A QUESTION OF DEGREE
There are as many modes of working as there are groups. No-one can arbitrarily judge what is the “right” method and what is the “wrong” method because no-one but the members of the group is qualified to say what those people want. If they choose to dress in robes and dance around a circle, they will join a certain group; if they feel that they are going round in circles metaphorically as well as literally, they will either resign from the group or look for something deeper within its teachings. And then, if they find something deeper (within themselves or within the group gestalt), they may try to force it on the other members who would rather be left alone to get on with their dance.
All groups carry the seeds of their own destruction within them, if their High Priest, or whatever title he holds, considers it part of his duty to mend the cracks, he is not fulfilling his true function, which is to help others in their development. If a group is a vehicle for a High Priest’s ego, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the members are happy to be worshipping at his feet. Some, especially at the beginning of their interest in Occultism, need that kind of safety-net and they seek involvement with others by participation in ritual and other workings. Most would not be happy with the DL set-up, which is not a “group”; the Adept speaks to each pupil individually and no-one else knows what has been said unless that pupil chooses to discuss it with others.
There are no “phoney” groups, only groups which a member has outgrown. It is a question of degree. There are kindergartens, primary schools, comprehensives and universities, and, however talented the pupil, he/she is better prepared by progressing through the system than by enrolling at university straight out of the cradle. Those who choose to remain in the Occult kindergarten do so because it fulfils their requirements.
The question of dangers, of stirring up something that one cannot handle, has been exaggerated. Even the weakest High Priest knows that, sooner or later, a monster is going to pop up, and, if he cannot zap it back from where it came from, he had better abandon the Occult right now and take up knitting. He has to have some modicum of skill, to keep his members happy, and this is usually sufficient. He does not need to understand the real nature of the bogey or its origins, as long as he can keep the lid on it. When his members want to know more, they will move on.
A danger comes when a kindergarten Occultists tries to move up before he is ready. Although he could not pass the university entrance exam, he might be accepted at comprehensive simply on the grounds of the length of time spent in the playgroup. A rigidly hierarchically grade-structure is a valid means of safeguarding all concerned, not least the upwardly-mobile junior member.
Some will tell you it is wrong to remain on a level, that you must be forever pressing onward and upwards. The Occult is not like that, and real life is not like that either. However, the majority of us have come from the ranks, missing a grade here and there according to individual preferences and abilities. If you look back and say “I learned nothing at all from that group”, the fault is probably yours.
Anonymous article taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 9, Society of Dark Lily (London 1989).