The myth of the perfect teacher
The myth of the perfect teacher

The myth of the perfect teacher

There is a myth in esoteric orders that the teacher of any esoteric order is perfect and knows everything.
To prop up the fantasy when it is fairly clear that teachers do not know anything, or even can’t tie their own shoelace, there has come about backup plans.   These plan b’s include things like secret chiefs, contacts or anything else a group leader can blame for not knowing the facts.
You will find that when pressed, such a leader will say “it is below your grade” or “I am pledged to keep that secret.”
Honesty is not something such leaders can cope with.
I get into all sorts of trouble because I ask questions.   Now as a leader of an Order, I am supposed to know everything.  In fact I will make this clear:
“I do not know everything”.
I do have to ask other people who are specialists in various fields, I sometimes have to ask other magicians for help.
But you know what….
I am ok with that.
I do not have to pretend to be some bullshit expert on everything.  I do not have to pretend to be a superman.  I can just be myself.  Nor do I have to put my own development on hold simply because I run a group.
Sometimes I will ask questions to play devil’s advocate, but other times when I am working along certain lines I need help and do not have any problem with asking for that.
But what is interesting is that other magicians ask me for help and I am cool with that too.   It is when people build a closed circuit which shuts them out from the rest of the world that you know that they are trying to prop up their own egos.
Now I have an ego.
I don’t have a problem with that.  In a world that people are trying to prop up their egos with lies and deceit it is fashionable to claim that you do not have an ego.  In fact the people who claim to be modest, and call for the death of the ego normally have an ego which is so big that the British Royal Family can take a well-deserved skiing holiday on its upper slopes.

I realised that ego was important in my portal when I suddenly realised that I could not stop myself telling the truth, even when it was not in my own interests.    It also meant that I could not play the “game” of being an occult leader. If you are an occult leader you are supposed to spend your time avoiding calling someone a cunt, when they clearly are, because that is not spiritual. 
“Being spiritual” also means that you have to sit while some leader speaks absolute shit about themselves and a system which you know better than them. Being spiritual means not calling a spade a spade. 
The price of being spiritual is that there is no change in any system.   Call your self a teacher and you are supposed to remove you from any new teaching.  There is no one who is brave enough to tell these fuckwits that they are not even doing magic.  Being spiritual means you have to smile while some loon tells others how important they are because they have some piece of paper which they bought from a library.
It would not matter so much if these idiots kept their mouths shut and just tried to convince their brain dead followers that they were Jesus, but the irritating thing is that these people are often the loudest- shouting their superiority from the roof-tops while keeping their “teaching” “so secret” because they do not dare it reaching public scrutiny.  
As a result the Golden Dawn is now associated with such types.   There are not many of them, but they are loud enough.
So as a result when Jake Stratten-Kent made his claim about the contamination about Golden Dawn orders with masonic thinking and war on “spiritualism” techniques he was absolutely right. He was not right about MOAA, or even HOGD, but there are a lot of Golden Dawn Groups out there who are doing exactly what he says.
There is even  GD groups out there which bans psychics and people who have had mediumistic experiences. Because they claim bogusly that was what was intended by the original GD oath!
 FFS that means I could not be a member of the Golden Dawn and neither could Mathers, Felkin, Brodie Innes, Farr, Horniman, Dion Fortune, Crowley, Case or anyone else who is a significant player in the GD.   Such ignorance of magic should not be allowed.
Psychic stuff is exactly what the Golden Dawn was all about.  At the higher grades you are spending all your time doing the same things that mediums and spiritualist were doing. Arguably they were using better techniques, but they were still the same thing.
Jake also does not like the idea that we are all closed in and don’t experiment. He is right. There are a lot of groups out there who don’t.  They rely on the fact that their members will not get to the higher grades and don’t bother.  Or, worse, they pretend they have lots of secret teaching which is mysteriously missing when they get to those grades (which few ever do).
In MOAA we want our adepts to work on areas they like and develop them.  They are given assistance by the order to do that and that provides a body of work for others who follow them. This makes magic a science and the GD something living. 
Jake is interested in classical Geotia and so am I.  I am working on this, but I am sure that there will be other 5=6s who will be working on areas that interest them and will train others. 
As a teacher, I can only do so much.  So I will rely on others who are soaked in my system to research and come up with new avenues of magic for future generations.
That way, I am not limited to having to be a jack of all trades, but can focus on the things that interest me, while promoting those adepts who know what they are doing in particular areas.
Again this has to mean that I admit that I do not know everything. Occultism will move forward when it ditches the belief in a perfect teacher, and the need for teachers to pretend that they are.
 BTW I am not referring to one order here it is a general concept.  If you think this is talking about you and your order you need therapy and are part of the problem.


  1. I was taught that at the Adept level, you were both a student and an expert–a student in most things, and an experimenting expert in a small area of occultism. And that you were allowed to keep your full range of human emotions…a lot of people claim that I can’t be an Adept because I still have a temper.

  2. June Courage

    I got a problem with the word ‘cunt’ being used as a term of disgust or dennigration. I feel the same way about ‘fag’ or ‘nigger’.It’s deeply offensive. Free speach isn’t hate speach. Magicians especially should have greater sensitivity to the language they use.

  3. Morgan, well said (and good piece Nick)… If you cannot have a temper and be an adept then I think we are all beginners… or zombies…. the difference is knowing how to act on our emotions, or not.

  4. Nick, the portion on mediums etc. had me thinking about another area of 0=0 oath. Namely, that any method of deep induction or mesmerism is to be avoided. Would you apply the same thinking to that, where one could not use modern hypnotism or any of its corollaries (maybe bi-nauaral beats or para-liminal recording etc.) for some type of contact work or astral work?

    I’ve used both [hypnotism and bi-naural beats] with what I would consider good to great results, but I’ve had a conflict of continued use as it seems to fly into direct contradiction to the oath.

    1. The oath clause was:
      “I will not suffer myself to be hypnotized, or mesmerized, nor will I place myself in such a passive state that any uninitiated person, power, or being may cause me to lose control of my thoughts, words or actions.”
      In MOAA we have changed the oath to keep this clause just to make it clear. We say: “I solemnly swear not to suffer myself to become so passive that any uninitiated person or power may cause me to lose control of my words or actions.”
      Clearly whoever came up with the original oath did not really know what hypnotism really was. But there was a belief that a person hypnotised could be forced to do something against their will and the fear was that a person could be hypnotised so that they could learn the GD’s passwords and secrets.
      Such a belief was common in the 19th century and it was part of a stage magician’s act and has been proven bogus.
      In fact the idea of pathworking is so similar to a hypnotic state that it would have been impossible to do had this particular branch of the oath been enforced or intended.
      However the idea of being placed in a “passive state” is a very real problem and worthy of an oath.
      Hypnosis does not cause you to lose control of yourself, however passivity does. Passivity is when you turn your will over to that of another. You do it in co-dependant or other abusive relationships, you can also make yourself totally passive to a bully at work. Whenever you surrender what you want to another’s will you lose that vital connection with your higher self and in serious cases the damage can be permanent. Your personality is the very chariot you are seeking to perfect in this work you must never hand over the reins to another in any form.

  5. Some good points I think. Secrecy I feel has run its course. What we need now is some straight talking, as you say. If something looks off-tilter to us, we should voice our concerns. Maybe once we all though (living in a happy fantasy) that Order leaders were always high, spiritual people that we should respect and never criticize. This has been proved to seldom be the case, and over-optimistic at best. We should respect leaders that are honest and have a (not grovelling) but humble attitude that allows them to admit their own failings and remain open to questioning. I always tell people in my Order, although I am a leader there, feel free to question me, even criticize me if you want – I have no problem with that – in fact I welcome it. If you think I need to work on something tell me, maybe I need to be told so I can be aware of the problem. If you think I screwed something up, let me know so we can discuss it and I can start to get the improvements put into place. Seeing oneself as above criticism or rebuke prevents one from growing – and in Magic, especially as a leader, that is never good! As I said elsewhere, Magic is in one of its aspects, about growth and change for the better. I say “in one of its aspects”, as, in another aspect, Magic coud be viewed as also being about becoming aware of what is already Perfect, Wise and Beautiful -about “being”, rather than “doing” (although some might argue the latter aspect is more Mysticism than Magic which is fair enough).

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