There are few things in this world that I hate. But I really hate golf. The only redeeming feature of golf is the club house and even then their drinks are too expensive.
I’ll just wait for you in the carpark. Don’t worry, I brought my own wine. (Always bring your own wine.)
Let’s take a step back and look at golf. Let’s make a few demographic observations. (Disclaimer: I’m cheating because I am professionally familiar with golf magazines. I already know the demographic. It’s AB1 M40+.)
Golf is a moderately expensive pastime undertaken mostly by middle class, white, heterosexual men that typically requires entry into one of their various clubs before you even get to play and principally involves keeping little notes about how well you’re performing against what you “could” be achieving. There is a huge amount of dull, solo practice. Sometimes there are prizes if your little notes reflect comparative success.
Remind you of anything?
Lodges are the talk of our internetz again and I’m not going to weigh in for two key reasons: I positively define interested outsider in this case. Also because RO is making better observations than I could (as well as generally making himself useful if a fight has broken out in your particular club house).
Now I like the GD. How could I not? I live walking distance from the first Isis Urania Lodge and I bore people with that info whenever we walk past where it was. I like picturing Crowley, dressed in his “time travelling drag queen” finest, getting out of the cab and ranting about authority when Yeats comes to the front door.
I know the precise spot in the British Museum where Sammy first clapped eyes on Moina. And some of Regardie’s (original) works are part of my own personal ‘classics’ range of modern magic.
So I’m a fan. But I’m a fan of the current. Nick makes some excellent points about whether the Lodge system is even useful anymore. And we’re going to expand on that. We’re going to widen it out to education in general because -even in the muggle world- education hasn’t kept pace with societal development.
It would be too easy just to say the Lodge system is golf magic and everyone should stop the madness and play nice… even though I sincerely hope they do because we’ll all miss their input if this gets proper ugly.
It would be too easy because, for a good few centuries, Lodges were an extremely effective educational technology. Both Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism appeared immediately after the Inquisition put the smack down on the Renaissance by burning my personal hero (and star of this blog header). Argue amongst yourselves whether Bruno and Campanella ever met, whether Dee started Rosicrucianism on his travels/official spying trips, whether those German alchemists had read Civitas Solis, it doesn’t really matter. It was a ‘soupy’ couple of decades.
Whatever happened, lodges appeared because it was an effective way of carrying on the Work during the social disruption of the Thirty Years War. No paper trails, no real names and no monarchs having to admit they were Hermeticists (even though several of them undoubtedly were).
In a stratified society, the tiny fraction of the elite who could actually read were used to the idea of assuming your “betters” knew more than you and information fed down from the top.
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice but that’s not exactly what the modern day looks like. (Which is why, if it even needs clarification, I don’t think lodge members and golf magazine readers are the same thing. It’s just an example.)
In the modern day we haven’t yet found the best system to educate our own kids so they’re set up for work, let alone go messing about with each others souls.
Let me know what you think of this:
Even if this doesn’t define your own educational habits have you given any consideration to whether you want your magical tradition to die with you? Because this is how new initiates will find it. Statistically, you probably owe a big part of your spiritual identity to what you found online. Do you see “actually, we’re the real lodge” anywhere on this infographic?
Gone are the days when spoiled Englishmen could hang around the salons of fin de siècle Paris, swap prostitutes and just pick up on whatever the cool kids were doing.
Now don’t mistake this rant as being in any way anti-initiation… Far from it. This rant is about a technology, not the product it once used to make. You don’t need a lodge for an initiation. The Cathars managed just fine for centuries on a one-to-one, Jedi-style basis.
As RO pointed out, some lodges have demonstrated a disturbing tendency to repeatedly fail as technologies of transmission over the last century. Maybe because they’re not built for today? Maybe it’s like trying to use an abacus on the trading floor of the NYSE?
Maybe the lodge system has come to the end of its usefulness? Maybe it’s best to simply come together for company, mutual advice and support, while carrying on the Work together? Selfishly that’s certainly what I’d like to see from a current that I genuinely respect and admire. Because I will miss your input if this gets all flamey and ugly.
Maybe the time has come to permanently adjourn to the club house for a few mojitos and let nature reclaim the links?
First round’s on me.