Recently a few articles where published about the current situation of occultism. Nick Farrell and Jonathan Woolley published articles(1) that made my eyebrows hit the ceiling. Why?
I must say that I was completely flabbergasted. Not because of the symptoms they describe, because I see those symptoms too. But I was stunned because of the diagnosis; digging the grave of the entire tradition! I completely disagree. My analyses of the symptoms is entirely different. To my opinion we need to update our shapeshifting skills. Let me explain.
Surfacing and hiding
The Western Mystery Temples have been going through rough times in the past. We survived the Fall of Atlantis, the decline of the Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek Temples, the fires that destroyed the Library of Alexandria, the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Mass Migrations, the Christianization of Western Society, the Inquisition and the Second World War. Contrary to what everyone assumes we were always mainstream, apart from very brief periods of time in history where we had to hide. As a result of the Inquisition we went into hiding about 100 years and surfaced about 1900 AD with the expansion of the Golden Dawn. The next hiding was necessary for about 15 years as a result of WWII.
Reclaiming our cultural legacy
What you see when you study historical sources (and then I am not only talking about the Grimoire Tradition, but also about all the arts!!!), is that we have been high culture almost always. Have we forgotten our legacy? Let us reclaim those great works of literature, opera, paintings, ballets, sculptures, architecture, myths etc. that are based on magical principles and are expressions of the legacy of Magic and the Western Mystery Tradition.
The Art of Invisibility
The problem nowadays as I see it, is that today’s teachers are trained by teachers who needed to be invisible and worked from an underground position. They passed those survival skills to us. I clearly remember the warnings in the correspondence course that was part of my training: “Don’t vibrate the Words of Power too loud, because you could attract the attention of your neighbors.” Or instructions at workshops: “Don’t leave any rituals in the room, because they can be found by muggles”, “If an incident happens, first unrobe, then leave the building”, “The organization cannot find out who we are. If they ask questions, we are a theatre group”, and so on. Of course I will pass those skills on to my students in case these become necessary sometimes in the future.
But to my opinion, nowadays we need an opposite movement to pass on occultism to the next generation. The pagan movement was a fashion hype that is now declining, due to the fact that lineage holders have no strategy and network, to help people who are interested in the tradition, to find the ‘real deal’.
The examples how to do that are everywhere to be found in the Hindu and Buddhist communities. The Eastern Temple Traditions have been working at integration in Western Society from 1967 on when the Beatles declared that they were into Transcendental Meditation. Slowly yoga and meditation shapeshifted into forms that were not only attractive to the alternative community, but also were beneficial for mainstream society. Today in the Netherlands they are openly discussed and documented on national television.
Hide in plain sight.
What we can learn from the Eastern Traditions is, that it is necessary to translate the Western Mystery Tradition into terms and benefits that mainstream society can at least understand, and to offer beginning practitioners training in such a way, that people feel free to talk about their latest ‘hobby’ or ‘lifestyle’ at birthday parties without being made ridiculous.
I have a lot more to say to this subject. But first I want to throw this into the ‘Arena’ as my ‘two cents’ to exchange opinions.
(1) http://www.nickfarrell.it/ten-reasons-why-public-occultism-is-dying/ and https://godsandradicals.org/2017/04/19/british-paganism-is-dying-why/
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Ina Custers van Bergen
For Enchanting Self-development