Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Credit where credit is done

[The following was written for the August's Hearthstone Community Church's monthly newsletter.]

My wife and I have a monthly routine – sometime after the Open Full Moon ritual we talk about it. If she wasn’t there, I attempt to explain what happened. If she was there, we talk about what we thought worked and did not work. In both cases, we discuss what we might possibly want to incorporate into our own personal work. Yes, we raid useful techniques and lore from the performances of other people’s rituals…that is what the OFMs are for, ain’t they?

Now over the years, I have discovered something interesting: Some people are uncomfortable with me admitting to the fact that I consider any lore and/or technique displayed in public to be fair game. Even more unsettling for some people is the fact that I openly admit to this selective bit of piracy, citing exactly who I stole what from.

I have gotten good at being able to spot the people who will be disturbed by my tendency to grab anything shiny that is not bolted down. The poor disturbed souls are the same ones that try to impress me with the spiritual teachers that they have studied with and the breadth and length of their lineage which typically stretches back to the early Stone Age and sometimes before. They are the people who have talked to members of the Invisible College, and have been anointed into the Fellowship. They are the people who believe that only a perfected being of the proper divine nature can create a useful esoteric system.

And I drive these people nuts. Not only do I grab interesting bits and pieces that were left lying around, I will twist and bend them until they are left in a shape more pleasing to my aesthetic senses. Worse, if I have nothing useful in my bag of “liberated” treasures for the task at hand, I have no problem with just making something up. In other words, I dare to walk upon the ground reserved for the unknowable and perfected creators of the esoteric systems. To these people, I am not only a lunatic – I am a possible heretic.

Now, please do not think that I am referring to anyone that attends the Open Full Moon rituals. Our attendees are quite open-minded, and probably do the exact same things that I do, which is to grab anything useful or shiny that is exhibited in front of them. No, I am talking about people who would never dream of leading an OFM (because the mysteries and rituals are meant only for the eyes of initiates), attending an OFM (what could they possibly learn that could enhance their pristine tradition), or even admitting that they learned something from a flesh and blood human being (because only perfected beings should be teaching).

I think that what drives them mad the most is the simple fact that I give credit to the people that I am borrowing information from. Many of these disturbed souls hide the sources of their information behind deep oaths of secrecy. And often, the information is credited to the occult equivalent of Superman, the terrible and awesome Secret Chiefs that have throughout history guided mankind to a better future. I guess that they think that if a superior being created the information, it somehow makes it more valuable. To cite one’s sources, placing the information and techniques that I am using into the world of imperfect human beings threatens their position at the top of the occult food chain – it implies that their information too must have been created by flawed human beings, and that is something that they just can’t seem to tolerate.

Yet I think that they miss the most important aspect of citing my sources, and borrowing from the living and oh-so flawed human beings that I know. And that is, if the flawed human beings around me can create techniques of beauty and usefulness, then so can I – and so can you.

[Alia, one of the other board members added an addendum to this--"Nine words th'eclectic rede attest: Steal what works. Fix what's broke. Fake the rest."--Steve Storm.]

No comments: