Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 23 June 2008

Leaving Your Private Life Outside The Temple

One of the things that pops up in the account of the history of the Golden Dawn is when Mathers sent a manifesto to all the Adepti, demanding their obedience or face expulsion or demotion. It's interesting to read this document, not just for insight into Mathers' paranoia and autocratic mind, but for the following:

"What I discountenance and will check and punish whenever I find it in the Order is the attempt to criticise and interfere with the private life of Members of the Order. Neither will I give the Wisdom of the Gods to those who endeavour to use it as a means of justifying intolerance, intermeddling, and malicious self-conceit. The private life of a person is a matter between himself and herself and his or her God; and no person who has taken the Obligation of 5 - 6, and studied the same can be ignorant of its causes and penalties."
- Mathers' Manifesto

There is more on this, but the above should be enough to get the point across. At the time, of course, many Adepti, in true Victorian fashion, frowned upon the lifestyle of Crowley. His bisexuality was particularly a cause of concern, as was his general promiscuity. This was partly to blame for their refusal to initiate him into Adeptus Minor, a refusal which was overriden by Mathers, who seems to be sympathetic to Crowley on this matter.

Say what we might about Mathers, and, indeed, we can say a lot, it's hard not to agree with his view here. For, our own moral standing aside, what happens in one's private life should have no bearing on what happens in one's Temple life, unless it actually hinders or harms it in some form (for example, if a member commits murder). If a person belonging to a Temple comits adultery, then that is a matter for his or her spouse, not the Temple Chiefs; and just because someone is bad in marriage does not automatically mean they are therefore bad in their spiritual and magical endeavours.

So I will echo Mathers in saying that the personal life of a member of an Order is a matter for them and their God alone, and not for the petty bickering and backstabbing of a Temple-turned-social-club. When you go to Temple, you leave your outside life at home, and everyone else should leave it there likewise. If you fall out with a fellow member on a personal level, never ever bring that matter into the Temple. Become your Higher Self and do the Work, and leave the animosity outside the Temple doors, where your ego can return to it later if it so desires. For to bring the ego into the Temple in such a manner is to cause the infiltration of the dross into the sanctity of the Spirit, and there alone lies the death and downfall of your Temple.
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