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There are several reasons why I feel the way I do about this. One… - Anti-Politically Correct Occultists [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Anti-Politically Correct Occultists

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[Jan. 28th, 2005|07:20 pm]
Anti-Politically Correct Occultists



There are several reasons why I feel the way I do about this. One of these reasons is secrecy. Yes, I know, information wants to known and there is no reason to keep it from those who seek it with integrity. Occult knowledge has always presented itself to sincere practitioners of the arte magical, but to cast the proverbial pearls before swine does nothing but cheapen the path that leads to such knowledge. Furthermore the proliferation of occult symbolism within the public sphere offers too many opportunities for the misunderstanding or misinterpretation by those outside and quite critical of esoteric movements.

Sure the rise in popularity provides a seemingly more open social environment with which an occultist may "be themselves" without fear of ridicule, but there are problems with this as well. First of all popularity and fadism may lend a temporary credibility to what many have considered eccentricity, dilettantism and heresy, but it also sets itself upon a pedestal for criticism. Eventually the fashion will ware off since all fads are temporary and consist of surface models relating to image and acceptance by ‘popular culture’.

Some may argue that occultism is popular due to the fact that there are many more people genuinely interested in these subjects. To this I reply that although this may be true in the sense that there are more people on the planet [and more coming every minute] and consequently a proportionate amount of them hold an interest in the occult - they nonetheless remain a minority and still fall under the stern and suspicious eye of orthodoxy.

An individual who feels that they can ‘be themselves’ more fully in public due to the current trend of pop-occultism are placing themselves in dangerous territory. One does not become an occultist in order to be accepted by the herd, nor is there any implied rebellion in applying oneself to such pursuits, but it must be remembered that the occult holds a place of scorn in the history of the world and the creeping masses may project this stigma upon said practitioners. The thought that one can ‘be oneself’ or ‘hide’ behind the limitations of a fad is sure to lead one into difficult times when the trend falls out for some other fashion statement.

Heretical thought is never safe from orthodoxy.

Concerning the matter of innovation; I concede wholeheartedly toward a new occult revival and all that is implied thereby whether the upholding of age-old tradition or the creation of new methods in alignment with contemporary circumstances, but again with the caveat against pop-occultism.

Pop-occultism as used here is specifically referring to the use of the occult as a fad of popular interest. We have all seen this before - a great idea [even bad ideas] are ‘discovered’ by ‘popular culture’, promoted by the media and then a parade of band-wagon jumpers follow in succession in an attempt to make money or be part of the hip crowd. Witness ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, ‘The DaVinci Code’, The ‘Dummies’ Series or ‘Idiot’s Guides’.
Speaking of idiot’s guides look at the mass of useless verbiage spewed out by Llewellyn Publishing. Hundreds of books - the same books really - rehashing the same information, only changing keywords to attract the hip-conscious. What is it this week? Celtic magic? Nope that’s out now isn’t it? Nocturnal Magic? Everyday Magic? Simplified Magic? How about the Idiot’s Guide to Enochian Feng-shui-soup for the Soul?
Don’t even get me started on how many trees were cut down for this rubbish - all packaged with their comic book covers. You know of what I speak. But what is even more deplorable than that is the fact that two things happen due to this kind of misrepresentation: These watered down texts become the light posts for new seekers after the mysteries and they attract the kind of person that would be drawn to comic book covers which advertise mediocre and surface treatments of esotericism as genuine occult practice. Sure Harry Potter is popularizing the occult but do we want Harry Potter to be the role model of the traditional occultist? Pop-occult groups are full of graphic novel magicians - these texts and the people duped by them only attract more ADD-arm chair magicians who misrepresent and even further an occult culture vastly different from more traditional lines. This contributes to the other problem of sincere folks who seek after the mysteries but are horrified by the Fantasy Role-playing covens they encounter and are put off by the lack of depth given in the texts or even worse become one of the converted - another Harry Potter or Gandalf the Gray limited by the status quo’s false idea of esoteric matters. The Church of the Sub-Genius is excepted from this rant as they have parodied the occult so masterfully that no one can be led astray thereby precisely because of the humor clearly expressed in their emblemata.

But to return the innovation of magical techniques, or as some like to referee to it Occulture. I again state by all means stretch the envelope - explore - expand - evolve but don’t think you’ve done something new until you’ve seen what has been done before. Van Gogh, Picasso nor Spare transgressed nor innovated upon art before learning of, and mastering the traditional art forms of the past. Occultism has ever been called the Great Arte and has much in common with its creative cousin. Art is not limited, nor should the occult be so, but we have all seen vapid thoughtless art, or art style copied without experience. There is nothing wrong with using a good idea, but if one does not derive it from personal experience it lacks the conviction that ‘stealing fire from heaven’ holds.

Ritual magic and traditional art technique share the discipline of that may seem at first glance a limitation, but it is that very endless repetition that trains the practitioner for more advanced work. They are exercises designed to hone the individual into shape thereby giving them the dexterity and experience necessary to execute the work when the inspiration occurs. Success requires experience and expertise especially when working on Great Art whether for aesthetic or spiritual ends.

Down with pop-occultism!

It does nothing but cheapen the arte, waterdown the knowledge and misrepresent the Great Work - even acting as a crutch to those unwilling to explore, learn and do the necessary labor in order to win success and attainment in the Great Work - for that is what it is - work.

To Work Then!

[User Picture]From: tsarren
2005-01-30 11:14 am (UTC)
*pokes the group* Geez, this place is dead.

These watered down texts become the light posts for new seekers after the mysteries and they attract the kind of person that would be drawn to comic book covers which advertise mediocre and surface treatments of esotericism as genuine occult practice.

Speaking as someone who started out with nary a clue, bought at least one crappy book, and later realized that said book was indeed crappy: so what? The people who are intelligent enough to actually effectively practice the art aren't going to be taken by such trash. The people who will forever dabble, whatever their motivation, usually aren't practiced enough to do any harm with their misbegotten 'knowledge'.

Now, do said books cheapen the art? Yes. Look at the pop-culture idealizations of American Indian culture. Despite careful and respectful research by anthropologists in the past 50 years, the American public knows jack squat about the concept of Native American religion being so tied in with their culture that the two are nigh inseperable. The international public knows even less. But, like the idealizations of AI culture, the fluffy books on occultism aren't likely to disappear anytime soon.

Pop-occult groups are full of graphic novel magicians - these texts and the people duped by them only attract more ADD-arm chair magicians who misrepresent and even further an occult culture vastly different from more traditional lines.

Two things here: first and foremost, I resent the cheap use of ADD. It's a disease, it's real, I suffer from it, and I've worked like hell to be able to overcome and make use of my different thought patterns in the art. To imply that all pop-culture occultists have ADD is about as bad as saying they're all mentally retarded, and quite frankly, is rude.

Secondly - yes, the pop-culture occultists have created and furthered the fluffy bunny new age movement that sometimes has very little to do with what we know of the roots of the art. I look at it this way - obviously it fulfills some function in these people's lives, or there wouldn't be a movement. Would you rather they be somehow denied this path, and instead possibly end up as fundamentalists of whatever religion instead? Because the unmindful who want some kind of spirituality in their lives to answer the question of purpose *will* choose a path.. and I'd rather that this alternative to fundies of various sorts be open to them, however much they may cast erronous light on those of us who are serious students.

All that being said...

Do I have respect for the fluffy new-age occultists' beliefs? Not really. I end up biting my tongue in a lot of casual conversations. I've heard people claim to influence the weather to the point of ending droughts, without the aid of an external source of power; I chortle silently to myself, half-wishing I could somehow convey to them the sheer amount of energy needed to accomplish such a feat.

Occasionally I feel the need to drop a few solid theories, or try to get people thinking about why they believe what they believe. But, by and large, I am not going to go on a crusade against these people. They aren't the ones trying to convert me, they aren't the people using government money to put Ten Commandments monuments on government land, and they aren't the people who want to legislate questionable morals on us just because 'their god says so.' From an activist standpoint, I have bigger fish to fry.

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[User Picture]From: thorn_garden
2005-02-02 10:59 am (UTC)
Sure everyone has to learn for themselves how to discriminate between the wheat and the chaff and many may say 'to each their own' but I choose to speak my mind about it not only to blow off steam but to light a fire. Sure I can and often do ignore the pop-occultism out there, though one is faced with it constantly if any communication in occult circles is to be had.

You are correct regarding my use of ADD - it is perhaps out of line to be used in such a sweeping manner. Though to clarify, I use the term abusively because it has become a crutch and an excuse for many who do not have the bonafide disease. Since I am no medical professional I will not speculate out loud as to what the cause of ADD in our society is - but the 'pretenders to the throne' I refer to as armchair magicians certainly fit the bill disease or no.

I understand and to some degree agree with your point about people being able to 'fulfill some function' in their lives, but this hardly supports a notion that the tradition should be compromised because people are unwilling to approach the labor necessary to endeavor therein.

My original post is indeed a rant regarding someting that I have strong feelings about, but I am hardly on a crusade against anyone - merely giving voice against something that I feel is too bad.
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[User Picture]From: tsarren
2005-02-13 08:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for the well-thought-out response. It made me think, and in thinking I realized that pop occultism can have a pertinent negative effect on the art - given that some of what we do is based on logic, even though science cannot address it, the pop occultists would ignore centuries of study, instead simply believing in what suits them. Making a religion out of our almost-science, as it were.

The effect is analogus to luddites hampering the progress of science and knowledge, which has happened innumerable times in human history.

I'm not going to go around lighting a fire under people's asses.. but perhaps I will be a little more likely to challenge silly claims.

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[User Picture]From: thorn_garden
2005-02-02 11:08 am (UTC)

Club? What Club?

Well as I said in the original post:

"One does not become an occultist in order to be accepted by the herd"

So why should you care?

Personally I think the folks at Disinformation are approaching things much better that Llewellyn, sure they fall into what may be considered pop-culture, but they do so in a tongue in cheek fashion. They have the veneer of pop-culture but they are actually providing a service by giving old ideas a contemporary look. Personally I feel its different than proliferation of the same texts with different 'keywords' to attract the credulous.
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[User Picture]From: brothercatfish
2005-01-31 02:35 pm (UTC)
In re: to the profligacy of pop occulture I have 3 thoughts:

1. Sturgeon's Law, i.e., 90% of everything is shit, deal with it.
2. Jewels are sometimes hidden by trash.
3. And, to quote one greater than myself, Do What Thou Wilt. If it it somebody's thing to read Llewellyn books and advance no further, then it is their will and I cannot judge beyond that. There is no law but do what thou wilt.
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