like I spent a substantial amount of my college career studying occultists, secret societies, new religious movements, conspiracy theories, etc. I have read books by occultists. I have attended theosophist meetings. I’ve gone to Masonic temples/lodges. I have basically studied the concept of arcane knowledge and its transmission, and that was largely the path I was on before I switched my focus.
AND I’M HERE TO TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THAT MOST OF THOSE PEOPLE WERE SHITHEADS. STRAIGHT UP DOUCHEBAGS. secret societies is literally just another way of saying secret clubs, and they were populated by pretentious, racist, exoticizing assholes who behaved like the cast of Mean Girls but with “black magic”. People put them up on this pedestal but they were just garden variety assholes who made shit up because it made them feel smart. How do you even think they figured out all that ~Egyptian magic~ before the goddamn Rosetta Stone was translated? They made it the fuck up! (see: tarot)
I switched out of Egyptology because I felt like all the tomb desecration was disrespectful towards a religion (and its people) that I claimed to care about, and I felt like I was aiding in an immoral imperialist narrative. Part of the reason I stopped taking classes on people who claimed to possess arcane knowledge was because I hated like everyone involved. I’d laugh so I wouldn’t cry.
like I still study theories and usage of magic in assorted cultures but like jfc, preserve me from the people who claim to understand it better than ~anyone else~.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while studying religions, it’s that someone’s always got a hard on for having mystical arcane knowledge that they received from some old text they found buried in the ground, or received directly from a deity, or figured out all on their own, and they’ll probably get in a dick fight about it if you leave it alone long enough. christ.