May 25 2012

Secrets

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This came from Kat, who’s on a mailing list I’m on. I thought it was rather appropriate, and really summed up a few things.

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The history of occultism is littered with secrets. Closed societies,
privileged information, craft names, oath-bound mysteries. This is
less than surprising when you take into account the sort of shit you
could get into in the past for even minor heresies. Fortunately,
these days you’re fairly unlikely to get killed for practising magick,
in most of the world, at least.

But secrets are still kept. Knowledge is power, and must be
earned, goes the logic. True enough, but the real knowledge in
question isn’t anything to do with the information you’re suddenly
given access to when you reach a certain degree in the order (“You
have gone up an experience level! Pick a new spell to inscribe into
your book!”). Secret texts tend not to be all that different from non-
secret texts, and besides, they’re leaked every other week.

The really useful information, and the real secrets, are those you
discover yourself. The ones you wade through blood, tears, and
madness to attain. The ones that change the way you look at the
universe so profoundly that you can barely imagine the way you
used to see things.

And it’s information like this that tends to remain secret. Certainly,
much of it is shared and discussed at some point or another, but
this often takes place in private conversations, or written down in
fragments, or as part of another text, hidden in plain view for those
who know to find and those who do not to pass over without notice.

A lot of these secrets are kept in this way by gut instinct, or
because of their acutely personal nature. Like the most intense
aspects of an acid trip, they tend to just not bear talking about, or
to be impossible to adequately describe. When they are written
about, the process of creating the text becomes a great work in its
own right, just in terms of the sheer scale of the concepts involved,
and the need to and difficulty of providing adequate explanation,
description, and justification of views expressed.

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