Saturday, February 28, 2009

Examing the Obvious

The subtitle to this post could be: Pissing Everyone Off

Given that I've made two posts about confirming your magick and lost four subscribers, three immediately after the first one and one after the second, I figure this one will cost me five or six. Who cares? Being a magician is partially about thinking things through critically and not hanging on to our preconceived notions with a zealot's grip.

In the speech I made at Pantheacon this year, I made a point about the blinds we all face in every day life, much less when pursuing our HGA. The portion of the work being described fits the psychological model which does apply to certain aspects of the Great Work. The blinds mentioned are beliefs we have that we hold near and dear to our hearts and true and obvious only later to discover these things are lies told to ourselves to root us in place. The example I used was that of a man who finds excuses to hate his family because deep inside he knows he put himself in a bad place by ignoring their advice.

I also examined, very briefly, the blind, "Bloods and Crypts are bad because they are violent." I stated that as obvious as this is to everyone in the room, it still needed to be examined because that fellow that hated his family felt his reasons were just as self-evident.

That preamble leads from thoughts converging from two sources. Von Faustus' post in which he says teacher demanding 'undo sex or money' must be more than suspect and my research into the Ancient Greeks. So tonight, I am asking, what's so bad about sex and the occult or even pagan worship for that matter?

I will leave aside that asking for sex in certain types of groups is well outside the egregore. A teacher demanding sex in the Golden Dawn orders should, in my opinion, be shot. A teacher having sex with his 'students' should be suspect but not immediately discounted, adults are adults. Though, in general, that would lead to more trouble than the orgasm is really worth. I assume the same would hold true for the OTO and other such bodies.

However, is it outside of acceptable standards all the time?

From what I've been reading in "Greek Folk Religion" by Martin Nilsson, orgiastic cults were not uncommon in ancient Greece at all. Dionysus, Persephone, Demeter, Pan, Bacchus, Sabastios all had sexual cults and I haven't read sixty pages yet! This was how some of the gods were worshipped. Even Artemis, whom I remember as quite chaste, had sexual cults. As classical Greek culture developed these groups were either suppressed or very much looked down upon. Though, they were kept alive through story telling. Were the ancients preserving some secret or were the stories repeated for titillation alone?

So, would someone recruiting folks to worship in the old ways, be suspect? If I formed Frater BH's Orgy to Bacchus and Bowling Group that met every other Friday for bowling and sex (dedicated to the god of course) would I immediately be someone to be avoided? It depends. If the leader of this supposed group billed the rites as strictly platonic, only later to reveal the sexual nature after he had some method of coercing people to continue, yes, he is more than suspect. What if such things were revealed in the beginning and this person actually had managed to tap into the mysteries of these gods? In short, s/he was a priest of the old ways.

Would it be bad because our 20th Century sensibilities have been so overwhelmed by our long ago puritan founders that we can not conceive of such a thing being holy? Must all religion be performed from a stoic sexual distance? Can not wine and merry making and hanky panky be making a 'joyful noise until the Lord' albeit a different one than most refer to by that phrase?

With so many pagans espousing a belief in some fertility religion or another, is it horrible to conceive of some actual fertility? Or must all be symbolic?

Frankly, a lot of damage can be done through sex. Shocking someone in a sexual situation can result in psychological devastation. Even those people that believe themselves to be sexually free may feel very traumatized after willfully visiting a swingers club much less some recreation of an ancient worship service. Anyone starting such a group that isn't aware of that would be irresponsible and playing with interpersonal dynamite.

Does that mean a responsible, well-trained, fully initiated priest of the mysteries of any of the above mentioned ancient gods can not conduct such rites without being declared persona non grata? My guess is that any such a person making him or herself known in the pagan community would be ostracized in a heartbeat. They'd be ejected by the very same people that rejected Christianity for its puritan ways and its divorce from the natural functions of the universe.

I think forming such a cult/group would be a slippery slope at best. It may even be unwise. However, I think for the pagan culture to reject such a group out of hand reveals our own puritan ways and how deeply those ways have been instilled within us. As magicians, we should stop and think. Should we challenge these ideals within ourselves? Should we challenge them when encountering such a sexual group and simply let it be? Or should we maintain the status quo and remove these fictional people under the guise of protecting our community or whatever the chant of the day may be?

Von Faustus also mentioned accepting money for occult instruction was bad, except for supplies or keeping a suitable space for working in operation. Why? Those that think they are related to the Rosicrucian way who follow the injunction, Promise nothing except to heal and that gratis, would be remiss to take money for teaching. I'd bet those that practice Hoodoo can not fathom why money would not be acceptable. We'd compensate any other learned person for his or her time would we not? We pay to go to college to learn mundane things. Is paying to learn spiritual things so out of line? Yes, there is another slippery slope there but must all paths be shunned for the potential of a fall?

I am going to pay someone to teach me tantra. Should I be suspect of her? I think not.

Study Study Study

I've been pouring over books about the ancient Greeks of late. I had actually read about fifty-five pages before I realized I stopped taking notes on page 32. Tonight, I turned back to that page, pen in hand and note book at the ready. I will not only read but I will learn. That Enochian spell has really changed my behavior.

1 comment:

Frater LVF said...

A couple things:

1) money is not that big of a deal in my eyes. People need to be able to make a living (even the wise need to pay the bills), and it can also help ensure that the student is serious.

There is a lot of text swapping (ebooks, digital archives )going on in the occult world, and while it allows people to get access to teachings for free, it also just lets people sit on their ass and get all excited about reading this or that grimoire without doing the work.

If you pay for something, you have a better chance of actually doing some work.

2) Sex. I know that there is much to say about our puritan culture, but there is also some value to our fear here. If someone just wanted sex for their teachings (Promethea/Faust style), I'd be suspicious. It immediately sounds like you have a great potential for exploitation, and you will only know if you've been scammed after you've already given up something very sacred. Plus you have the chance of disease.

Now, as far as using sex in rites with people that you've already been working with? People that have already built up the necessary trust? So be it. If it is appropriate to the situation, and one has been able to evaluate the people that they'll be involved with, what is the real harm?