Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 6308
Age Group: Adult
Posted: May 18th. 2003
Series 05 - Five of Secrets...
"I usually get my stuff from people who promised somebody else that they would keep it a secret. " *
I've got a secret. Lots and lots of secrets, in fact! And for a mere $29.95 (hardcover edition), I will share them with you. Yes, you! As one reviewer** put it: "Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness." So now you too can learn what thousands of others (so the publisher says) have already discovered about all of the things that you aren't supposed to know anything about. Buy Secrets Revealed! today. (Shipping and handling charges not included. Credibility not included. Taxes and author's royalty check definitely included.)
Okay then. Now how can I put this so as not to upset the tender sensibilities of anyone who has actually bought a book with a title such as our fictitious (and the irony will become even more apparent later) little example, Secrets Revealed? Truth is, I can't. It's no secret. You were snookered. There, I typed it out loud. So hex me already. There's a particularly good one on page 201, I believe. Right there under the paragraph entitled: When Good Magick Goes Bad (And Why This Is Usually Much More Fun Anyway).
Well, think about it. The concept of 'secrets', I mean. It is still okay to do the hex thing for a couple more weeks. Remember though that after Memorial Day, you have to go "White". Yes, this is yet another ancient Pagan ceremonial rite that has been misinterpreted (some say 'stolen') over the centuries. Only this time, not by another religion, but by the fashion industry. And they believe that it relates somehow to...get this...shoes! (Note to males: No, women can never have too many pairs of shoes. They are like power tools. Sometimes we even go "vroom, vroom" as we put them on. Especially if they are red.)
What is a 'secret'? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is something not (to be) made known or seen. Sooo... just how secret can that to-be-revealed something be if you are flipping through an entire book of it at your local Barnes & Noble?
And it is a "best-seller", you say? Must be a very good book of very good secrets then. (Yep! Gotta have it!) And where is the power and the glory (and the money) in having all of this secret knowledge if no one knows that you have it, after all? Why it is almost one's civic duty to offer these 'secrets' to a thirsting world.
I could have a bit more respect for these sellers of secrets if they were just more honest about it. If the title of his/her/their tome was "What You Probably Didn't Know About..." it might be closer to the truth of what it is that they are peddling. Some people do know more about some things than other people do. When the people who know more want to share what they know more of with those who know less, fine and dandy. Just don't say it's secret knowledge. Do you think that one million or so people knew about this secret and still managed to keep it a secret just so that you would have to buy the book, too?
Some secrets though are sort of 'real' secrets. No one save the author ever heard of them. Good reason for that #1: They made it up just before they wrote it down. Those are the best sorts of secrets after all. No one else could certainly know that secret. That is why he/she had to write the book. Okay, so maybe the book is a little light on the specifics -- ("I could forgive all that, but Debbie! Pastels?"***) -- and we do need something for book two and three...
But while we are waiting, let's review:
Secret Buster#1: Are there things that are 'secret' in Witchcraft? Um. No. (That's page 201 for the hex, in case you forgot.) But that is not to say that some individual Witches don't have secrets. Some of those Witches can actually keep secrets! But you don't know them. Probably will never meet them. And even if you did meet them, you would never know that it was they. The ones with the secrets, that is. They may have taken an oath not to reveal a thing. They may have been told something in their 'official' capacity as counselor or mentor (or student) that they will keep confidential just as any clergyperson would. Covens and groups may have 'secrets' that relate to form and ritual, but universal 'craft secrets'? Nah.
Secret Buster #2: There are two other words that are often -- and incorrectly -- used interchangeably with the word 'Secret'. The first word is 'occult'. Occult is not secret knowledge; it is hidden knowledge. Occult knowledge is not 'secret' (not (to be) made known or seen). Rather it is knowledge that is hidden from all save those who have earned the right to view it (or have been initiated into a coven, group, society, etc. that teaches it) or to whom it has been revealed through esoteric study or inspiration.
The other word is the one that I just used: esoteric. Oxford's defines this as something intelligible only to those with special knowledge. And I particularly like this word. It really sums up the answers to those many questions that new seekers often ask. Kids, there are some things that you would not understand now even if we told you what these were. That is not condescension. (At least, it shouldn't be.) This path is progressive. What you learn tomorrow can only be built upon what it is that you learn today. That's how it is. Page 201 will never work for you no matter how many times you try it until you have mastered pages 1-200.
Secret Buster #3: "A secret panel that ain't there is the best kind there is, the reason bein', no bugger can find it."**** People who act all mysterious usually aren't. If someone is promising to share magickal 'secrets' with you, please beware. Remember, there are no 'secrets'. There is occult or esoteric knowledge that can be learned or taught, but only those who can do the work required will gain access to it. Choose your teachers -- and your students -- well.
Some people -- and this is a very small number of experienced occultists and adepts -- do have some secrets. But you won't hear them. You won't get them. You won't even know who has them. Theirs is a playing field that works at a level that most folks do not know even exists. These Master occultists and Adepts are not in the phone book, working a book deal or conducting workshops. And they probably don't even look all that mysterious. Most Pagans would never look at them twice. And since one of the only Two that I personally know is a (gasp!) Christian, chances are most people would never know where to look anyway.
Secret Buster #4: Magick, occult or esoteric knowledge will not provide the answer to everything. Magick is neutral and amoral. It does not care that your life sucks and will not reach out one single tendril to save you. Occult and/or esoteric knowledge will however demonstrate and expound upon the energies in magick to enable you to do something about your life that sucks. Funny thing usually happens on the magickal trip to a non-sucking life though: By the time you get to the point in your training where you could actually use some mystical non-suck spells, the training itself has often transformed your way of thinking so radically that no wand waving magick is necessary. The journey here is indeed often the reward.
Secret Buster #5: There is no 'secret" to finding a good teacher. Or about how to figure out if you have found one. Look at his/her life. If he or she is always whining on and on about how his or her life sucks, why would you suppose that this person could teach you anything about how to 'unsuck' yours?
Common sense and magick are not incompatible. Witches, Pagans and/or occultists do not require that you check your brain at the coven/lodge/circle door. Some of us may know a thing or two. Some of us may know a thing or twenty. But these things are not secrets. They can be taught. They can be learned. That is, after all, how we got to know a thing or two or twenty ourselves.
It is no secret that there are a lot of folks out there in the world with 'secret' information that they hope will lure you -- or your money, your time, your physical personhood or your free will -- into their circle or society. But once you make the decision to 'seek knowledge' rather than to 'learn secrets', you have already learned an important lesson that should serve you well as you proceed on your quest: There is a lot of b.s. out there and...
"Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about."*****
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, May 19th., 2003
* Walter Winchell
** Terry Pratchett; Men-At-Arms
*** Morticia Addams; Addams Family Values
**** Pratchett; Maskarade
***** Pratchett; Witches Abroad
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