Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If you already know the secret

One of the big questions about secrecy is when should a member of an Order be told something. There are some that believe that everything should be open; there are others who believe that following the strict Grade system is best. Then there are people like myself.

When I came into the particular branch of the Golden Dawn that I belong to, I will admit that I potentially had access to all of the published material. In actual practice, I had leafed though a Golden Dawn book or two, and had not done any actual reading. The book I was working my way though when Golden Dawn found me was Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick, a book that the members of the lodge I ended up in would roll their eyes at. Note that I said that I was "working my way though"---which is why I ended up getting into the lodge despite my sunny disposition. (If you did not get the gist and implication of this let me be clear: despite the many Golden Dawn books available, I knew almost nothing about the Golden Dawn before becoming a member.)

Now occasionally, I will mention something about my experience in Hathoor Temple online and someone will protest that they were not following proper procedure. For instance, I mentioned in passing once that I was told about godforms in Neophyte. I remember Nick Farrell replying that there was no need for me to have been exposed to that information as a Neophyte. He did not know the whole story, so I kept my sunny disposition in check.

Upon my entry into Hathoor Temple, I was rapidly placed in the "officer train", something that a lot of people do not think should have happened. (I understand the reasoning behind the modern idea that all officers should be Adept Minor or above---it just does not happen in my particular universe that often.) I think that it was a bloody test, though it was probably more likely that they foresaw that with my big mouth sooner or later I would be talking about the system and wanted me to actually know what I was doing.

The first office in the train is Sentinel. So why did I need to know about godforms as Sentinel? Well, I was sitting out in the outer hallway one night, minding my own business, when I felt like I was wearing a heavy all-body costume...complete with fleas. I remember saying afterwards that I thought that I was going "barking mad." The other officers thought that was really funny. The Praemonstrator rapidly came to the conclusion that I needed to be told about the godforms...and actually learn to work with them. (Personally, I think the "work with them" part was just the fact that the Praemonstrator really liked making my life difficult...the other possibility is just too harsh to give thought to.)

So should I have been told this? And should I tell the member of my current lodge who keeps seeing Egyptian Gods and Goddesses in the lodge room about the godforms? She started seeing them immediately---as a Neophyte. At what point should I break down and go "In Golden Dawn, we secretly work with the energies represented by the Egyptian Gods, and use their images to control the energies"?

If you already know the secret, is it wrong to be told the secret? According to Hermetic tradition, if you already know the secret, then it is ok for you to be told about it.

And I am not sure about anyone else, but there are books in my library that I swore that the book-fairies came into the house and rewrote them when I wasn't looking. Whole ideas that I did not spot the first time reading a book have leaped out at me later---I guess that some secrets you can't read, despite the words on the page, until you actually know the secret. It is one of the reasons that I think that the whole issue about secrecy is perhaps a little over-blown.


PhoenixAngel said...

I would love to follow your blog but who I am is a secret. sshhh. I like big mouths, so as a person trying to work the self-initiation (Cicero), all by myself with some help from friends i think you deserve a gold star! as an addendum to your post, here's a question for you and your GD blog followers: How does one obtain the information in the first place if they're not part of a lodge for reasons such as logistics or geographical distance?

Sincerus Renatus... said...

The use of Egyptian god-forms in the Neophyte Hall is probably one of the most revaled esoteric secrets today. In my experience, most candidates entering the Temple already knows that the Golden Dawn uses them. In this context I simply cannot see why one should be secret about it at all to Neophytes. What's the harm? Because it is R.R. et A.C. knowledge? Yes, back in 1893 it was. But not now, thank's to Israel Regardie's publication.

It is funny that people who advocate the publication of all original and historical G.D. material still keeps this kind of "secrets" away from their low grade members.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Robert said...

I am with you on pretty much everything that you said.

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

Commments read---will reply later to them.

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

@ SR: I am not so sure that the protest was about me knowing about the godforms as a Neophyte, as much as about my superior requiring me to work with them while I was in Outer Order. Either way, given the situation at the time, I stand behind what my superior did; he had his reasons for requiring that work from me at the time which I (now) agree with.

@ PhoenixAngel: I am kicking around doing a blog post about that question---I have opinions about that one---loud opinions.