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Various: Sex and Abuse of Power in Occult Society

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.occult,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.sexuality,,alt.magick.tantra,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Various: Sex and Abuse of Power in Occult Society
Date: 7 Jan 1998 21:18:04 -0800

[from Vere Chappell ]

93 All,

On Sun, 28 Sep 1997, Tim Maroney wrote:

> This is a kind of abuse I haven't seen discussed much with respect to 
> Thelema or witchcraft, which has similar issues. People immediately 
> recognize this kind of thing as a problem in a system with a tradition of 
> celibacy like Christianity or Buddhism, but when it comes to system that 
> has a pro-sexual agenda near the core of its system the issues become 
> more complex. First, a lot of the people probably have had sex with each 
> other so any given case where it seems someone may have traded sex for 
> advancement is less suspect because the background noise is so high. 
> Still, if you look at all the people of one gender* in positions of power 
> and every one of them has been involved with the leader, then you might 
> start to wonder if there were a problem.
> Of course, when you have the leader going around actively propositioning 
> many of the members of the group then you have a classic sexual 
> harassment situation, and someone needs to have a long talk with the 
> leader. This is true even though proposition need carry in a sex-positive 
> group none of the stigma it does in Christian society. It is necessary 
> for people in leadership positions to avoid even the appearance of abuse 
> of that position in sexually predatory ways. There is an implicit threat 
> of retribution in a proposition from a person in power and while I would 
> not say it is never appropriate, I would expect such a non-abusive case 
> to be a personal matter and to pass through careful stages of mutual 
> negotiation.
> The final complication I will note is the attractiveness of power. I feel 
> that if someone is genuinely attracted to someone else for whatever 
> reason then that is a good thing, but a situation with power-over could 
> foster the unconscious corruption of a set of natural attractions into a 
> situation of the type previously mentioned, in which there was an 
> assumption that the leadership would have access to the membership.

Tim, I applaud you for recognizing this problem.

I have witnessed this kind of abuse of power first-hand in a Thelemic(?)
temple and seen it blow up to destructive proportions effectively
amounting to schism.  One of the defenses used by the leader of the group
was that he was acting Thelemically by following his sexual impulses, and
the rest of us who didn't like what he did were making Old Aeon
judgements.  This seems to be a convenient excuse, but I don't think it 
justifies using the group's power structure to take advantage of its members.

In this instance, my expectations about the integrity of the leader (based
on values supposedly held by the organization, and representations made by
the leader himself) were violated.  But alas, he held on to his power and 
no one in the group was able to effectively challenge him, so I left.

I suspect that this kind of thing is common in occult groups, especially 
those whose power is concentrated in a single charismatic leader.  To 
anyone seeking to join such a group, I would suggest asking to see the 
group's written sexual harrassment policy, and finding out how it is

93, 93/93
Vere Chappell
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