Secrecy and Magic

Posted on January 19, 2012
Filed Under Culture, Magic, occult culture, Taylor Ellwood | Leave a Comment

Mike posted some excellent thoughts about how secrecy destroys knowledge. I agree with him. I’ve always found the culture of secrecy within the occult to be problematic. I get that, at least as it pertains to magical orders, that the secrets of those orders are maintained to determine who gets into the magical clubhouse and also to demonstrate proficiency in that order. But the dare to be silent aspect of magic has always struck as a form of false modesty, inspired by a desire to posture and smile cryptically, knowing that you are special because you reveal no secrets.

That’s a bit exaggerated, but I’ve never bought into the dare to be silent schtick. Certainly Crowley, one of the proponents of that rule had no problem being anything but silent when it came to his practices. I say dare to be vocal, dare to share your ideas. Dare to share your experiences so others can learn and in turn share their own.

I was reading recently about a scientist in the mid 16th or 17th century. He’d developed this microscope, one of a kind, that provided a level of accuracy that had previously been missing. He wouldn’t share the design. He wanted to keep it secret. To this day no one has any idea how he built his microscope. Since then better microscopes have been developed, but what a waste of knowledge, because of need to keep the technology secret.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to share my ideas and current projects. I realize that some reader or another could take the idea and do something with it. I want them to actually. Same for the reason I write my books. Secrecy does destroy knowledge.

What’s so special about secrecy anyway? I’ve never seen the point, which is probably why I never joined a magical order either. It would be too hard for me to keep secrets that, imo, shouldn’t be kept. I’d make a bad lodge member.

What’s your take on secrecy in the occult?

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