People wonder why I am so keen on the Watchers of the Dawn site – particularly when I have nothing to do with it.
Sure it are run by people who want to be tabloid hacks and are not (it is harder to write than way than you think). They sometimes go off half-cocked, or “sensationalize things” or fall into the realm of satire, but they are doing something that the occult community has needed for at least a century – they are reporting news about the occult scene. Their best items have been actually delivered straight and have been extremely hard hitting.
There is a saying in newspapers that news is something that someone does not want you to read, and Watchers of the Dawn certainly reports news that some people do not want you to know. In doing so they become an unofficial police force for the occult world.
One of the problems of esoteric societies is that they keep their dirty linen locked away with secrecy and a bogus morality which requires you to keep silent even after a group or its leader has committed some form of atrocity.
In the 1980s, I was a member of an Order which had a serious sex scandal which saw a large chunk of senior members leave in horror. What followed were allegations of magical attacks and other silliness in which their verbal and magical assaults at each other continued and off for decades. No one knows about it because no one ever talked about it publically. The protagonists were never named and shamed and the Order continued largely unreformed by the scandal.
If the same event happened today, someone would leak it to Watchers of the Dawn and the whole thing would have been public. The leaders would have had to have done something and it would have been resolved.
Some group leaders have committed extreme atrocities and people continue to join their groups unaware what they are being sucked into. The Modus operandi of a failed and insecure leader is to make a legal threat. One group leader used to warn a student that they had consulted their solicitor about something they had said in a bid to silence them and another one said that they had even consulted the police about how to handle one offish student. All this is straight lies, but because people have a fear of facing a lengthy and expensive court case, or worse, being arrested and going to jail, the bullied student will back down.
The world would never find out what was going on but the group, and the reputation of the leader was maintained.With Watchers on board, at least there is an avenue for people to go to so that others might be warned. Watchers also stops other groups from spinning their actions quiet so effectively or trying to peddle snake oil to the gullible.
It is not without its faults. These guys are not real journalists and rely a little too much on what people actually post on the Internet, rather than digging out the real story. However, they have had some results. Recently David Griffin hid the death of his Praemonstator Jorge Hevia III for months until Watcher of the Dawn reported it.
Jorge had been the legal muscle behind the Trademark wars and it was clear from the posts which followed Watcher’s Obit, Griffin felt vulnerable without his free lawyer.
Mysteriously the day after Watcher reported the news, David claimed he had a new lawyer and lots of cash from an unnamed donor from Malta so he could finally felt “legally protected” comfortable about writing the obit that Jorge deserved. If Watchers had not written, the story it is likely that Jorge’s death would have gone un-noted by the order which was shaped by his legal protection.
For all the claims that Watchers news is divisive, it did force David to do the right thing and announce the death of his number two. Whatever fears he might have had about confirming the news, it was the decent thing to do, otherwise it gives the impression that your service to an order is not at all noticed if you fail to be useful to a group, you are forgotten.
I am aware of a case of a sexual abuse case in one order which is being handled properly mostly because of a fear that the case will be leaked to the Watchers and it could blow the credibly of one chief.
That is EXACTLY the sort of unofficial police force which did not exist in the 1980s or earlier which, if it had been around, reporting a blow by blow account, it would have been impossible for some of the atrocities what were committed in the 1990s to have been glossed over in the way they were.
It is also possible for some leaders, who have foul and backward attitudes to realise that if they want to be seen as walking a spiritual path, they should not using a rival’s terminal illness as an attempt raise cash for their own pet projects. Nor will they get away with giving bogus medical advice, or expelling people from groups for not doing what they are told.
Each teacher and order has to be able to have good reasons for their actions and be confident of presenting them in a public forum and it is sites like Watchers that will help to keep them clean.
My only worry about them is that they do not seem to try to get the “other side of the story” before writing. I know they have a lawyer working in their team, but the lack of balance does not sit well with me, even if the guys say “no comment” you have to at least ask them their side.
In the meantime, it is up too occultists to work with his new force… maybe it will make the lives of students better in the long run; in the same way that a free press was so good for democracy. When the Press became less free, politicians were able to get away with murder.