It does not take much before the thin veneer of hypocritical traditional Christian attitudes comes bubbling up to the surface in the occult community. Recently two occult leaders, EA Koetting and New Falcon Press’s Michael Miller were arrested. Koetting on drugs and weapons charges, and Miller for using a camera to spy on kids having showers. Immediately certain elements within the occult community closed ranks. If they did not try to delete posts in which the news was made public they were loudly sounding off about how it was wrong to talk about. Some justified their stance on the basis that it is bad for occultism if it is linked to such people by the popular press. Others felt that we were not be in a position to judge. A similar incident happened earlier in the year when the chief of a Golden Dawn order in Ireland was charged with having a child porn collection and the head of that order was expelling people had an issue with working with him. Then people said that people should not judge him they just do what they were told by him.
The issue that can be summed up, as “you do not have a right to judge another human being.” It comes from Christianity and is based on the bible verses where Jesus is alleged to have said “let he who has sinned cast the first stone” “and don’t judge a man for having a splinter in his eye when you have a plank in your own.”
But like most commonly held beliefs it does not actually work. Jesus himself, while being generally laid back about tax collectors and prostitutes did judge people who were changing money in the temple. Also paradoxically by judging those for wanting to stone prostitutes he was judging them for doing it. The get out clause was that he was the son of God and so was perfect.
However, the issue of “judgement” is something we do all the time. We have to –otherwise we would have been out evolved by practically every creature on the planet. We have to judge if someone is going to attack us, harm us, or be useful to us.
All three mentioned above have pushed themselves as leaders or teachers. Koetting has made many claims for his magical ability which he has offered to sell people for quite a lot of money. We should be allowed to judge his claims against the success he claims for himself. If we do not talk about it, that is impossible. It is not gossip, it is a very serious look as to whether this person should be seen as a teacher within the esoteric community. It is also a debate as to whether we recommend his services to others.
It is expected in any other field that you will be judged by the work you do and what you manage to achieve. In fact, a good teacher EXPECTS their students to make their own judgements as part of their development towards being an individual. It is problematic to those occult teachers who say give me lots of money and I will show you how to take control of your life. Any sane occult teacher would never make that claim, most of us find life a bit of a rollercoaster and magic just helps us keep more or less even.
To make a judgement, people need all the information and the facts out there. If you are happy with a teacher who has a rap sheet for drugs offences – that is fine. However, if you are not then you should have a right to know that. Why? Because some people feel strongly about drug use. The same applies to sex offences. People need to know or else they will invest their time and money in a teacher’s approach and be deeply shocked.
During the Golden Dawn wars, some of the antics of the leaders were shocking and they carried on for years because no one talked about it. They talked about GD people going at each other when it was only two groups attacking each other and dragging in a third with a pointless courtcase.
People have made judgments about me too. It is annoying, particularly when they get them wrong, but it is part of the way humans do things. I have to live with it. If no one judges anyone, then there would be no courts, no police, and no method of monitoring society. The reason we have those rules, laws, cops, etc is that if we did not, the weak would be destroyed by the strong. It is not that there would be anarchy, but rather that the unscrupulous would exploit people without consequences.
The same applies to esoteric societies. We have to judge our leaders and they have to judge their followers. It is time that people learned to live with that.
In posting, this there will be those who say “well you should not say that because people will judge you” and here is the core of what the problem is. People are not so concerned about judging, they are worried they will be judged themselves and do not have the confidence to take that sort of criticism.
My biggest concern was that I was in two esoteric groups where the leaders went off the rails. It was never mentioned publically and those groups continued with their reputations untarnished by problems which should have haunted them. I often wonder if by not judging I put others in harms way.