Anyone who spends time on Facebook and has links into the occult community knows of the recent arrest, on drug and gun charges, of a certain proponent of the Left Hand Path, known as E A Koetting. What I want to focus on, in this article, is the reaction to the arrest throughout the occult community.
Those who read my blog will know that I dislike the whole idea of “Paths”. I hate labels and I think the whole Left Hand v. Right Hand path dichotomy is horse hockey since the skilled mage understands and works with energies and non-corporeal beings who range across the spectrum of behaviors. I, and others who think like me, tend to see spirits and energies in the Voudoun manner – they are cold or hot. This helps dispel the whole gasping at evil silliness that one sees so often in modern paranormal TV.
But, I digress. Mr. Koeting is known for his marketing techniques. Specifically, he uses the image of the ‘evil’ black magician and an entirely over the top website name – Become a Living God – to draw people in and get them interested in what he has to say. In other words, he has found a hook that works for him and seems to provide him with some measure of success (at least in his definition). I have looked at some of his material on Facebook and, though he seems to couch everything in terms of summoning demons to work with you, I can say that his thoughts on, say, evocation are actually pretty well considered and obviously the result of some work. I am not saying that I am going to join his fan club but I am also not going to join the legion of haters who are constantly trying to tear this young man down.
When it was announced that Mr. Koetting had been arrested, I hoped that the occult community would respond in a mature and measured way. Honestly, other than some short news reports, there is very little information available on this incident. It was, however, my impression that, in the United States, there is a concept of law called innocent until proven guilty. One would never know this looking at responses from the magical community. I was quite frankly appalled.
Not only did magical blogs crow about the “downfall” of this “Living God” but the comments were nothing short of nausea producing. The majority response seemed to be something along the line of “see, we told you he was a fraud and his getting arrested proves it and proves that he is an evil person and that he belongs in jail and I hope the (expletive deleted) rots”.
Setting aside the legal fallacy that an arrest proves anything, I could not believe what I was reading. These people, all of them supposedly practitioners of the arts that I hold dear, seemed to be out for this man’s blood and I was reminded, uncomfortably, of the crucifixion scene in the Gospels, with the crowd shouting “crucify him!” I had to wonder why the feelings being expressed were so virulent? After all, these were people who were supposed to be magical practitioners, people who, one presumes, have had some contact with the Other and whose lives have been changed by that contact. I would even bet that, if asked, some of these self-same detractors would claim Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
Other magical practitioners have spoken out about the excoriation that Koetting has received in occult circles and they have gone so far as to wish him well. I would like to go a step further though and make a note to all those who pounced on Koetting like hyenas after a fresh carcass. Any person who claims even a passing interest in the Arts knows, or should know, that thoughts and words have a power of their own, especially thoughts and words backed by emotional energy. In effect, all the people who have been running Koetting down and crowing over his “downfall” have been ill wishing the poor man. Plainly put, they have been cursing him. Given that most of these people did not even know Koetting, except through his work, I have to ask them a single question: why in the world are you cursing someone you do not even know?
In my view, this whole incident is an epic and shameful failure on the part of the magical community. Rather than taking this incident, looking at it and saying “there, but for the grace of the gods, go I”, many members of the community have engaged in self-righteous and, indeed, hypocritical castigation of a fellow practitioner. I do not agree with Koetting’s methods or approach and I think his marketing is over the top but I also think the poor man has enough trouble right now without a whole crowd of people ill wishing him for no other reason but that they disagree with him and feel that, somehow, this arrest has vindicated their position.
There are far worse things in the world than magicians who summon “demons” to effect change in their lives and the lives of others. Petty, malicious speech, for example.