Over the last couple of days, I have noticed an upswing in amount of attention paid to the problem with groups being ignorant of the basics. Now, there is always a certain amount of concern surrounding this issue---it is one of those issues that is always present---the waxing and waning of attention paid to it is cyclic.
There are three things related to this I would like to address.
Concerning the Golden Dawn Knowledge Lectures: Someone pointed out that the Golden Dawn Knowledge Lectures seemed to be rather sparse. They are. The commentor felt that they should be more fully explained and just a list to memorize. They are right.
One of the problems with the Knowledge Lectures as we have them is that they are merely the list of what you need to know to pass the most basic test for advancement. What is missing is the oral (or written) lectures that the lodge member should be exposed to. It is things like this that contribute to people having a high Grade and having no idea what they are talking about.
Concerning how much concern we should have when we realize a group is being ran by someone ignorant: One of my friends on Facebook pointed out that many Wiccan and pagan circles are being ran by people ignorant of the basics---a problem that never *wink* occurs in Golden Dawn *chokes a little* Orders. A group being ran by someone ignorant of the basics does not alarm me as much as the unwillingness to admit ignorance.
I know a lot of people do not trust me because I use the following sentences: "This is my answer based on my current knowledge and understanding" and "I reserve the right to change my mind, and the answer I am giving, based on further thought and experience." The people who associate distrust with these sentences are looking for the ONE and ONLY CORRECT ANSWER---something that I have serious doubts actually exist.
I realize that our myths state that only Masters should be in charge and apprentices should be just students, but the truth is that Masters are still just students with added responsibilities.
Concerning the rewriting of Golden Dawn rituals: Yes, I am guilty of rewriting sections of the Golden Dawn rituals. I consider all the versions that we have to be just "working drafts." It is one of reasons that I shrug my shoulders whenever someone publishes a version of the rituals--I figure that any set of rituals that have been used for more than a decade is probably in need of a tune-up.
For instance, I added an unauthorized "third part" to the Zelator ritual to address the fact that the a section of the Golden Dawn community was now starting the study of geomancy in Zelator. And what I learned was that this third section had more oomph and flow than the official parts of the ritual did. This in turn is going to lead to a reworking of the rest of the Zelator ritual.
This will lead people to pointing out that I am meddling in things that I do not fully understand---that only an Adept Extemptus...or a Magister Templi...or an Ipsissimus has the knowledge and authority to change the scripts of the rituals. My answer to this is that I don't care that I am not of the proper Grade according to your understanding of the system...and that I am not even sure that we are working in the same system to begin with. I belong to a system that changes with the time and the experience of those involved in it---what was true a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, etc. is not exactly suitable for the modern student who is living in a different time and place than our ancestors did. If you think that the dawn of consciousness was the Golden Age, you need to move back into the caves with the bears.