My solitary work is actually very personal, and applying this logic to that path of thought makes a great deal of sense to me...however, applying this logic to a group of practitioners is where all the confusion and hurt feelings come in. I understand both sides, and while I would agree with much of what you have said, there is little comfort for those who would wish to become a part of these oath-bound mysteries in what you have stated here. My personal path is very specific to my beliefs, and assuming I could get others to believe in those things which I have spent countless hours practicing and mulling-over, I would never do that, because I hold these things sacred to me. I can think of no reason why I would start a tradition with the beliefs and experiences I have (and take my word on their being enough crazy things going on in my head to start a tradition), because basically, the person I am and have grown to be with these ideas would feel it inappropriate to do so. I am not now, nor was I ever meant to be a teacher in a direct voluntary way, and though I may go against that grain at times, I feel the solitary path is true to me. That being said, what does that say about a person who creates an entire religion for people to share, or rather selectively release sacred knowledge to others? I don't know that the point I just made isn't moot honestly, I think that Gerald Gardner was a bit (or a lot) of a crazy myself, but I think what I'm getting at is more the foundation of the idea.
Discussion with a great many people, has lead me to believe that Wicca, no matter the foundation of the practice, has spawned an entire tree of religious beliefs for better or worse, and that when considering some of the "best" of these, one must leave behind the old sentiments that founded them. That being said, things like homosexuality in the craft, an escape from sexual objectification into true symbolism, and free wisdom and learning with the right attitude are ideas that are being shared and widely accepted in our community where as they may not have been so widely so in the past. I think the fact of the matter is, that whether we like it or not things will change as I hope many understand, and that change isn't a bad thing but something that should be embraced and allowed to grow. That doesn't mean you all have to go spouting your oath-bound information left and right, but rather that sharing it isn't as strict a matter as you have felt it in the past. This is of course only a something I am applying to group sentiment btw, not to personal work as that truly is sacred to only you many times no matter how similar those experiences often are.
I know I will probably get some flack for that bit up there, but honestly I don't mind, I will say that I don't believe in the truth of oath-bound information. Something created and experienced by humans is not exclusive to one human when it deals with things so universal. We may choose different words to evoke and invoke, may choose a different sequence of events to unlock the knowledge hidden all around us, but we will all learn the same truths, because real truths never change, they are absolute. Those mysteries, mirrored in ourselves, mirrored in the universe, mirrored in the divine, they are a part of all of us, we have only to seek them to see that they are not hidden by any one group, but a part of the weave that makes all things.
If I haven't said it enough, the things mentioned above are about groups, not personal work, I fully agree that having your own personal work is very important, its one of the great things about many of our individual practices. The above however is about groups, oath-bound groups more specifically...yeah groups...you get me?
P.S.- While I will say that there are certain things where you may feel the need of another person is undeniable, I would first ask you to consider what the logic behind that statement is? When all divine lives within us, when it is part of the mundane and the magical, when it transcends the dimensions of space and that which inhabits it, how can we truly feel that there is only one way to reach it? It is as if simply because one sees the end of the journey and chooses to find a way there, that the way they took was the only way they could have taken because there is no other way, when in reality not only is the way a person chooses to get there entirely up to them, but also that when they get to the destination they may have learned a great many different things in the end, though I would agree the end result will always be the same if it is real truth. In laymen's terms, you can achieve the same result with a different method, but it will take a great deal of work and personal discovery to do so...as long as you know that, you have a chance without that oath-bound material, be adventurous, be brave, you will get there!
I"m not going to disagree, because I have not stated that there aren't experiences that you can have in a group that are profound and unique, but rather that perhaps you shouldn't weigh so heavily upon these things that it is important enough that you must keep a secret to "protect" these things. And I say that about group experiences, simply because those truths that we find within ourselves, whether shared or not, may be of no consequence to another person, as they are our own truths for a reason.
With the statement about "no comfort", I am really elluding to the fact that it doesn't help one's case in these subjects, when not only is their information not shared, but also that trying to be a part of that sharing, may mean one must uproot their lives to another city and state to do so. This makes the idea far more "shadowy" and "mysterious" when there are only so many of these groups to learn from. Making one's self poor, in order to seek spiritual enlightenment is best left for the the yogis in this economy...
What I was trying to get at with my last bit in there, was really, that: yes you can have these amazing experiences with groups that are altogether profound, but that these things are also possible within ourselves...no group needed. I can't agree that the experience is any more unique than any other experience (as I find that true (doesn't mean right or wrong btw, just true) spiritual experiences often feel the same because they are based on the same foundations in our minds, bodies, and souls no matter your path), or that in reality no matter how unique it may be, that it is truly unique when you share it, but I will say that it doesn't lessen the worth of it either, oath-bound or otherwise. Frankly, I do think that "hidden truths" are the reason people get in such a huff about it. I don't place any importance in it myself for reasons I have explained, but many who have problems it are not taking it for what it truly is, but rather what they believe it to be and what I think many traditional practitioners let it go on as. If someone came out and said that there really were no "hidden truths" other than the ones we all have, than most of this would probably be moot, but I haven't seen a great deal of that denial in the past. Take that as you will, it may be a stab at the kind of people who would seek out this sort of thing and take it into themselves as spiritual, but to me its about having the right things for the wrong reasons. You are preserving the group experience for that sake, not for the sake of some hidden truth that dies if shared, which I totally get.