In my previous post, I mentioned that some people feel that there are ‘rival’ lodges in the Hermetic traditions, that some have a “beef” with certain orders because their Grand Masters were an “oathbreaker” some years ago. The lodge is a place of fraternity and friendship, and yet many a competent magician has been removed because he was too involved in an “oathbreaking” order, despite fulfilling all his obligations to his original lodge and serving it well for a number of years.
The lodge is a place for us to share our knowledge with one another through workshops. It’s cool for an unaffiliated practitioner to give some wonderful workshops and even rituals, but because somebody has been involved in an order that “you don’t like”, lodge officers would deny them the same opportunity because of “orders on high”? This sounds like a bunch of 10 year olds starting the ‘No Homers’ Club’ to exclude a young Homer Simpson. Or the ‘popular girls’ table’ in Gossip Girl. It’s bullying, and ordinary magicians lose opportunities because of “orders on high”.
In the world of business, it is the shareholder who holds the ultimate power. We can vote out the officers. If you are American, don’t you know “no taxation without representation”? If you are a lodge officer, think. You are not involved in this “beef” because it’s not about you. Be critical, and think about what you’re doing when you receive “orders from on high”. Remember that you are always able to do what you feel is right. You have power and independence. Crowley stole 777 from Mathers and made it something more wonderful than either individual could come up with himself.
If you are a common stock member, think, and speak up. Know your facts and be aware that ‘rival orders’ are doing wonderful things. Some areas only have one lodge, and it’s only one type of Hermetic organization. If that’s the only lodge in the area, should you summarily reject people from there? If there was a tasty burger, would you care if it’s from Shake Shack or Potbelly, Ruby Tuesday or Applebees? You would eat them equally, with relish. Should a Shake Shack employee be banned from Applebees because he is affiliated with a ‘rival burger chain’? Should you stop eating at Applebees because you like Shake Shack? What if they were business rivals, would their rivalry not make your enjoyment that much sweeter?
Let’s not let the views of the Hermetic 1% take control of our lives in our lodges, that we pay for and that we maintain, clean, staff, and keep ritualized. So you say, why not start your own order? That’s what a lot of people did. There are a lot of small, under-resourced groups comprised of overworked wandering bishops who could be amazing lodge officers in larger orgs. They scramble to find space, funds, equipment, and to organize their events around everyone else’s events so that people will actually show up. They have to work doubly hard changing stuff in their initiations so that they don’t step on anyone’s toes. (It’s a private initiation – seriously?) What they’re doing is amazing, but what really takes the cake is when they try to help out in a larger lodge, and their efforts are rewarded by an expulsion due to “affiliation with an oathbreaker”.
Hermetic lodges have a great resource in anyone who is motivated enough to officer in two orders at once, or who will actually start their own order. But why would so many new orders be started, meeting in rented spaces and the back of an occult shop, if the existing lodges accepted them and reached out to support their work? Existing lodges have spaces and resources already, and most of them are underutilized – like a permanent standing space to be used for 2 hours a week. This is where the common stock members and thinking lodge officers step in.
We can invite them to do workshops at our lodges. Why not have a joint public ritual in the lodge space? Why not be like, look, we can pool our resources and we’re all into the same stuff regardless of what happened 50 or 100 years ago? Just put names – magical or first name. No need to mention group and rank. People are free agents. They wear different hats. Show your hospitality. Start a silent revolution. Remember, the hills are high and the emperor is far away. It’s your life, your spirituality, your choice. We occupy the same resources and terrain, but the officers are there because we put them there. It’s time to flex our shareholder muscle.