Mishkan ha-Echad

Wednesday 15 April 2009

On the Deliberate Destruction of Documents

"With each of the schisms and quarrels which have occurred from time to time, various official documents have been lost, or, what is simply criminal, deliberately destroyed. Unvelievable though it may sound, the attitude seems to have been, 'If I can't make use of these papers. then nobody shall. Into the fire they go.' When one of the Chiefs of a North county Temple died many years ago, it is alleged that his widow promptly seized all his Order manuscripts and, so we are told, destroyed them. Very much the same sort of thing has occurred in other of the Temples. This lamentable behaviour has been confined to no particular group. Where there have been students of the Order this insane attitude has always manifested itself. There is, so I am told, an individual in charge of one of the Temples whose understanding of certain magical matters is not too profound. Rather than acknowledge this, which would have been forced upon him were documents on these subjects distributed, and then questions asked, it is alleged that he has preferred not to circulate them. [...] It would be monstrous and tragic were this knowledge lost to those who seek the Light along the Path."

- Israel Regardie, What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn


Suecae Sounds said...

The good Regardie is probably right. It's easier to understand for me if documents were destroyed due to lack of knowledge of their meaning or spiritual worth. But when deliberatly done, it's a minor tragedy.

Unknown said...

I think it might depend on just what the contents of the documents are. If they are deeply personal and one feels they could provide a link that's rather strong to the person's spirit (aside from other known methods), they might just want to keep that a secret.

But, if it is something that is just a basic understanding of how reality works with itself and other specifics that would be a boon to most magickians, it is a shame.

This is why I am for the open talks of practices. Deeply personal stuff and things that are highly inividualistic aside, there is a lot of information to be shared in our practices. Especially if most magickians are fluttering from one thing to another, as they make their way and learn what works for them.

We are all sign posts for each other. And even if most of us are running around, like chickens with our heads chopped off, we can all use signs from other magickians that make us stop in our tracks with the word or general idea we're trying to get across.

Where we have an 'oh, my god; I've been fucking my own progress up because of this, that or the other'. And even with the information out there, just knowing it doesn't automatically make someone uber without having put in the work.

How many of us have tried method after method that we've come across and found it working for others, but we don't get squat? And despite writing our experiences down, there are still many specifics that we forget to jot down and don't think about them till a long time later when we realize 'oh, I should have been including that this whole time'. But, what that forgetting lets us do is focus on developing those particular parts before bringing back what we were working with before and combining it with this new stuff because we have let ourselves forget and at the right time, we remember when it's important to bring it back, so it shows up again.

It is a double edge sword, as weapons and other advancements in the mundane world, but that's the way things are with pretty much anything.

We are often so concerned with not providing spiritual lessons before their time to keep from hindering one's progress that we stifle our own progress to a degree when we get more adept at it. Even if you say that one should be skilled enough to be able to tell, much of what we receive through our psychic senses is really symbolic. This includes things analyzed as their material natures. It's very common to see a woodland creature to represent a malady, taking some time to look behind the symbolism to see the other stuff connected to it. And the symbols are open to interpretation.

Samuel Scarborough said...

I have to generally agree with Regardie. It was common practice in the GD and its offshoot Orders to destroy personal or Order documents in a person's possession, especially if a member died.

Look at the Garstin's papers for example, or what the chiefs of Whare Ra did when they closed in 1978 (there was a huge bonfire and most Order/temple documents were destroyed).

Today though, since so much material is electronically stored there is the risk of there being nothing saved. A simple pressing of 'delete' and a modern Order's material is completely lost to further GDers.

I do not advocate the publishing of a particular Order's teachings (though perhaps once that Order is completely defunct and in abeyance for a period of time). I think that there should be some hardcopies available of material that can be used as research in later years. It would be great if there were a GD library (a physical location) where such things could be stored and documented.

Alas, this is not the case, so we have to glean what information we can piecemeal and slowly expand our knowledge through personal work which we in turn write down (and hopefully share with others of like mind).


Tony Fuller said...

I would like to correct one misunderstanding regarding the Whare Ra Temple. On the closure of the temple there was indeed an extensive burning of documents. These did NOT however include any rituals or instructional material. In fact the last Chiefs wrote to each member asking whether they would like any material up to their respective Grade. What was burnt was the massive collection of administrative documents and corrspondence which had built up over the years. The Hermes temple in Bristol followed the same procedure.

From the historical perspective I do lament the loss of this undoubtedly fascinating material. However, there is another dimension to this question. Out of the approximately 800 members who I estimate passed through the GD,SM and AO only two violated their obligations to secrecy. Apart from the Regardie publication other GD etc papers have leaked out from about 12-15 ex-members who died without destroying their material. Thus, these 12 did not deliberately make the material available. In other words the overwhelming majority believed in the necessity of either destroying their Order material and/or keeping their Obligation. Do modern members really feel that these nearly 800 members were all mistaken and that "we" know better today?

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