As with all concepts of the Craft and magickal workings, it remains important to not only understand the concepts themselves, but to also understand the history of those concepts as they have been preserved and presented to us. This study needs to include original and older manuscripts as well as newer writings and interpretations.
Unfortunately, I often see references to “facts” as perpetuated from essays that were based on other essays concerning the interpretations and opinions of older manuscripts. While this is expedient time wise, it also perpetuates two concerns with our studies. (1) First, we also lose a great deal of new thought and reclamation of older concepts by relying on “opinions of opinions”. (2) Secondly, we miss out on original interpretations and possible reclamation of older concepts when we do not attempt to look at older manuscripts or archeological evidence with an unbiased eye not colored by or older Christian concepts and perceptions.
I don’t need to go much into the “opinions of opinions” because we are all familiar with how stories and tales are changed by the teller and then relayed by another in a different manner. Oftentimes, the end result is a tale containing very little of the original story.
As to the second, we must remember that “JUST BECAUSE IT IS IN WRITING OR TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE IT A TRUTH OR FACT.” There were “facts” that were contained in textbooks when I was younger that are no longer held as factual. Just look at the change in the presentation of the Native American history. It is no longer considered a “fact” that Native Americans were “lesser” than other races in the history of the Americas or that Europeans somehow “saved” America from the “uneducated and naturally hostile’ Native Americans.
It is critically important to remember that this is what was taught as FACT in school. It was not a fact, however, but rather a generally accepted OPINION generated from other opinions passed down in discussion and in text form.
We need to apply the critical eye to teachings in the Craft as well. We need to ask ourselves why this person or that person had that opinion. What influenced them in making those decisions and do we adhere to those same influences.
The opinions issued in archeological evaluation is another good example of “opinions of opinions”. At one time, it was considered a FACT that larger dinosaurs drug their tails on the ground. In presenting, bone fossils for exhibit, sometimes they altered what appeared to be natural alignments of spinal structures to “force” it to conform with the FACT that dinosaurs drug their tails on the grounds and could not hold them in the air.
When this was finally addressed and corrected, this was no longer considered a FACT. A new FACT emerged. So, we learned that just because something is presented as a FACT does not make it a TRUTH.
The studies of the Craft are the studies of the ability to THINK and to empower all our facilities of reasoning – including mentally, physically, and spiritually. When we release our habit of automatic acceptance and non-questioning of presented FACTS, then we have avoided another pitfall along the Path and free ourselves from self-imposed ignorance.
Look at things with a fresh eye. Trust in your own ability to draw possible conclusions of evidence and explore your ability to expand your mind, understanding, and knowledge.
IF IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, THEN IT PROBABLY DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Don’t automatically assume that it means you are always wrong in your understanding. It might also mean that there is a fundamental flaw in the presentation of an opinion-colored fact.
If I could only impart one Craft lesson to others, out of them all, I would choose this one.
Brightest of Blessings