Greetings Fellow Seekers!
I was originally going to post this to Facebook. But as I wrote I realized I had a few things to say that deserved something more than a micro-blog post. So, I’ll start this discussion here instead:
First and foremost, I refuse to join in with those taking joy in the man’s legal and personal issues. I see no moral issues with him – or his roommate – possessing drugs or a gun. Both are “victimless crimes” – which means they are not real crimes at all. Not to mention the fact that we don’t know who actually owned said drugs or gun, nor who was “restricted” from owning a gun. So none of this, in and of itself, constitutes any real moral failing on Koetting’s part. It’s not like they found a meth lab in his apartment!
Also, we shouldn’t be making fun of him simply for having a day job. Most occultists have them, myself included. You don’t know how often I leave my Temple, or a lecture or class or workshop – places where I am respected as an adept and a teacher – only to afterward go to my muggle job and be treated like an idiot by people who can’t figure out what “L” and “R” mean on the bottom of their shoes. SIGH – keeps me humble. (In time I hope to be able to make a living strictly from my books, lectures, classes, consultations and festivals – but that’s taking time, since I insist on doing it honestly.)
Yet, on the other hand, I can also see why some of you are glad to see Koetting taken down a peg or three. I’m not willing to shake my finger at you and say “for shame!“, because in many ways Koetting has indeed brought this upon himself.
His advertising methods are atrocious. His magickal system appears entirely self-created, without his first having learned and mastered an existing system. And the “dark and scary” persona he has chosen to sell his product is downright embarrassing to the rest of the occult community. In every way, he puts on the outward appearance of being into this strictly for the money. Not to mention the dismissive, and sometimes outright nasty, things he says about systems other than his own. The first time I ever encountered Koetting’s work was a page (a hard-sell ad, really) telling me that my beloved grimoires are all crap that don’t work, and that only HE (for a price) could tell me how to make them work. The second time I encountered him was through an ad he wrote on “raping archangels.” Not only is it offensive, but it’s just hard to take him seriously after seeing that kind of thing.
However, I don’t think any of that is his real problem in the current situation. I think what has done him the most damage are his claims of access to limitless personal power. Occultists are human too, and even the most advanced adept is still required to chop wood and carry water. (See my above comments about having day jobs.) Becoming a magician quite simply does not make you a “living God.” King Solomon himself could have stood on the beach and commanded the tide to retreat in all the names of God and the Archangels, and all he would have gotten for his efforts was wet feet. Given this, why the HELL would you set yourself up in this way by claiming to have power you can’t possibly possess? There is simply no way that choice can have a good outcome – so why choose it?
Yet, look at how many would be “occultists” out there do just that… I’ve seen claims to incredible lineages with no proof whatsoever. I’ve seen people claim to run global occult orders, though you never actually see any evidence such an organization exists outside of the websites run by the person making the claim. And every word out of their mouths is about how much power they possess and how they – and only they – can teach it to you. At least if you have the cash.
Real occultists don’t act like that. We don’t make claims to unlimited power, and we sure as hell aren’t going to promise to teach you methods that will make all of your problems vanish. (See my posts here and here for more on that.) Koetting claimed to be able to make court cases vanish – and now he’s screwed if he can’t make this one vanish. He claims to be a Living God, but was just hauled away in handcuffs to a jail cell. He claims to have unlimited power through the dark forces he invokes, but he couldn’t make himself invisible to a traffic cop.
I think this is why Koetting is suffering the backlash now. Does it mean that occultists are just douchebags who like to rejoice in the fall of another occultist? Well, that certainly hasn’t been my experience…
Not long ago, I’m sure you remember, it was revealed to the world that I was about to go blind. An adept of the HOGD, a recognized authority on the Solomonic grimoires, and I lacked the power to either heal my own eyes or conjure the money for surgery. And how did the exact same occult community react to that news? They came together and saw to it I got my surgery, because some of them cared about me personally and all of them wanted me to keep writing books. (Who says magick wasn’t involved?) 🙂
So what was the difference? Why gather around and support me through my troubles, but ostracize Koetting? Yes, I know he was arrested and I wasn’t – so there is that. But, I think it is really because I don’t make ridiculous claims about power – dark or otherwise. I don’t make arrogant claims about what my magick can do. I don’t insult the traditions of others (well.. maybe Scientology). My website, blog and FB profile aren’t used for hard-sell infomercial-style ads. I don’t speak in advertising slogans. Oh, and the fact that I publish solid material about magickal systems I didn’t make up myself might be part of it too…
The bottom line is this: if you are an occultist and would like to make a living from it, some of the most important secrets are as follows:
1) Be the real thing. Faking it may be good enough to make some money for a while, but you will always be sniffed out and exposed. Or you’ll slip up and expose yourself. Becoming a REAL magician does take time and effort, but it’s the only way you’re going to make it in this field.
2) Go for quality over quantity. Don Kraig had more success with a single book than any occult author who has produced an entire library of hardly-useful texts. If you’re going to publish a book or give a class or workshop, make it a game-changer. If people leave feeling like they didn’t learn anything new and exciting, then you’re not going to get far.
3) Do NOT draw your methods from televangelists, Scientology, or direct-marketing advertising. Do not use slogans. Do not guarantee results. Your webpage or blog should look like a resource for students and researchers; it should not look like an ad.
There is nothing wrong with putting your work out there, even advertising for your books, services or other items you may sell. As I said above, even I am hoping to someday make a living from my work. But those things must be secondary, and not the main thrust of your persona. Your dedication to your spiritual path and your service to the community are what will make you famous.
Of course I know all of this will fall on deaf ears. Those of you who agree with me already would never take the path of a huckster upon your spiritual journey. And those of you who would do that simply don’t give a damn, because you’re just in it to harvest money from rubes and you have no interest in whether or not you are respected or if history remembers you as a “real occultist.”
But, who knows? Surely there are those out there who are sincere and want to forge ahead in this life-path, but aren’t sure how to go about it properly. Maybe, just maybe, one of them will read this blog and learn that there really is a right way and a wrong way to go about this…