If you noticed the number of posts I made today, all concerning the oath of obligation, you may wonder why I am obsessed today with this particular subject. This is especially true of you who know me personally, for you know that I work through things in an intense research-monkey style.
Well, yesterday on one of the Golden Dawn based forums on Yahoo, I read a post where someone told another member that it was against tradition for them to even acknowledge what city the lodge they joined was located in. Obviously, they are using the strictest version of the oath of obligation.
Most of us are not bound by the strictest version, even when it reads like the strictest version. For instance, the primary oath that I have to obey is an override oath---it requires me to preserve the system by any means I feel are necessary (it was a dying lodge---what more do you need to know) and help some people (not everyone---I get to chose who I help).
Then a thought occurred to me late last night. Given that the population of the online PUBLIC forums tends to be self-initiates or not initiates at all, and not Order members, I found myself curious about the oaths that self-initiates were taking. Looking over the oaths, there are some surprises, especially if you are used to thinking of the system by the strictest version of the obligation.
For instance, there is nothing in the self-initiation oaths that prevent a person from admitting that they are studying the Golden Dawn system. There is nothing prevented them from talking with one another on forums, or blogging about their experiences (there are some that will argue with me on that point---of course, I am presuming that if you are seeking out Golden Dawn forums and blogs that you are a seeker of the Light). There is nothing preventing them from exchanging rumors about the location of Golden Dawn lodges and possible contact personnel. And there is nothing about them having to hide the higher mysteries if they learn them under a bushel hidden from the sight of humanity (ok, maybe Kraig does---but it is more along the lines of not exposing people to information before they are ready for it).
The lesson here is to be cautious about judging whether or not someone is breaking their oath; they may not have taken the version of the oath that you think that they are breaking. And that applies to more than just self-initiates (many modern Orders do not use the strictest version of the obligation).
My advice is to judge students of the Golden Dawn tradition (same goes for Wiccans, pagans, and other esoteric traditions) by whether or not you would want to become more like that person. Heck with the oath. You become more like the people that you hang around with---if you don't want to become like that person: RUN AWAY!