You May Be a Member of a Secret Society and Not Even Know It

I spent my holidays reading a lot of esoteric literature. After polishing off Louis Bergier’s The Morning of the Magicians, I moved on to a cache of Rosicrucian literature in my collection, and then a book on Jungian symbolism. To top it all off, I started reading Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages.
Fantasy and Fantastic Reality

This isn’t a new habit for me, mind you: I’ve always enjoyed reading philosophical, magical and mystical texts. I’ve half-joked with friends that I’m some kind of amphibian: I need to spend a least part of my day submerged in the fantastic. This isn’t necessarily a healthy way to live, but to quote Shirley Jackson, “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”

There are rewards, too, though: Learning to safely entertain multiple contradictory ideas is one of them; developing a sense for symbolism and correspondences is another.

Angels and Daemons

I’ve been considering the practice and philosophy of magick as largely being a process of psychological development. I’ve seen some parallels between the Rosicrucian “God of Your Heart“, Aleister’s Crowley’s “Holy Guardian Angel“, and the daemons and muses spoken of by the Classic philosophers.

“Tell me about your Holy Mother”

All of these occult practices can be easily paralleled with Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow’s psychological concept of “Self-Actualization” and C.G. Jung’s “Individuation”. Crowley’s “Do What Thou Wilt” seems to me to suggest discovering what you true will is – essentially who you are inside – and acting on it. It’s not a license for licentiousness, but rather a mandate for self-discovery.

The outer lodge and Presbyterian Ladies’ Pot-Luck

Religions are rife with this kind of symbolism, but it seems that many people are happy when they’re not aware of it. They’re comfortable with the edicts of organized religion… the comfort of canon. Many of the religiously minded will live and serve and grow and die within this structure. That’s okay, I guess, but what if the process of spiritual (or psychological) growth is structured like a secret society? The Golden Dawn, perhaps the most famous magickal lodge in the Western tradition, famously had an inner order and an outer order. Only the most promising students ever learned that the inner order existed. Could the mainstream religions serve as that outer order, and the pure experience of mysticism something most people never even discover?

“Chances are you’re a member of a secret society and don’t even know it”

Lately, the concept of “The Invisible College” has been of great interest: What of those brothers and sisters in esoteric belief united in the effort to find and share enlightenment? Does this shared goal make them a secret society of sorts? Could the most secretive secret society be the one that doesn’t know it exists?

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  • Ted Heistman

    “Lately, the concept of “The Invisible College” has been of great interest: What of those brothers and sisters in esoteric belief united in the effort to find and share enlightenment? Does this shared goal make them a secret society of sorts? Could the most secretive secret society be the one that doesn’t know it exists?”

    I think you are onto something…Seems like a very bullet proof organizational structure

  • Ted Heistman

    The concept of the HGA has been a long time fascination for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randomm.taskk.9 Randoɱ Tåsk

    but the answer should ( for some is ) be simple…it is in at least two of the books you’ve read. Funny thing is that this remains invisible for the same reasons… and this is exactly the answer… but that’s just me. Igonore it..

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Do not hate the darkness.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randomm.taskk.9 Randoɱ Tåsk

        She is always welcome. I wouldn’t

  • Calypso_1

    Contrary to the lack of rumors pertaining to the existence of such societies within this site, if there were to be an allegedly secret society, some of you might be in it. Of course it would be up to you to know who you are. Quite understandably, I (we) would deny all knowledge of your knowledge of our knowledge.

    Further enquiries should be addressed to Camron Wiltshire.

    • Matt Staggs

      Normally I’d gently chide you for taking a swipe at Camron, but I think that he’d actually get a kick out of your comment.

      • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

        No comment ;)

        • Calypso_1

          happy new year

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Happy New Year :)

          • Matt Staggs

            I’d love to get you guys together for a cup of coffee and have a gentlemanly conversation. Bet it’d be super interesting.

          • Calypso_1

            That could be arranged.

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Let’s do a disinfocast documenting the encounter ;)

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            j/k but seriously I’m down. Where should we meet?

          • Calypso_1

            I don’t know about Staggs but I travel to your home town with some regularity.

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Do you ever travel around Bama or Miss?

          • Calypso_1

            Yes

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Either of the 4 states works for me. I’ve been meaning to visit Matt out in Sippi town. Where is your main place of residence?

          • Calypso_1

            Fox Holler on Sand Mtn.

          • http://twitter.com/ShayC5 ~*~

            Fox “Holler” awesome. I’m in the ‘Ham. Roll Tide. Have you found your Salvation?

  • echar

    Could the mainstream religions serve as that outer order, and the pure experience of mysticism something most people never even discover?

    Perhaps religion can be perceived as for spectating and speculating, while mysticism may require a more active role.

  • http://www.facebook.com/smendler Skip Mendler

    In MASKS OF THE ILLUMINATI, as you may recall, Robert Anton Wilson revealed the identity of the Most High Epopt as … Walter Mitty. Verbum sap.

    • Matt Staggs

      Gotta read that again.

      • Calypso_1

        I wonder what percentage of disinfonauts have read a RAW book while on a psychedelic? ; )

        • echar

          Why would they? I mean, they could attempt to.

          • Calypso_1

            I’m not sure I understand the question.

            Are you suggesting that such an endeavor is improbable?

            I personally know of at least a dozen individuals who have read the Illuminatus Trillogy whilst communing with Uncle Sid.

          • echar

            How did they sit still? For starters… let alone understand a single word. Seriously, books never entered the equation. I spent most of the time laughing my ass off.

          • Calypso_1

            I cannot equate for your own experience. As for mine own companeros, our endeavors were perhaps a bit more practiced.
            As to understanding…… : ) oh my – would like to buy a ticket?

  • http://www.facebook.com/smendler Skip Mendler

    On the other hand, Vonnegut’s concept of the “karass” – a team organized by the Creator for a certain purpose, of which the members of the karass may well be completely ignorant – might be relevant here.

    • Matt Staggs

      We seem to have a lot of books in common, Skip!

    • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

      Which novel specifically did he bring this idea forward? I’ve read Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse 5 (ages ago). I definitely resonate with this concept.

      • Matt Staggs

        “Cat’s Cradle”

        • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

          Gracias

  • http://www.facebook.com/smendler Skip Mendler

    But I think the key question is, “Who collects the dues?”

    • Matt Staggs

      Hang on, I’ve got a collection plate somewhere.

  • http://xal.li/eri Laszlo Xalieri

    All it takes to be a member of a society of like-minded individuals is to be active in reaching toward a common goal. Knowledge (or even self-knowledge) isn’t a necessary requirement — but can help in terms of communication and efficiency. And I can say it helps cut down on power squabbles and political infighting if even the members don’t realize it exists.

    • Calypso_1

      Within the context of ‘secret’ societies would the membership need be of like mind or common goal? History shows well that the dynamics of oppositional forces are conductive to outside intentions, which is the crux of much conspiratorial conceptualizing. Need to know operatives need not know who they serve or to what end.

  • BuzzCoastin

    “But ultimately the last trick has to be done by you.”
    Joseph Campbell
    The Power of Myth/Episode One: The Hero’s Adventure

    • Calypso_1

      Yes. Yes, indeed it does.

    • Matt Staggs

      I love Joseph Campbell. “Hero with a Thousand Faces” was a game-changer.

      • Calypso_1

        That’s the stuff that should be taught in sunday school.

      • BuzzCoastin

        I encounter Campbell about the same time I encountered The Course in Miracles, pretty interesting juxtaposition.

        Campbell naturally leads to Jung and Jung is an esoteric scholar of the old old school.

        But at the end of the day
        they can point just a way
        and it finally comes down to just hue.

        • Matt Staggs

          Yeah, I’ve got a lot of Jung and Campbell in my psychological biome.

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Randall shares a birthday with Campbell coincidentally.

          • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

            Or is it?!?! ;)

          • BuzzCoastin

            yeah, there was a period when I read all of Campbell which lead to Jung, Zimmer, Joyce, which then lead to even more reading, until one day… it was time to enter the magic biz myself.

      • mannyfurious

        Hero with a Thousand faces is actually one of his least interesting books, for my money. His Masks of God series is a little dense and academic, but one of the most rewarding reads in “Western” lit.

        • Matt Staggs

          I’ve got a few volumes of that in my collection.

          • mannyfurious

            Oh, well, what did you think?

          • Matt Staggs

            Haven’t gotten to read them, unfortunately. I’m wearing way too many hats these days.

          • mannyfurious

            That sucks. I hate when that happens. But I do think most of us appreciate the work you’re doing on this site.

          • Matt Staggs

            Thank you!

        • sambacomet

          Primitive Mythology ,first of the Masks of God series provides crucial foundation for understanding the development of human cultures.

  • kowalityjesus

    “But, wherever a man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.” -H.D.Thoreau

    • Calypso_1

      pawing men, dirty institutions, constraints?…I suspected not such a tawdry bent to your inclinations good sir.

      • kowalityjesus

        its an individualist manifesto, a demeaning comment towards those who wish to profit off of another’s elevations. It may be a bit unexpectedly base, but I am yet an ideological chimera holding relics from many past paradigms. Hopefully I can learn to serve one master, to avoid perdition.

        • Calypso_1

          Chimeras are, at the very least, more than welcome.

        • Ittabena

          In keeping with the theme of the post… Is there not evidence enough that this is perdition, and paradise at the same time? Gotta go to work and sell unsuspecting folks High Fructose Corn Syrup. Hey, I educate who I can.

          • kowalityjesus

            At thedrug store where I work, they are offering the equivalent of a $1 in-store coupon to buy a two liter of pepsi, but I still do not do it because the entire corn syrup mafia is a system of capitalizing on destroying top soil and commandeering subsidies. So jacked… one of the forces propelling the usa to its dooom.

          • Ittabena

            When I started there two years ago we sold about a case of Mexican Coke (real sugar, old taste) a month, now we sell about four or five cases a week, and we now carry Mexican Pepsi as well. And all this is my fault entirely, he said proudly. I have my HFCS and Aspartame speeches down pat too…

  • Andrew

    Everything’s a conspiracy and we’re all in on it.

  • NathanSpeller

    Excellent! love it, thanks.

  • Dmesh

    im sure most religions have a ‘veil’ between the masses and the elite, an inner and outer order. interesting point

  • Ittabena

    I am going to hazard a guess here Matt… Where you raised Catholic as well?

    The mind swims with your premise, but wait… What if we were all part of an even bigger and more ambiguous secret society? In this case the members would know, somewhere in the back of their minds, that they were a part, but would deny it even to themselves, and even to their own peril. Why would they deny this so stubbornly? Why, for little rectangular pieces of paper – whose value can be made to fluctuate wildly – called promissory notes! What else? The name of this secret society I cannot divulge, since I am one of the few these days that know they are a part, though I am sure you yourself suspect strongly already.

    And what if, just what if, the end of the Mayan Calendar was about our discovering this en mass. Sshh, I hear a noise outside… Gotta go, it is surely an other member. We didn’t have this talk.

  • Deicidus

    Welcome to the real Illuminati. Get to work, the world is about to implode :-).

    • Andrew

      That’s what we want you to think.

    • Matt Staggs

      We are the Illuminati we’ve been waiting for?

      • http://twitter.com/ShayC5 ~*~

        …funny you should say that… It’s been a wild year. I’m tossing around story ideas. All I’ve got is a title: The Girl Who Willed a Reckoning.

  • Deicidus

    P.S. Here are some instructions. You can decode it with your crystal implant.

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/matrix_brainwashing/alien.htm

  • kn0tzer033

    A globally circumstantial initiation began long ago, Manly, Jung,
    Crowley and many others were the gate keepers of their respective eras.
    Now a whole summoned amalgamation of esoteric seekers and mystical
    navigators has emerged from them scribing what the exoteric religions
    condemned for centuries. Bringing about a potentially evolutionary
    cyclone of analysis and application. It is not a secret anymore.
    “Evolution is natural for the wise, and inevitable for the foolish.”
    Manly P. Hall

  • lazy_friend

    If I knew about it, it would not be secret.

  • BrianApocalypse

    Ever read some conspiracy theory and identified with the conspirators?

  • Freeman

    as im tired of hearing the word, i will explain why, in hopes to garner rapport in the domain of opinions on the use of the word magic, or magic with a k, or however many other gay spellings there may be, the word itself is an extremely deceptive word and concept.
    the explanation is as follows.
    what is but what has been experienced. there is no such thing as magic,
    or magic with a k. there is only what is. the word magic seeks to
    pedestalize happenings deemed uncommon. the practitioner of reality’s
    avenues seeks to, through faith, depedastalize anything that seems
    unattainable. the use of that word by anyone has at its heart the intention to distance the perciever from the possibility of the percieved.

    • Matt Staggs

      ;-)

      • Freeman

        jussayin bro.

        • Matt Staggs

          Don’t mind me. I get your point.

  • emperorreagan

    Your mom is a secret society.

    (Infantile response of the day)

    • Matt Staggs

      I’m imagining this in Napoleon Dynamite’s voice.

      • emperorreagan

        I did go to high school 30 miles from where they filmed that, so there’s a certain affinity.

  • Anonymous

    I always knew some “higher order” has been looking out for me all my life.

  • sambacomet

    This piece seems like just a bit of backgorund- a set up w/ no punchline. Like watching a stage hand set props on stage. Where’s the action?

  • http://just-john.com just john

    I love that Shirley Jackson quote.

  • VaudeVillain

    On a humorous note, a few months ago I was informed by a (long) essay on a conspiracy theory board that I am part of the Illuminati. Not personally, mind you, but my entirely not secret semi-membership in an open group. An open group that enjoys trailrunning and drinking.

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread576509/pg1

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  • merith56

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