Understanding the Oath of Silence

Neophytes and even those of further grades of the Order may ask why such great emphasis is placed on the oath of silence and secrecy in the awesome Oath of Obligation taken in the 0=0 initiation. There are several reasons for this.

Golden Dawn Oath of SilenceFirst, our work as a ceremonial group may be likened to the work of a chemist. The temple and all proceedings therein are like an alchemical experiment, the goal of which is the transmutation of the dross of the personality to the gold of union with the Higher Self. This is "hot house evolution" of the participants, for changes in one's vehicle are greatly accelerated far beyond the natural growth rate. Our ritual work is like the tending of a delicate flower in this "hot house", and must be treated as a process as free from outside influence as possible. As in a laboratory, the "experiment" can only succeed in a controlled, "hermetically sealed" environment. Our objective is a certain "balance" which can only be achieved by eliminating the possible influence of unbalanced forces. Just as the scientist would find no benefit in disclosing the methods of his working, so do we keep secret our ritual and symbol; and as this scientist would certainly not disclose the chemical agents involved in his work, so do we keep secret the names of our fellow aspirants.

Furthermore, this spiritual "hot house" involves a metaphorical "atom-splitting", a process which must be sealed within an atomic chamber -- the temple -- in order to protect the outer world from its potentially dangerous power. As we were instructed by the Hierophant in the 0=0 initiation, unbalanced power is evil and the ebbing away of life. Only in an environment of balance can the vast power of the Divine be safely used. Those who are ready to utilize this power for constructive purposes are few in number, although this number is rapidly growing.

It is not "elitist" to say that the mass consciousness is still at a stage of growth rendering it unready for such an experiment. We must remember the grave responsibility we have, as seekers for the Light, to be true to our highest aspirations. Just as the mass consciousness has a great deal of joy and pain yet to experience, so have we. We may walk another to the portal, but we may not take them through it, nor may we push them through it. To disclose certain occult symbols, rituals, and truths to those who are unready is to push them through the portal. It is especially tragic to expose symbols, rituals, and truths we have not yet brought to full fruition within ourselves; this would be to push another through a door we have not yet even begun to open!

Moreover, in order to unfold the inner sensorium, we must first thoroughly KNOW the material entrusted to us. Secondly, we must WILL to take our evolution in hand, and to take responsibility for our every action or inaction. We must also DARE to approach the hidden mysteries with an attitude of true humility (not the milk-toast mush often mistaken for humility), like a child who desires nothing but the nourishment and touch of its Father and Mother. Finally, we must BE SILENT, for how can we hear the "Voice of the Silence" -- the Voice of the Central Self -- if we cannot LISTEN? How can we LISTEN when we are speaking? But when we hear the Voice of the Inner Teacher, we will know exactly what to think, say, and do, all of which are forms of speech. To KNOW, to WILL, to DARE, and to BE SILENT.

Finally, we must cultivate a better understanding of the power of thought, speech, and action, for these are all crucial for effective ceremonial work. We are told to visualize certain symbols, colors, etcetera. We are also told to vibrate certain "words of power", and to perform specific physical movements. All of these embed special "seeds" in the fertile ground of our subconscious mind, seeds which have been formulated ages ago by those Adepts who have gone before us on the Path of Return. These seeds unfold, with careful tending, into a "tree" which will bear the fruit of true union with the "Inmost and Most High" part of ourselves.

For a more in-depth analysis of the power of thought, speech, and action, consider the Hebrew word "Ruach", meaning "Life-breath", and spelt RVCh (Resh, Vav, Cheth). Below are the attributions of its composite letters:


Tarot Key and Keyword:.................Key 19, The Sun-REGENERATION
Planetary & Zodiacal Attribution:.....Sun
On the Body:...............................The head


Meaning:....................................Hook or Nail, also used as "and"
Tarot Key & Keyword:...................Key 5, The Hierophant-THE INNER VOICE
Planetary & Zodiacal Attribution:.....Taurus, ruled by Venus
On the Body:..............................The ears, tongue, jaw and throat


Meaning:....................................Fence or Enclosure
Tarot Key & Keyword:...................Key 7, The Chariot-RECEPTIVITY
Planetary & Zodiacal Attribution:.....Cancer, ruled by the Moon
On the Body:..............................The breast, chest, and stomach

The word RVCh not only shows us the descent of the Divine Power into manifestation, but reveals a wealth of information on the role of our thoughts, words, and deeds in the process of manifestation. The letter Resh reveals the initial point of entry for the Divine Power:the head. Certain cells in the brain receive light, the carrier of the "Divine Idea" originating with what we call the Sun. Occultists may think of the physical Sun as the symbolic head of a spiritual being which guides the evolution of life in our solar system, often referred to as the Higher Self. It is in the head that the Life-breath is first received and translated into THOUGHT.

As revealed by the letter Vav, these thought vibrations are translated into the instruction of the Inner Teacher which we may come to actually hear, feel, or see once we have cultivated the ability to listen. This instruction manifests as the "names and images" by which the Hierophant states "all powers are awakened and re-awakened." This is where the oath of silence becomes an important virtue. The zodiacal sign of Taurus is attributed to Vav, and Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus. The Venus center (or "chakra") of our spiritual anatomy is the throat, governing SPEECH. Vav is used in the Hebrew language as the conjunction "and", which ties well with its other meanings "Hook or Nail" as the "link" between the "above" and the "below". It is here that the "Divine Idea" may be either dispersed by uncontrolled speech, or brought into the manifestation by allowing it to flow -- by SILENCE or controlled speech -- into the aspect of consciousness represented by the final letter, Cheth.

Cheth is related to the stomach and the protective "fence" of the chest. Within the chest enclosure are organs which maintain and preserve life, allowing for ACTION to take place. ACTION manifests the original THOUGHT into material existence. The relation of Cheth to the zodiacal sign of Cancer also reveals another important truth. Cancer is ruled by the Moon. The Keyword for Cheth, RECEPTIVITY, is easily related to the image of the Moon, since the Moon receives and reflects the light of the Sun. In terms of our consciousness, the Moon corresponds to our subconscious mind, ever receptive to the suggestions implanted into it. It is in subconsciousness that the seed unfolds into final manifestation.

The virtue of SILENCE and controlled speech plays an important role in this process, as it is a key aspect of the link between THOUGHT and ACTION, or Resh "and" (Vav) Cheth: RVCh, or Ruach. Recall the words of the Hierophant in the 0=0 initiation: "...by names and images are all powers awakened and re-awakened." The letter Vav reflects this truth, but only through oath of silence or controlled speech are these awakened "inner" powers brought into "outer" existence.

Recall also the words of the Kerux: "Nature is harmonious in all her workings, and that which is above, is also that which is below. Thus also, the truths which by material science we investigate are but special examples of the all pervading law of the Universe. So with this pure limpid fluid, is hidden the elements bearing the semblance of blood, even as within the mind and brain of the initiate lies concealed the Divine secrets of Hidden Knowledge. Yet if the oath be forgotten and the solemn pledge be broken, then that which is secret shall be revealed, even as this pure fluid reveals the semblance of blood... And let the hue of blood remind thee, that if thou fail in the oath of secrecy and dedication, thy blood may be poured out and thy body be broken..."

The consequences of breaking the oath of silence apply not only to the initiate, but to the entire working body of our Order. Let us not forget this oath of silence and spill the life-blood of our Order, but keep silent and controlled so that the power flowing through our collective vehicle may manifest as healing and harmony in a world so needing its influence.

Despite the fact that many details of our Work have been published, they are still "secrets" as far as our growth is concerned -- as individuals and as a working body. We all agree that we do not attain the enlightenment we seek through books, or online correspondence courses granted in a diploma-like fashion, but through steady and persistent action. Effective action requires the use of our whole being, and a good deal of energy we commonly disperse in speech. By continuing to honor the Oath of Secrecy we have taken, we are preparing ourselves for this enlightenment in many ways, and proving ourselves ready to receive an influx of limitless Divine power - "that which naught but silence can express."

In L.V.X. and 770,

A Fellow Seeker of the Light

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