Sunday, May 31, 2009

Questions About Initiatic and Hermetic Secrecy

Brothers and Sisters of the Golden Dawn,
Nick Farrell's recent, unauthorized publication of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega's hitherto unpublished "Book of the Tomb" has engendered an impassioned debate regarding the value and function of Hermetic Secrecy, and whether or not one ought to be able to "creatively" interpret traditional vows of initiatic secrecy merely to justify publishing still secret Golden Dawn material for the sake of notoriety, as did Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie.
I am particularly passionate about these questions, as an initiate of not only the Alpha et Omega, but Hermetic and Rosicrucian Inner Orders whose teaching materials still remain protected by initiatic secrecy as originally did the Golden Dawn.
Due to my passion for this fundamental question, some of my comments have been turned into a red herring in an attempt to avoid the real discussion.
This discussion is too important to become a factional or political issue. I have therefore just deleted the entire discussion to date on the HOGD/AO blog and forum, apologize to those who had posted on this topic and just had your posts deleted together with mine, and encourage the debate to continue in a more dispassionate and philosophical manner.
I will shortly readdress this issue myself on a new blog with less emotional energy, so that people can think about the real issues for themselves instead of being misdirected by people who - instead of giving reasons for why Hermetic secrecy is null and void when faced with the Hierus of publishing - prefer to turn a spark into a bonfire to cloud peoples' eyes with smoke.
To keep the philosophical discussion on track, I initially pose the following initial questions:
Already in the very first Golden Dawn initiation, the Kerux admonishes the new Neophyte to remain silent and keep secrecy. The initiate is also given the password "Harparkrat," the Egyptian God who is giving the Sign of Silence. The candidate also receives this "Sign of Silence" as one of the primary signs of this grade.
Why is this? What is really the function of the principle of Hermetic initiatic secrecy, and why is it given such importance in the classical Golden Dawn that it is taught tin three different ways to the new initiate already in the first Golden Dawn initiation?
I have also posed these questions on the HOGD/AO forum. You are invited to follow the discussion there as well. I will, however, cross-post salient aspects of the discussion here.
Several months ago, there was a previous discussion on the HOGD/AO forum about the role of secrecy in the Golden Dawn and the Hermetic Tradition. Someone then argued that secrecy has no real value and is just a power game used by Chiefs and leaders to manipulate order members.
I asked one of the Secret Chiefs of the Alpha et Omega's Third Order, G.H.,Frater R.C., to comment on this important subject. As it is extremely relevant, I am republishing GH Frater RC's monograph in its entirety.

Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Yeheshua
David Griffin
G.H. Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis
Imperator Ordinis, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega
"Ex Deo Nascimur.
In Yeheshua Morimur.
Per Sanctum Spiritum Reviviscimus"

[Translators Note: The following exposition is delivered to our readers from GH Frater RC, faithfully translated by your brother in the Great Work, Lux Ex Septentrionis (Light From the North)]

On Secrecy in the Hermetic Tradition
by GH Frater RC, Alpha et Omega
Thank you for inviting me to comment on the role of secrecy in the Hermetic tradition. The primary function of secrecy in esotericism is not to manipulate others, which has unfortunately been done and continues to be done in bad faith by persons who are not Hermetic Masters. A true Hermetic Master never causes his students to suffer, but maintains secrecy of the more advanced practices rather to protect the body, soul, and mind of the Apprenctice not yet prepared to assimilate these techniques, which when practiced by individuals not yet evolved enough would certainly destroy them.
Let us take a simple example. Let us say that one of my students tries to convince me to give him or her an advanced alchemical technique. I observe in the behavior of the student that they are not yet ready to have and practice this particular processing as they have not yet reached the necessary degree of spiritual maturity. Because the disciple is insistent, however, I allow myself to be convinced, give in, and give the technique to them anyway. The student diligently begins with the practice and as a consequence either goes mad or dies, which, by the way, are very real dangers with Hermetic alchemy.
Now why did this tragedy occur? It occurred for the simple reason that the Apprentice used an instrument much larger than themselves that requires a profound level of spiritual maturity for its use, for which the student was unprepared. No true Master Alchemist would, of course, ever give such a dangerous technique to an unprepared Disciple of the Art.
This same line of reasoning is followed today by more advanced nations in the sense of superior democracy in regard to, for example, smaller nations still ruled by dictators that, if were they to possess atomic weapons, would use them to destroy others and themselves. Can you imagine if Osama Bin Laden were in possession of the secrets of how to build atomic weapons? This is why nations like the USA protect the secret of the creation of atomic order to protect an infantile humanity from self-destruction.
No Hermetic Master who is a true Master would ever give everything all at once to an Apprentice. It is the proper development and spiritual maturation of the Disciple over time that determines their capacity to assimilate more advanced spiritual techniques with their attendant
higher states of awareness and realization.
If we plant an apple tree, we accept that five long years will pass before the tree will ever bear fruit. Why then should we expect it should be different with the Secret Hermetic Science?
Moreover, alchemical processes are not truly "secret." On the contrary, all of the secrets of true alchemical processing are described in alchemical works very clearly. It is the infantility of students or their laziness to study which prevents aspirants of alchemical wisdom from discovering for themselves the secrets of the Royal Art.
Aspirants today are unwilling to sweat on the books and in the laboratory as have done all true Children of Hermes and thus have discovered the true significance of every term and all of the sequences to put into operation the secrets of the Great Work.
But today, in the age of the Internet, aspirants want easy, immediate, and complete access to information. Above all, they do not want to sweat and work!
Of course not. They want to be able to go to a bookstore and buy a book like they do with Regardie's Golden Dawn, or even better yet,Google a website and voila ... to become a Hermetic Alchemist reading in clear text all of the secrets of the Royal Art!
Such is the mentality of the 21st Century.
But with Hermetic Alchemy, alas, this is not possible.
To explain why, let me give you an example from modern physics. There exist in libraries books with the knowledge to build nearly anything, either good or evil, explaining all of the accumulated science of man.
But how many people dedicate themselves to a profound study of the matter?
Likewise many aspire to the light but only the fewest obtain it because it is "difficult" to study and to practice.
No...aspirants of today want to have everything clearly written and readily understandable.
And even the Hermetic Masters are accused today that "we keep secrets only to manipulate others," merely because, as we have done for countless Centuries, we speak, write, and discourse with you using the very symbols of the Sacred Science itself.
But were I to reveal to you the deepest and most profound secrets of alchemical processing, how many of you would understand?
How many of you would have eyes to see?
How many, ears to hear?
How many would succeed to perceive the naked truth in itself?
In fact, only the fewest of the few.
I repeat to you once again, as has been written and said over and over by the Hermetic sages of all ages, in words that are as true today as they were in ancient times:
"Everything is clearly revealed, but not perceived."
"Eyes behold but they do not see!"
"Ears listen but they do not hear!"
Therefore I repeat:
Just as there exist symbolical languages for physics, chemistry, and philosophy, without which you can not truly understand these sciences, so in alchemy there also exists a symbolical language that since millennia has been beneath the eyes of all in books, in cathedrals, and in every construction of the ancients. Even the fables of storybooks are full of these symbols!
Thus you can not accuse the Hermetic alchemists of hiding things from you or speaking in riddles. It is only that we are speak in a different language, known in alchemy as "The Language of the Birds."
How can you expect to understand this language any more than Sanskrit unless you likewise learn its rules and symbols with great effort, and to study, study, and study more?
Thus it is not we, the Sons of Hermes that you should accuse of speaking in riddles and of keeping secrets from you!
You should blame yourselves instead for not having studied enough and researched enough!
In fact, the alchemical maxim is quite clear and enough to come to an understanding of the entire Opus:
"Lege, lege, lege, et Inveniens."
For those of you who have not applied yourself to understand Latin, this means in terms that even limited understanding might yet grasp:
"Read, read, reread, and you will find."
Thus you may understand the truth that I speak to you as all of the Sons of Hermes who have come before me have also said, that everything is already written and it is only the ignorance and the intellectual laziness of those who approach the Sacred Sciences that serve as "natural selection" to screen out the undeserving by their own work from the truly deserving that are committed to and conquer the mysteries.
In the Sacred Science, not everything can be given to everyone even if it is revealed because:
... the Science can not be given, but rather... must be conquered.
It is not enough to have faith to become a true Initiate, but one must above all study, work, and engage oneself to the very depths.
How many are capable of this?
This is why true Initiates have "always" been few...
...and today are even fewer.
And everything not successfully conquered on one's own remains shrouded in mystery waiting to be discovered, and becomes "secret" only to the degree that it does not become conquered and discovered by hard work and research.
It is like as if I should enrolls to study Physics at the University. During my first year everything that the researchers of Theoretical Physics are doing will certainly remain "secret" to me. But if I apply myself I can unlock their secrets, as they are already revealed but in a language that I must first learn. Unless I learn this language, however, theoretical physics will always remain a mystery for me.
But to return once again to your original question:
You asked me:
"Why do you speak in a veiled manner, and why have the alchemists always spoken like this as well?"
I do not speak in a veiled manner. I have always spoken forthright and clearly with you.
The problem is rather with your understanding.
I speak with symbols that you do not understand only because you have not studied them.
Study the symbols of Hermetic Science and you will understand me completely.
Then you asked me: "Is this not only a manipulation?"
I have already explained to you that unfortunately there are others who do use this science to manipulate others.
I do not manipulate anyone, however. In fact, I am not even interested in having Disciples.
...and like me, there "are" others, even if we are few.

No comments:

Post a Comment