Last night, I was reading the blog of Frater AIT; he was talking about how he feels about the strict tests that the Order that he belongs to does.
(I believe that he is a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Alpha and Omega.)
Anyway, I wanted to post a comment on his blog that I have never been completely sure what the purpose of the strict testing was. I couldn't; even using the shift suggestion that someone mentioned, the "prove that you are a human being" submit button is inaccessible to me.
Of course, by the time I woke up this morning, my mind had dragged out the fact that perhaps the testing and exams that I have undergone are not any less strict than the exams he is undergoing. The difference is that I did not have to submit a written exam until I hit Portal.
But in the terms of strictness, now that I stop to think about it, I am not sure that I escaped with anything easier.
Now I am about to make an assumption about the HOGD/A&O here (or whatever branch that Frater AIT is a member of). If I am wrong...well, then I am wrong.
The assumption that I am going to make is that they are doing the strict paper examinations because they can not test everyone in actual lodge. Therefore, everyone gets tested though a strict written examination instead.
The joke that the HOGD/A&O makes is that they are the Harvard (or is it Oxford?) of the Golden Dawn tradition. I believe them. Sounds too high class for my tastes.
I have came from the Community College/Technical School branch of the Golden Dawn system. Our exams were not written; they were conducted in lodge at the drop of a hat.
Let me stress that point: testing was done in lodge and at random times. There was no cramming for your Grade advancement exams because you had no clue when they were actually going to be conducted.
You had to prove that you had a sufficient level of knowledge about the Grade's knowledge lecture, the Grade ritual itself and the practical working assigned to that Grade. (Those in Bast Temple will recognize the system; it is the same one we are still using.)
You did not have to be perfect, but you had to roll up your sleeves to pass.
(I think that the reason that it did not have to be perfect was simply that you were going to be tested in the form of a pop quiz involving actual power tools. You did not have time to make it perfect; you had to do the work using only what was actually inside your head. Sounds like real life almost, doesn't it?)
Given what I went though, I think that I might have optioned for the strict written examinations if I had the choice. But don't get me wrong, in hindsight I do not neglect being able to pass my exams the way they were conducted. After all, I am more of a magical mechanic than magical scientist/scholar. That is by my very nature, and has nothing to do with the loddges I have ended up in. There are reasons why people like me are barred from Harvard and Oxford; quite simply, I am not a good fit for that type of system (think of me as being just one step away from white trailer park trash).
Frater AIT, on the other hand, seems to be a good fit for the Order that he is in. I am willing to bet that a decade from now (if he is still involved in Golden Dawn) that he will be proud of the way that he was tested; and even if he can not put it in words, he will see the value in the way he was tested.