I have noticed a lot of people in certain magical practices seem to say that they know the “right way” of things and anyone else who even says otherwise has no idea what they are talking about. One of the reasons I like this community is because it’s not very judgmental on what others ask, need or do. Very few people have assumed off the bat you did something wrong or so on if you need help with a particular situation.
That being said, as I read in and about occult topics, in both RHP and LHP circles, there are a few people who adhere to this kind of unspoken dogma that is assumed to be the mindset of other people. I have nothing against agreeing to something that could be seen as dogmatic (as I still believe LaVey’s rather idealistic Laws and Statements are good guidelines for a personal ethic code, nearly a year and a half after I first picked up the Satanic Bible), but I also believe that dogma should be at the very least limited to reasonable and rational uses, if not exterminated.
The problem with us vs. them dogma specifically is that it fails to provide the option to acknowledge open interpretation of mysteries. This is important for most people to acknowledge because a lot of people talk about similar concepts (like the Earth Mother) using different names (the Goddess, the World Serpent, the Turtle with The World on Her Back, the Dragon, Gaia, etc). One particular quote I like goes “eclecticism is a major weapon of the occultist” (N.A:O, Tree of Qliphoth [Temple of Ascending Flame anthology], Itzpapalotl, pg. 147). While I believe it is important to study the context of each cultural entity, it is wrong to say a correlation between two entities does not equate to an interesting theory or realization outside of the cultural contexts. To reject the claim, although acceptable if there is evidence, is also foolish without ground. (Such as the common claims of Satan-Lucifer-Devil as entitie(s) of themselves or as one, which is by itself a ballpark too large a scope of this rambling in one post).
Occultists are individuals, and as people who realize this fully we usually stray away from those who stand in opposition of our views. But we should also, as they say, “know the system to break the system”, and there are many ways to understand the system, especially in contexts of philosophies like Chaos theory, which holds theories that always work in theory but need to be applied by each individual in their own “spin”. But instead of “us verses them”, we should think as “myself against myself”. Magic(k) puts the individual to the test by challenging thier reality, sometimes even altering it, in order to create something different, if not better. The only people that needs to be challenged that are not yourself are the people stopping you from becoming yourself and actually believe in the “us verses them” mentalities. At the end of the day, wars of destruction are for the losing sides, wars of knowledge are for the gods. Arguing about how a theory can affect mentality and worldview is always going to reveal more insight and productivity - therefore, fulfillment and joy in standing by yourself and learning - than arguing about who Satan is or whether a ultimate power above many gods exists.
I think many people who have been in the occult for more than 4 months are well aware of these kinds of arguments, dogma and philosophies, so this post could be repetitive, but it’s easy to see that disagreements don’t necessarily result in braking apart a circle as much as ridicule does constantly. People don’t like being told they are wrong when they feel or know something is right. The only time a person is wrong is when they are fighting a losing battle against thier ideals, or violate themselves unnecessarily. In this way I believe many circles can benefit from studying what they don’t agree with when the need arises.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I believe that hearing out the word of other mages would be enlightening to myself and others.