Nick Farrell just posted an entry about secrecy on his blog today. It is the direct result of a long going debate in the Golden Dawn community about secrecy and what is covered and what is not covered, a debate that had a recent hot spot that erupted in the comment section of his blog and a couple of others.
Now, my beliefs about secrecy were laid by experience, both in the tradition and outside of it. Outside of the tradition, I have watched the worst possible things be made secret ("skeletons in the closet"). This has made me believe that secrecy is really bad for human beings, or at least in the wrong context. For example, one of your relatives is abusing you, but you must not tell anyone...I think that you get the idea.
Inside the tradition itself, secrecy is a wonderful tool provided that you use it only when necessary. The problem is that secrecy tends to be used more by the charlatans and cons than it does by the enlightened.
My twelve-inch rule on secrecy was provided by Hathoor Temple. I learned by example. I treat secrecy the same way they did...much to the horror of several secrecy minded individuals. For instance, every document and lecture I write I have the right to publish---oh, the lodge can ask me not to, but ultimately it is my choice.
This, as some will point out, bars me from all the better Orders. They will promptly fail to note that you and I are barred from them even if we were practicing absolute secrecy---when certain Grades are only able to be held by a limitied number of people at a time, only those especially favored by the current holders of the Grade are allowed in when (and only when) one of their current members die.
Hathoor Temple was a strange beast when it came to secrecy. They were a dying lodge and they knew it. They are the only example of a lodge I know of that instead of becoming more and more secretive as the end approached, decided to loosen up the oaths of several members and swore them to preserving the system at all costs. Think of it as a form of reverse-secrecy.
My oath is about preserving the system, and perhaps even expanding it. The difference between me and the absolute secrecy crowd is that my instructors have decided that sometimes secrecy hurts the tradition more than it helps it...and they chose to enable some to act.
I understand both sides of the secrecy argument. And I think everyone who has sat down at a table with me for a cup of coffee, or attended a public ritual that I have led, or read some of my blog and forum postings, know exactly where I stand on the subject. The only thing they do not know are the things that I chose to keep secret...and yes, even I keep secrets.