Ok, so the reason I wrote that article the other day was because I read a blog that I won't link to because the pinhead doesn't deserve the traffic. This idiot blogger basically said that anyone who researches anything occult on the internet or in any publicly available work is a delusional idiot if they think they can attain K&CHGA. For support he bashes Crowley, claiming to know more about Crowley and his spiritual state than Crowley did himself.
He claimed to have access to manuscripts that are a few hundred years old. He claimed that they were from the real A:.A:., which is allegedly a Memphis Misraim Rite. He said they only start teaching real mysteries after the 50th degree. He said available manuscripts don't have the keys to make them useful. And then he bags anyone, whether it's rootworkers, Hermeticists, or pagans who's going out on their own to study, experiment, and implement the occult traditions without going through the Masons and getting inducted into the A.: A.:. He closes claiming to know that the Abramelin rite was really based on secret papers that he implies he's seen.
It was only later, after posting my post and reading some comments by Morgan Drake Eckstein that I realized I'd just taken out the whole Golden Dawn-Thelemic/OTO tradition as well. Which wasn't my point at all. I don't mind taking out the Bozo Brigade led by delusional clowns who treat their tradition like a science fiction TV show or a cartoon, those buffoons suck donkey balls and they make a mockery of magic. Magic is serious business.
But there are a lot of GD folks who see the system as a valid and valued compilation of Hermetic, Alchemical, and Kabbalistic principles that can lead to understanding and advancement on the path of the Great Work. They ignore the obviously fake bullshit of the creation myth, and look at the material that was put together logically and cohesively to see how to make it work. They are mechanics, tinkerers who inherited a project car that needs a lot of love, but could run faster than greased lightning when it's finished if they ever get the time and funds necessary to finish restoring it.
Mr. Eckstein is one of these, as are Sam Webster of the Open Source Order of the GD, and Nick Farrell. Frater AIT and Frater VL belong to a branch of the GD that's infected by ludicrous leadership, in my opinion, but they are diligent workers who I respect a great deal. A well known author of instruction on traditional grimoire magic is one of the main leaders of another GD Order, and I have nothing but respect for him. The Soror who blogs as PhoenixAngel also has my respect for her efforts to attain spiritual insight and ability through the GD. Jason Miller is either an active or former member of several GD-based or Thelemic Orders with creation myths that run the gammut of believability, and you all know how much I respect his knowledge, understanding, and insight into the way the universe works.
These folks, and the thousands like them, are not the people I'm taking out. They all have a healthy skepticism in their approach to the systems they are working on. They're looking for useful truth in systems of attainment, and I support and encourage that in everyone's path.
And I'm not saying there's nothing to be found in Orders with hokey origins. I'm a Hermeticist, for Christ's sake (literally!). I get a lot out of the Corpus Hermeticum, and it's almost certainly 100% total bullshit in its origin myths. I don't take them literally, I take them as explanatory models. As an explanatory model, the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn make sense. The myths present a metaphorical spiritual truth. Whether Mathers met or did not meet physical people who were or pretended to be the Secret Chiefs doesn't matter, there's something that began as an Idea in the Mind of God that manifested as the Golden Dawn, on purpose, to accomplish specific pieces of God's plan on Earth, regardless of my opinion on the details.
But the main point I'd like to make on all this is that regardless of the origin, or the paperwork, or the living-dead-revived-zombified status of a tradition, anyone can perform the Great Work and succeed, no matter what anyone says about it. God calls us to the Work, in my interpretation and preferred expression of the process of becoming a magician. He reveals what we need to know when we need to know it. He makes a way for us to reach him and to become what we are meant to be. He does so through whatever spiritual tech or belief system is available, and when you get past all the words and symbols, we all learn to do the same kinds of things in our esoteric pursuits, whether it's in a shamanic tribe, ATR diaspora, Lodge Hermeticism, Debutante Dilettante, or rogue Hermeticist with an internet connection and a few pages of spirit names and little common sense.
People are free to study, experiment, explore, record, and pass on their results to everyone else. There's no limit to what you can or cannot learn on your own or in a tradition that goes back a few thousand years. If you want to learn how to do magic, there's nothing that can stop you. Having secret papers may help you in your path if that's what you're called to, but secret papers don't give you the corner on the market, or invalidate anyone else's path.