Something that really gets my goat is people bitching about how Order’s do not work, that they don’t deliver what they’re meant to and if you really want to be good at magick or need to develop spiritually you can’t rely on them.
This is inane bullshit, and bullshit that is fed by:
1 Those who have no idea what they are on about
2 Those who have belonged to one of the self-help or personal glorification orders (see below) and are right when it comes to those specific orders
3 Those who have a serious problem with any authority.
4 Those who listen to others instead of finding things out on their own.
There are quite a few western orders in existance today that were created by one or two people who schismed away from another order before they grasped anything of the deeper aspects of the teachings. Needless t say their orders is at best a waste of time, at worst actively bad for you.
There is more to the world of “organised” esoteric teaching groups/orders than Crowley derived lines (*cough wicca*) and 70’s revival McOTO orders and orders started by someone who is not in possession of ANY secret teaching, let alone the Royal Secret.
For a start, just look at the various Tibetan tantric lineages, the Indian tantric orders. The Sufi lines. The oral teachings given in some of the western orders. The houses of Vodoun. The magickal families that follow the regla de ocha, all the people scratched in Palo. These are all "orders" as well and they seem to work very well indeed. Then how the f*ck can we have the audacity to believe there is nothing like this in the west? Do we hate our own cylture this much?
But, you cannot find information or representative of every group and order that exists. Not even in the USA and especially not on the world wide web. The orders that do have a large presence are, to be honest, usually those who have strayed far, far, away from the metaphorical source. How many of us have studied, in deep detail the Asiatic Brethren? Ambelains orders? because here in the West we had this fantastic thing called "world war" (Twice, even, yeeey) and before that we had enlightenment, During it modernism, and all this overshadowed first by the tyrannical, at times Holy mother Church, it its political aspect and the Monarchy, and today, politics and SCIENCE.
Did you know that:
-There are lineages and orders that have nothing to do with the post-masonic Anglican/Brittish occultist streams.
-Not every organised order is a masonic derivative, because if they were, then all of them would follow the "blindfold - remove blindfold - give signs and passwords" scheme that Greer seems to think happens inside every magickal lodge.
(I imagine Greer hasn't heard of the "meet your initiator in a catholic church have your hair cut, receive an angellic name delievered to you by your initiator who is in prophetic extasy, a portion of the philosophers stone and bleed upon the altar to link yourself with the saint whose relic is enclosed in the stone" scheme.)
Oh, yes, and most importantly, IF all orders were derived from masonic sources, then they would be *useless* and cheap. They would just be "poor mans lodges", wouldn't they? Cola light doesn't contain sugar. A Masonic derivative order, would, logically, miss out someting that it is the derivative off... and you should just go and be a mason in a nice massive lodge instead of initiating in some crappy derivative, which is never as good as the orignal anyway, because well, compare someones basement or a rented room, with no marble pillars and 17th century furnitue with a proper hall.
Just look at the pomp even in this country style cheap looking hall.
Enough said. If you belong to an order that has masonic pretenses, you are better off actually being a mason. But lo and behold, not everything under the sun is a masonic derivative! There are many orders that hid as so - called high degree systems on top of the masonic system. They are thus not really derivatives, but parasites that use the masonic scene as a hunting ground for potential initiates. To be honest, historically speaking this scheme worked remarkably well 100-300 years ago. Today, I'm not so sure that this is still the way to go because the masonic housing that was keeping the groups safely hidden from the profane and made "the hidden group" easily accessible to those with an esotteric bent who were all maosns anyway, probably scares most people off nowadays in out modernist and post-modern society.
But back on track on this rant. My rant is with people who belittle orders and systems and why they are wrong. Thereby getting my goat. That i was saving for a curry. ;)
As I’ve stated before, any group you work with should have a clearly stated intention that tells you what the Purpose of the initiations and its system is. Then you can look at the people further along the path and the masters of the lineage/order/whatever. If they do not exhibit signs of having attained what the system promises then there is something wrong and you need to flee.
Let me bring this down to real life using my favourite verbal tool. A metaphor.
If you start boxing or a martial art, or even running, you will have an instructor. Even as a beginner you can look at your instructor. If he is profficient in what he himelf is trying to teach, then he is the correct person to teach it. A pudgy wuss who gets beaten up every friday night is not the guy you want to learn Muay Thai from, is it?
In the same way, if you want to learn Aikido, you do not sign up for Iaido. if you want to kick and punch someone you sign up for Muay thai, not for Judo. The two sports look different, teach you different things, have different techniques, beliefs and come from two differet parts of the world.
Behold The kicking action
Behold the throwing action.
In exactly the same way you need to be aware of what the Tradition/order/Lineage claims to give you and then you need to see if it actually does. If not, why not? Is it because of the specific local people you are in touch with? (They could be a fraud or just incompetent teachers). Or is it becasue the system/tradition order simply fails in delivering its claim? have politics arisen that see to it that nobody progresses beyond the first few steps? Is it because the knowlegde has been lost?
Let me give an example, again, this time from an actualy order:
Please read the below point from the old manifesto of the O.T.O. (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib52.htm)
"4. The aims of the O.T.O. can only be understood fully by its highest initiates; but it may be said openly that it teaches Hermetic Science or Occult Knowledge, the Pure and Holy Magick of Light, the Secrets of Mystic attainment, Yoga of all forms, Gnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakta Yoga and Hatha Yoga, and all other branches of the secret Wisdom of the Ancients.
In its bosom repose the Great Mysteries; its brain has resolved all the problems of philosophy and of life.
It possesses the secret of the Stone of the Wise, of the Elixir of Immortality, and of the Universal Medicine.
Moreover, it possesses a Secret capable of realizing the world-old dream of the Brotherhood of Man."
Compare this mission statement with the current one available on their website (http://www.oto-usa.org/):
"O.T.O. is dedicated to the high purpose of securing the Liberty of the Individual and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood. "
Now, it seems to me at least, that these two statements are quite different. Something would tell me, even if I didn't know for certain, that "teaches Hermetic Science " is not anylonger the most important aim of the order.
Now, to wrap u my little rant:
Find out what the group/tradition/system/order promises:
This will in actual fact be any one or more of the following
-teaching you a magickal skill with a Goetic, thaumaturgic theurgic or magianic element
(Griffin GD, SRC, Elus Cohen, Houses of Voudoun, Chaosmagick etc )-Teaching you aspects of a tradition, i.e. Knowledge
(GD as an outer order,)
-Giving you access to Empowerment/lineage/succession, the authority to work with specific things (Minor and major orders with an Apostolic succession in churches with valid succession, Voudoun, tantric and buddhist Lineages)-Promises Mystical Enlightenment through religion, exo/esoteric, through the aid of physical or mental exercises or simply throgh initiations/ascetic practices
(orders linked to churches, The orthodox jesus prayer, meditative practices and schools and initiations, many magickal orders, inner alchemy etc)
-Self-help / tribe / giving you something to belong to
(Many, many groups are nothing, or at least, not much more then self help groups, working to create more virtue or "balance" in your life, helping Mankind cope with the enlightenment era by replacing the family and tribe with an order or maybe let you get over your alcoholism. The A.A and N.A. being PERFECT examples. Hells angels. Blue lodge masonry falls here as well. I'm sorry, but its true. Quote from the website of the swedish system "The Grand Lodge of Sweden is an organisation, where men from various walks of life meet in a Christian spirit to fully develop their personal maturation potential, and in dignified circumstances to meet fellow men.")
Then Be carefull with
1)Charlatans. I will initiate you into palo. for 5000$ .... Riiiiight
2)Groups created by egomaniacs that only exist for their self-gratification. Thelemic Golden dawn, anyone? Or the AA? >:D
3)Groups that do not belong to the mainstream tradition from which they claim descendence Join my druidic kabbalistic hermetico sexmagickal masonic order for Women inside mens bodies of the Godess! I stole these papers and we started a powerfull lodge of Masonic kabbalists! The (real) other masons don't know what the TRUE secrets are!
4) Naive but good willed people who promote one of the above without realising. I come from a long line of witches since before X. Note: These are the poor peeps who end up order hating the most once they realise what they've done
5) groups with good intentions that still misslead. many groups fail to realise they are self-help, because they use magick, or Tribal.
Kenaz Filan makes excellent points these dangers, even though he talks about initiation into Voodoo everything he says about a Godfather/joining a house is true here as well. remmeber this isn't about Orders(TM) but also lineages kabbalah taught by Rabbis etc
In the end, if you are smart you will find "the real deal" whatever you are searching for. If you are aware of the above rules and know, in your heart of hearts what is it you truly want. Screaming at demons does not a balanced person make. Beating your wife is not very Christian, and spending 5000$ on a meditation room is not very ascetic. If you search for brotherhood, friends and to become a better person, you are better of becoming a mason then joining the GD. If you wantt o learn to evoke demons, get a bloody grimoire and get down to business, don't waste years working through D.M. Kraig's Modern Magick.
I hope this has helped at least a biot in shedding light upon the western hidden(=okkult) Tradition.