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.


A.M. said...

I generally work alone and have little experience with formal groups, but it seems to me that one's private life has everything to do with one's spiritual path. No, it doesn't matter whether or not your dishes match or you pay off your credit card at the end of each month, but people struggling with abuse and/or addiction bring a very different energy into group work. How does one deal with that in a formal setting? I've seen it spoil more than one casual group I've been involved with.

Frater Yechidah said...

This is generally why applications to Orders and temples ask if you've ever needed psychiatric help or been arrested for whatever reason. If one suffers from depression, for example, then that can bring a very dark energy into a working group, unless the person in question is able to separate their Temple and personal life sufficiently. Likewise, if one's a drug addict, that could impact upon temple life. I would consider in such a case that the Chiefs would ask the person to enrol themselves in a drug centre, and if they refuse, then they would have to be expelled.

At all times the good of the group is more important than the individual. However, if a person can leave their private life, including their problems (which we ALL have), at home, then I see no reason to interfere with it.


Support the Blog

If you enjoyed this content and would like to see more of it, or would like to buy me a cup of tea as a thank you, make a donation through Kerubim Press by clicking the button below.

Thank you! Your support and patronage is much appreciated!