Friday, March 25, 2011

If initiates had a Bill of RIghts

Over on Flight of Hermes, Soror FSO is asking for ideas about what people think should be included in an Initiate's Bill of Rights. Personally, I have never considered what my rights as an initiate and an Adept should be (note that in my universe, initiates and Adepts are not the same thing).

Or at least, in the mindset of a Bill of Rights. Many of the rights I believe that I should have as an initiate and an Adept have made their way into the bylaws of Bast Temple. That is what happens when you are one of the more experienced group members when a new lodge forms---people look to you for ideas and they believe you (Bwahahaha!).

For instance, thanks to personal experiences and what I learned in Hathoor Temple, I believe that the members of a lodge (including the majority of the Outer Order) should have voting rights. We should be allowed to decide who rules over us. Please note that Inner Order officers are elected by Inner Order, and Outer Order officers by Outer Order (the two Orders have different purposes and therefore different needs). But note that Bast Temple bylaws allow the removal of an officer if three quarters of the voting members of both Orders have serious doubts that they are doing their job properly.

I also believe that initiates should have the right to choose if they accept the ideas and commands of those people who claim contact with the Secret Chiefs, Third Order, or whatever it is being called this week. Maybe some of us do not want to obey a Third Order that had no hand in the development of Golden Dawn for a hundred years or so. The Golden Dawn (by whatever name) was left on its own for a long time; it is a little late to come in and claim rulership---especially if all we are going to get is a series of bizzare orders and regulations.

I believe that initiates should have the right to choose their own religion, and not be forced to give it up and convert to something else. I am Egyptian Wiccan with Viking tendencies, and maybe a kiss from the Hindu monkey god. Live with it. I am not going to make a good Thelemic, Catholic, Christian, or whatever. Work with my religion---it has ethics and beliefs.

I believe that all members including the Chief should pay their fair share unless they file for a stay of dues. I pay dues that are equal to the rest of the membership.

I believe that initiates deserve a straight answer about the sources of their lessons. I will admit that this is one of those strange areas where I believe that an initiate deserves a straight answer, and outsiders get only general indiciations of where to go. It is part of the benefit of belonging to a group---if you want a straight answer, join an Order.

I believe that the Inner Order officer's rights should probably be limited to issues of curriclum and advancement and the ability to hit the brake if they see their group about to do something really stupid (if it was a train wreck the last time someone tried the idea, it is probably going to be a train wreck this time around also). And note that they are elected and can be removed from office, so they better be doing things for the correct reasons (personal power is not a correct reason to do anything).

I believe that an initiate has the right to know the bylaws of their lodge and Order. And know how changes are made in the rules and regulations. No one should have to put up with an officer that can change the rules or suspend the bylaws with a wave of their hand.

I believe that an initiate should know the reason that their lodge and Order exists. There is a difference between Orders that issue merit badges for time served, and those who are pooling resources for magical purposes. The reason for a lodge's existence affects a lot of things, including what is needed to advance though the Grades.

And finally, I believe that initiates have rights to have human leaders. A leader should be able to come to the members of their group and ask for advice and suggestions. A leader should not have to be all-knowing and all-wise. It cuts down on a lot of BS if you are allowed to be a flawed human being, both as a member and as an officer.

As for these types of ideas making their way into an Initiate's Bill of Rights, I won't hold my breath. I have been told repeatly that my ideas are poppycock---and perhaps they are. But they are mine, and they are what I fight for.


Rufus Opus said...

Dude, why is this even fucking necessary? Why in the FUCK would a Hermetic initiatory Order even NEED a bill of rights?

The WORK, (you know, the GREAT WORK?) is supposed to be making you into better people. More enlightened. Wise. Spiritually empowered, able to handle the responsibility of the powers you supposedly gaining through initiation.

If the wisdom to handle the power isn't coming, then something's seriously, SERIOUSLY fucked up.

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

I have left some seriously f*u*ed groups. I invoked my right to walk away.

This particular idea (meme) started among those who are currently struggling with the idea that sometimes you have to invoke this ultimate right.

Rufus Opus said...

I understand, I had just been talking with Griffen on a comment thread on another blog. I was soooo pissed that he has all the access to the fruits of the GD system, and he still acts like a lawyer, legalistically arguing over petty little bullshit and playing these intra-order intrigue games when he could be fixing everything that's wrong with existence.

And then I read this post on needing a bill of rights. Sigh.