be somewhat of a “Grand Temple” of the Golden Dawn Tradition, similar to Freemasonic Grand Lodge Libraries. But this will never see the day….at least not over a overseeable future.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe
    S:.R:.

  20. Samuel · August 4, 2010

    SR,

    I agree that the “Guardians” likely do not distinquish between “old historical documents” and modern original works.

    I do think and feel that the “Guardians” want the tradition to continue – and I fear that requires a delicate balancing act between Secrecy on the one hand and “Profanation” on the other. As you know, you can read the Neophyte ceremony 1000 times, but until you have experienced it performed and administered by a competent initiatory team of Officers, you do not know what you are missing, nor do you see the sublime beauty of the ceremony. I am not sure that having the initiation ceremonies available in print would spoil the wonder of them for the Initiate.

    There is more going on in an Initiation ceremony than just what is printed on the script of the Ceremony. That takes experience to gain and understand. I can understand a group being concerned that material like the 6=5 and 7=4 be published, whether it is the AO or SM ones (I know that someone published versions of the SM ones, but we both know those are incomplete or “modified”). And perhaps having them published correctly would benefit some whom have decided to work the system outside of the established Orders and groups, or to enhance their own independent groups.

    Perhaps a limited membership to a central library is not necessarily a bad idea… And like you, I do not foresee the day in the near future when this sort of thing will happen. Perhaps like the Neophyte Ceremony, these very discussions will plant seeds that will bear fruit later.

    In LVX Fraternitas,
    Samuel

  21. Sincerus Renatus · August 4, 2010

    I wrote and submitted my last reply in a hurry. It was supposed to read:

    “One shouldn’t be able to pick out a book in some New Age bookstore and read about it in the armchair. One should experience it as it was meant to.”

    Also a last note: I have been perfectly clear in my blog posts before where I draw the line of what constitutes “profanation” and what doesn’t.

    – It is o.k. to show, quote and refer to original historical materials published in books readily available to all.

    – It is o.k. to write your own material which comments upon original historical and published material.

    – It is not o.k. to quote parts or publish original historical documents which has not been hiereto published.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe
    S:.R:.

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  23. Nick Farrell · August 18, 2010

    I was watching something interesting on the telly yesterday which said that the idea of secrecy within Alchemy came from the idea of the craft guild traditions (which are mimicked by masonry). In those days if you worked out a process you kept it secret because it would improve the economic power of your guild. You could teach the process to members of your guild, but they had to keep it secret for the economic well being of the town in which was based. Each medieval guild had signs and symbols by which those ideas could be passed on (sound familiar).
    It might not be true but it means that the whole secrecy tradition is based on a concept which kept a medieval shoe maker wealthly rather than having any spiritual value.

  24. Peregrin · August 18, 2010

    Hi Nick,

    thanks for these comments. I think there is defintely a lot of truth in this. There is certainly plenty of evidence to show the first Craft (operative) Masons worked this way. As a mobile trade, masons went wherever the next building, church, cathedral etc was to be built. They camped on the way in canvas pavillions called ‘lodges’. Since it was such a mobile trade and communication very hard between one town and another, anyone could claim to be a mason. Hence the development of signs and secrets and initiations to know who was literally in the club – as you say to keep the profession exclusive to those trained in it. These days we use degrees and other pieces of paper 🙂

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