Should oaths be kept? What if they cramp my style? If no one else is keeping theirs? What if I am no longer a member of the organization I swore those oaths to?
Si Vales, Valeo
Thank you for your thoughtful mail.
In my opinion a person is their word. Your word is your covenant: your logos. That is what an oath is. If you make promises and don’t keep them, you are useless to me and to anyone else that may have to, or want to count on you. You are also betraying your Higher Self because an oath is a statement of your Will.
If you are looking for some one to validate your breaking of your oaths because you are no longer with that organization, you picked the wrong guy. I don’t recommend breaking your oaths, no matter how angry or shunned you might be feeling this moment. You may not be theirs any longer (their loss, I might add) but it would incur some bad ju-ju. But it’s like we say: Do what thou wilt.
Also, please note those initiations have already been published, and the karma for breaking those oaths belongs to those people that originally let the cat out of the proverbial bag. And even if you were to follow suit, you would gain nothing save inheriting their karma, because the oath has everything to do with YOU. At best, you would be an oath-breaker. A person whose word cannot be trusted. At worst, well… I think your imagination will paint a much more dire picture than I ever could.
Secrecy is a form of celibacy. The act of refraining gives the object/subject power. It is what fuels the initiation. At least that’s how I see it. By breaking the oaths, you would be letting yourself down.
Are there notable occultists that have violated their oaths? Allegedly, Crowley revealed the Golden Dawn material because he was upset by a superior that made him take an oath of secrecy with regard to the Hebrew letters and their correspondences. Not sure I buy that. And when he did reveal the material by publishing it, he claimed the Secret Chiefs had told him to do it. Not sure I buy that either.
Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie did something similar by publishing The Complete Magical System of The Golden Dawn and The Mystical Qabalah, respectively. Whether you believe in Secret Chiefs or not, you have to ask yourself if you feel those individuals were breaking oaths because they were sour grapes, acting on a higher authority, or because they sincerely felt that mankind could benefit from the information. Are you acting on a higher authority?
Let’s consider the effects on us personally, of all this oath breaking mentioned above. Without Crowley, Regardie and Fortune’s oath breaking, we would have precious little in the way of real, workable ceremonial magical technique or qabalistic knowledge, which is such an important part of our practice. Had Fortune not broken HER oaths, how long would it have taken for something nearly as tasty as The Mystical Qabalah to be published?
Breaking oaths for a greater good is a form of spiritual martyrdom. Even if you sincerely believed that your breaking them would benefit mankind in some way, the act would not absolve you of the penalty of your oath. There are consequences for breaking oaths, no matter how well intentioned, and we can read about the lives of these personalities and speculate whether breaking the oath effected them negatively.
That said, you think I should ALSO “spill the beans” to you, and disclose some lofty secret which can be found just about anywhere if you had the eyes to see, because in your words “that group of Thelemites hates you anyway.” There are seven billion people in this world and I have no interest if one, or five, or 1000 of them hate me. I would hope that they would hate me for something I have actually done. I still refuse to violate my oaths, which will only enforce the justification for their hatred. And if your motivation is anger and hurt, then I hate to say it like this, but suck it up. Stiffen up, and move on with your life. Fight them if you wish, but don’t debase yourself in the process.
You have every right to ask yourself if you are absolved from breaking oaths once you leave the organization that administers them. Or if you are free to break promises if the individuals who administer those oaths routinely break them. Maybe you could get away karma free with it if the leaders of the organization break them. But why would you want to sink to their level? And besides, you have taken enough initiation to know that initiation is about YOU, not THEM.
If Crowley taught us anything, it is that when handed a pile of excrement, we should sift through it for pearls. Start digging.
When asked to take an oath it is your choice to do so. If you pledged yourself because you believe that your word is important and true; that you wish for true brotherhood, respect, and that fraternity matters even (and maybe especially) when they are not returned in kind, you owe it to yourself to be true.
Some people today, most of them very young souls, believe there is ju-ju in breaking oaths. That the violation of them causes a sort of friction which forces one to become stronger. As a “sovereign” it is okay to break oaths so long as one accepts responsibility. Save the last point, I believe this entire concept is magically flawed. Complete and total bullshit, and a dishonest way to justify doing something one knows better than to do. I think oath-breakers are untrustworthy and have no place in my home around my family. I am probably too old and therefore unhip to think of betrayal as cool.
If one keeps one’s oaths when they are inconvenient it causes friction. This is what they do. Oaths are Karma Yoga.
I trust you will do the right thing.