The late 20th and early 21st century saw a progressive silencing of experienced occult writers. Significant teachers, groups and names gave up writing or significantly reduced their output after receiving a barrage of attacks. These attacks typically came from those who saw the occult field as an opportunity to make money or gain influence – we called them Numpties. They usually command a small team whose role was to coordinate attacks against people they saw as their rivals, either for followers or money.
The leaders of these groups had and still have much in common. They:
1. Have little magical training, or were involved in questionable magical training methods (ie sleeping with people for grades).
2. Relied on their followers to provide the intellectual backbone for what ever structure they wanted and wrote and practiced little themselves.
3. They require their followers to make attacks on their behalf while pretending that they are victims of unspecified threats.
4. They issue a set of statements about others which conform to stereotypes and are expected to be repeated by followers.
5. They create an illusion of “niceness” to their followers and feed off the praise they receive as confirmation of their ego.
6. They use verbal harassment or intimidation techniques intended to distract, minimise, or discourage others from speaking out against them. The goal is to control the larger conversation by ensuring that not all voices are heard or can speak or write without their permission.
As awareness has grown of silencing as a tool of the cultist and the charlatan, attempts have been make to make it into something that upholds the cultist and the charlatan’s victim narrative. So, to make it clear, Silencing is a tool to squash dissent and not:
- Moderated or deleted comments
- Refusal to engage
- Reporting harassment or code of conduct violations
- Disagreement (particularly when that disagreement is based on experience over “numpty knowledge.”
Silencing’s goal is to either stop a writer from publishing material which makes another leader look stupid, ignorant, or magically inexperienced. Silencing tactics include tone policing, moving the goalposts, victim claiming, and dogpiling.
This is one where opponents complain that you are too angry, shrill, or mean. The line is that if you were just a little bit nicer that people might listen to you, or that there is something “wrong with your ego”. This enables the accusers to discount a writer’s substance, ignore the fact that they know more, and focus on the writer’s emotional response. Many of the followers’ attacks are based on getting the writer upset enough to allow the writer to be tone policed. However, the victim is in a difficult position because it is usually impossible to point out difficult subjects without people getting upset in a way that avoid the Tone Police.
The ultimate goal of this strategy is to redirect and refocus the conversation in such a way to silence the speaker Calls for civility and calm are nearly always disingenuous attempts to control the conversation. Being able to consider a subject a “debate” or being able to play “devil’s advocate” is a sure sign of privilege and incoming tone policing.
Moving the Goalposts
Goalpost moving is another kind of derailing intended to change the conversation and is based on exploiting the writer’s good faith. Most occult writers are reasonable people who want to reach some consensus of information. This effectively turns this good quality against them. Numpty followers will pretend to want “more information” which more often means you having to carry out more research to satisfy their ever moving criteria.
One of the more obvious is a request for sources which must be literally and cannot be anything based on Satan burning his hooves into your carpet. Failure to provide this information is seen as “proof” that the writer fails to meet the same “standards” as the Numpty. An ancillary goal of this strategy may be to provoke the writer into an emotional outburst–so the attacker can police your tone and pretend to claim that they were just “testing your hypothesis” or further a debate on the subject.
An effective tool to silence a writer is to accuse them of attacking a numpty because they are a member of “a minority.” This is particularly effective in silencing white male writers normally by claiming that they are racist, misogynist, or homophobic. That is not to say that discrimination or victimisation does not exist (or that it is not carried out by white males) but victim claiming is more a shaming tool and is only effective when the writer is unlikely to hold any negativity to a marginalised person or oppressed group. Few occult writers fit this stereotype, in fact tolerance is an indication of an experienced magical person, To be accused of something they find abhorent is such a shock they shut up, or apologise.
For a while there was a group of men actively shutting down discussions on African Traditions on the basis that the could not be spoken of by “white colonialists.” Yet the people claiming to be “victims” in this debate were mostly white Americans who had been initiated into those traditions. The intention of the attacks was to focus the discussion on themselves as “leaders” and “gatekeepers for those traditions” which they had ironically colonialised.
This shut down technique centres on whether a writer is “enough” of something to speak or be heard and it does not matter how much effort a writer has placed into their words to aid the fight against discrimination it will “not be enough.”
Dogpiling is a sustained effort to attack a writer’s reputation or character. This is what happened to the women who were targeted by GamerGate supporters, but it’s also hounding someone off a social media platform for no reason other than a disagreement. Or deciding that one ill-considered comment erases months or years of work on the community’s behalf instead of being a momentary lapse of judgement.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between collective anger and dogpiling but it usually requires the Numpty to have access to a large number of people who will do their bidding, even if they are unaware what the issue is about. Those involved in dogpiling will not back down and will make or encourage personal attacks normally based on false information. If someone is caught out, they will repeat the writers alleged misdeeds and encourage others to believe the false information.
Although this is rare, numpties do sometimes attempt to silence writers for failing to meet their political agenda. This is normally a specialisation of far right occult groups who try to shut down “woke” or “left-wing” occultists writing in favour of their own neo-nazi magical spin. Lately we have seen numpties use their followers as tools of their own political views. There was a recent case where a magical figure called for their followers to magically attack Harry and Megan for no other reason than their perceived actions against the British Crown.
Is there any way to get it to stop?
Most occult writers have adopted a procedure where they ignore the attacks or get off social media completely. The logic is that the Numpties always get caught out in the end and their followers will turn on them. Basically, you cannot keep control of a group of people by always telling them what they want to hear without eventually delivering the goods yourself. A Numpty’s story always ends the same way and any occult writer will just have to be patent.
However, for occultists who provide their help as a service to the community, or just write because that is the arrangement they have with their contacts, it can be disheartening. Silencing creates a feeling of self-doubt in its victims. This is because those on the magical path continually analyse their own actions and see the universe “as a way their Higher Genuis is dealing with their soul.”
One victim told me “I have been doing this for 40 years and yet suddenly someone with no training is telling me I am wrong and have not researched it properly. It worries me is that they may be right.”
I wrote this more than ten years ago for an update of my book Gathering the Magic, which never really happened. I must get on with that soon.