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Author Topic: Secrecy  (Read 2497 times)
Last Login:July 05, 2011, 07:38:17 am
Canada Canada

Religion: Dianic Pagan
Posts: 229

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« Reply #6: October 15, 2010, 08:20:56 am »

Well I was reading an article in the Pagan Primer here about Witches and how they dont like to keep secrets and I was cur4ious about something.

Does this apply to a Witch's Book of Shadows as well? I always thought BoS's were private to a Witch and that they shouldn't have to show them to other Witches if they so chose not to.

Am I correct or incorrect in my thinking? Please give me some advice! Tongue

Well, I only skimmed the article but three quick comments.

First a mystery religion is both experiential (obviously) AND preparatory. One is prepared through cumulative layers of training to be able to experience 'that' mystery. There is utterly no point (and often a degree of harm) in sharing that training out of context to those who are not being prepared. Also, anyone who has experienced the mystery at the core of a faith knows that one cannot articulate one's experience afterwards. Aside from sharing with others so not being the point of that experience, one simply can't come even close to wrapping words around this. One subsequent actions will speak to the experience, words never will.

Second, Pagan Witchcraft began in the 20th century after the witchcraft laws (in the West) were repealed. So trotting out the witch-hunt rationale for slience in order to throw it out as no longer grounds for keeping silence just tells me the author is mired into mythological history and hasn't done their homework.

And third, To Keep Silent is not about Witches being elitest or shutting out of the 'witch-club' those who are not in on the same 'secrets'.  It is about being responsible about how, when and why you share what you know. Think of knowledge, skills, experience as tools. Are you going to hand a band-saw to a child to use? Are you going to post instructions on how to use that band-saw online so any child capable of using a computer can read them? I could also add that information shared out of a meaningful context (like one paragraph of those instructions) isn't going to do anyone much good other than misguide that child's ego into thinking that they know 'know' how to use a band-saw. If you are the Witch who has learned or experienced how to use that metaphorical band-saw, you have a responsiblity to decide how, when or even if you share that knowledge.

Traditionally (as of since the 20th century) the BOS of a coven is hand-copied by new students and no one outside of that coven or tradition will see any copy of that coven's BOS. Even the primer texts published by the Farrars, Gardner, Valiente etc circa the 60's did not replicate the BOS of those Traditions due to oathbound materials. As Pagan Witchcraft consists of more self-trained and solitary practitioners than covens, personal BOS became the norm of all Pagan Witches regardless of Tradition. The diversity of which (both traditions and types of BOS) is immense. Any Witch who has practiced for a while will have multiple BOS for different reasons. If it isn't a coven BOS, then there is no tradition that says you have to share it with other Witches. Not on demand, not an obiligation. Anyone who makes that claim has an agenda or is a blind participant in the information age's mantra to share-share-share and who cares about the consequences.

The 'tradition' cobbled together from folklore, the lore of grimoires and the mythos of the witch-hunts is that one's BOS is destroyed unread when one dies and not shared while one lives. Common sense however should have some elbow room here. If your BOS is really personal (lilfe-transformational stuff), treat it as you would anything else in your life like that. If it is just filled with generic stuff that you copied from various accessible sources, you may see no reason not to share. If it has magical componments, there may be more cause for concern about something being taken out of context.


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