Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ultimate extreme of secrecy

Here is a comment that I made on another blog that I want to expand on:

By the extreme rule of secrecy, everything is oath-bound and nothing can ever be said (or written) unless the person you are talking to was involved in an intiation or ritual that you were physically present at.

In other words, anything that was ever secret is still considered oathbound. And nothing can ever be removed from the oathbound category once it was declared oathbound.

By the way, this means that not only were Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley oathbreakers, but so was William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell (MacGregor) Mathers...because they all wrote about things that at one time was covered under the secrecy oaths of a previous esoteric tradition or society.

This is the ultimate extreme of secrecy. It is the extreme rule that says that if you are involved in the esoteric, you never, ever talk about it in public. The only time you talk about the esoteric and oathbound material is behind closed doors with a guard outside.

This is a level of secrecy that no esoteric writer (or blogger) can actually uphold. You cannot even advertise your own esoteric society if you are obeying this extreme understanding of secrecy.

Therefore, I honestly do not know anyone who goes this extreme route...except for those who would like no one else to talk about the esoteric. These are typically students who think that they understand the real purpose of secrecy, and have missed the boat. I think that we have all dealt with these people at one time or another.

By the way, one of the weird things about this level of secrecy is that stuff that the esoteric traditions adapt and take into their system also becomes oathbound. For the instance, the Hebrew alphabet, invented for things like accounting, once taken into an esoteric system (Kabbalah) is now considered oathbound and secret. Therefore even the proper order of the Hebrew Alphabet cannot be discussed if you are an initiate of an extreme secrecy tradition without a guard at the door.

Basic math, the ability to start a fire, most mythology, color theory---all these subjects you have to quit talking about if you are a member of the extreme secrecy camp.

If you find this extreme level of secrecy silly, you are not alone. But just remember there are those students out there, who despite discovering the first hints of the esoteric traditions from books, who believe that this is the level of secrecy that the esoteric traditions have to adhere to.


Fr. A. said...

I have had some people claim they owned diagrams and texts they had never even seen before.

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

I once had an applicant to Bast Temple, during the initial "safe-zone" meeting, look at a diagram that I was working on and tell me that it was oathbound material. The joke is that the diagram was my own invention. I think that they wanted me to be impressed by their vast knowledge of the secret tradition. I wasn't. In fact, I decided to blackball them.

Joseph Max said...

If one wants to have a secret occult order, the main thing to do is not tell anyone about it.

("1st Rule: You do not talk about Fight Club. 2nd Rule: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.")

A truly TRADITIONAL Golden Dawn Order would have the following attributes:

1) Strict Hermetic secrecy practiced by it's members regarding all operations, membership, rank, meeting places, documents, and that the Order even exists. All questions by outsiders are answered with a variation on "I have no idea what you're talking about." If faced with undeniable evidence, the answer becomes, "I am not at liberty to discuss it." (In the old Order, a member of the 2nd Order could not even acknowledge the existence of that 2nd Order to someone in their own 1st Order!) Simple "document" secrecy is not enough to call yourself strictly "traditional". Golden Dawn traditional secrecy extended to guarding the knowledge of the very existence of the Order itself.

2) Strict adherence to the original documented rituals and teachings of the Order, even if allowing for minor variations in performance. It does not matter if the ritual texts are revealed to the public or not. Example: almost a century ago, the secret rituals of the Freemasons were published in book form by a disgruntled ex-member. This did not result in the Masons doing a complete revamp of their ritual corpus; they didn't even change their grade passwords and grips. They can't, because those elements are what they are for a reason. They couldn't just toss out the "landmarks" of their tradition because they were revealed to the public, because that would change the tradition. The Names and Images are what defines any Order's tradition – the tradition that matters. For all that, Masons still take their oath of secrecy and adhere to it, i.e. they don't TALK about oath-bound matters. You could sit in front of them with an accurate copy of all their rituals and try to engage them in conversation about it, and they would quite properly refuse. In other words, it doesn't matter what anyone else knows in public, what matters is what a Mason himself talks about in public.

For the original Golden Dawn tradition I would add 3) belief in a cabal of superhuman progenitors known as "Secret Chiefs", similar to the Mahatmas of Theosophy. These Ascended Masters are not normal humans, were often portrayed as being immortal (having produced the Philosopher's Stone), and even being in their presence induced (according to Mathers) physical discomfort and mental distress. This was also accompanied by the belief that if one broke the vows of secrecy, would result in "a deadly and hostile current of will set in motion by the Secret Chiefs of this Order, by which I might fall slain and paralyzed." Believing that the Secret Chiefs are "mundane" humans in any way is not "traditional". They are superhuman beings so powerful that even looking upon them induces a violent physical and mental reaction. They have the power to strike their enemies dead at a distance. The members of the early GD took his VERY seriously.

So by these original, properly defined crteria, there is not a single Traditional-with-a-capital-T Golden Dawn Order in the world. Or if there is, we quite properly have never heard anything about it.

Deanna Bonds said...

The biggest misuse of secrecy, is when it is used to say someone else is wrong but they can't tell you why because it is secret. It seems like it an easy out card to use instead of showing facts. If something can't be backed up because of 'secrecy', then it can't be argued.

Peregrin said...

I think our friend Spongebob has the best understanding on this topic:

"its no secret that the best thing about a secret is secretly telling someone your secret, therefore adding another secret to their secret colletion of secrets, secretly." :)

Joseph Max said...

@Morgan: "I think that they wanted me to be impressed by their vast knowledge of the secret tradition. I wasn't."

I remember one of those types. The membership application was accompanied by a ten page thesis of his magically enlightened pontification. It was as if we should have felt ourselves lucky that a powerful being such as himself would deign to join us.

"Let's see, that would be 'rejection_letter_1A.doc' and.... send."

Joseph Max said...

@ Deanna: "If something can't be backed up because of 'secrecy', then it can't be argued."

There you go with the common sense again.

The popular reply (it's not really an argument) these days is that there is an alternative to what is normally called proof, like documents, photos, verification by objective parties, etc. There is something called "initiatory proof", which is the same ontological concept as a Charismatic Christian sect saying "having a personal relationship with Jesus" will "prove" to you that Jesus is real and is your Lord and Savior.

If you want proof, you must undergo a religious conversion experience (one of the many forms of spiritual initiation) of "letting Jesus into your heart", which is assumed to be all the "proof" a convert needs of the reality and truth of Christianity. This so-called proof is based entirely on subjective criteria, along the lines of "this feeling of profound holiness simply must due to the power of Jesus. Therefore everything I'm being taught about Jesus must be real and true."

Not to pick on the Christians, because many charismatic, proseltyzing spiritual movements have something similar.

As an exercise, see how many logical fallacies can be found in this non-argument.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Your post inspired me to write an article on my own blog on *The Art of Tricking your way out of a Magical Oath*

-Aghor Pir

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

Hehe. You have to love the trickster gods.

Fr. A. said...

The Trickster post was awesome !

S. J. Reisner || Audrey Brice || S. Connolly said...

I know I'm a few days late on this but THANK YOU for this post. It gave me a good giggle and I really needed it today.