Saturday, May 12, 2012

Complete absence of secrecy

On the exact opposite side of the secrecy spectrum from the use of absolute and total secrecy is the complete absence of secrecy. This is commonly referred to as the "shout the secrets from the rooftop" school of secrecy.

There have been many occultists who have believed that the only people who can understand the reality behind the secrets that the esoteric traditions guard are those who have done the work of the traditions. In other words, only experience in the esoteric traditions will allow you to be able to understand the truth of the secrets of the traditions.

Because of this belief, the members of this school of thought see no problem with publishing the various parts of the esoteric systems. After all, the only people who will be able to understand the texts are those people who are already inside the traditions themselves.

The exoteric example of this idea is the person who has never driven a car. One can read all the car manuals, Department of Motor Vehicles booklets, racing guides and what not as you like; but to truly understand the experience of driving a car, one must get behind the wheel of a car and actually drive one down the road. Not even a video game can actually convey the actual experience.

Other exoteric example that is often used is how only actual sexual intercourse can enlighten a virgin to the ins and outs of sex.

Based on my personal experiences, I will admit that I see a lot of merit in this school of thought. Nevertheless, I still remain somewhere between the two extremes (absolute secrecy and complete lack of secrecy) for I have discovered that there are some things that you can only accomplish through the use of secrecy--or at least, secrecy seems to be the best tool for certain goals.


Bashmu the Oracle said...

The "all secrets out" camp of thinking neglects the impact upon emotion of certain elements of ritual coming as a surprise. Fear, terror, awe, reverence, etc. are spontaneously generated reactions that tend to be muted when a person knows whats coming. Worse, if a person has placed the actions through conscious analysis and has pre-formulated opinions regarding the expected effect/worth/rationale of particular words or actions, then the ritual floor will be for such a person no more than the pursuit to justify their preconceived notions.

In this case, the need for secrecy is much like the need for secrecy surrounding a birthday party. For the full experiential effect upon the target individual, they NEED not to know what is going to occur.

Stian Kulystin said...


I've taken an awful lot of initiations in my time, most of them have incorporated some element of secrecy and surprise, some of them have been very strict about keeping things a secret. I will say that for the most part these initiations had a certain short term psychological impact, but magically they seem to have been less transformative and effective than the OSOGD grade ceremonies I went through that were not only available to me, but ones I had studied extensively.

An initiation ceremony, done right, and by a skilled initiator and officers will be a remarkable experience no matter how much you may have read about it before hand. Relying on secrecy and surprise can be useful, but I do not feel they are any sort of prerequisite for an effective initiation.

Mark Paul said...

I have to agree with you Morgan, it is the gray method of balance between the two extremes.

However the older I get and the more I learn on the path, the more I understand the logic of secrecy and doing the work to understand the path.

Anyone can read a book on Magic but if you do not practice and understand the language and procedure you just get a lot of headaches and Thor laughs at you a lot.

Well written my friend.