Getting Started: Now What?
Getting started… now what? I wanted to address this because there are both some new members just embarking on their path and also some veterans returning to their path and who are experiencing difficulty getting started or resuming their practice.
I have heard, “OK, I have read tons of books and dabbled, but I am not sure I know what I’m doing or how to get started”. Fair enough. We have all had to start at the beginning. We have all had some doubt, confusion, and fear regarding the craft. Some have a feeling they might do something wrong or cause their own practice or spiritual space to go all out of whack. Relax; you won’t. Remember old sayings like, “Practice makes perfect”, or “trial and error” or “You have to walk before you can run”.
One of the first things in magick that sometimes is overlooked is attitude. You’ve read a few books, listened to the local witch shop owner impart their knowledge of the craft, taken , and maybe attended seminars… but have you really heard people stress the subject of attitude. You may have heard, “magick without ego”. OK, what does that mean?
Let’s define ego…*
e·go: [ee-goh, eg-oh] noun, plural e·gos.
1. The “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
2. Psychoanalysis: the part of apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
3. egotism: conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.
4. self-esteem or self-image: feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.
5. (Often initial capital letter) Philosophy: a. the enduring and conscious element that knows experience; b. Scholasticism: the complete person comprising both body and soul.
So you try and remove ego; seems difficult or might seem contrary to some parts of the definition. Be positive. Have no doubt. Be confident, right?
I believe that magick without ego is a process where one is able to understand and feel a connection between each person, animal, nature and realize that removing the “I” isn’t simply taking your “self” out of the equations, but rather understanding the connection between all things created by a divinity (whatever it happens to be, or however you chose to name it) .
Magick is a state of mind, a lifestyle, and a true journey. It’s a journey of oneself… not of the ego “self”, but a maturation into different levels of understanding and connections.
Magick is not only learning spells and invocations, and acquiring altar tools. Magick comes from within you; it’s learning about you. No one can teach you that. You may be able to learn mediation, divination, and be guided certain in steps and procedures, but the true magick is in you. The task at hand then becomes how to unlock this gift, this ability, and this treasure. Coming together with nature, the seasons, and your God and Goddess, it is up to you to hear the call, feel the pulse, and see the colors.
The first thing is reflection. Have yourself in order, no distractions, and holding a deep desire. Notice I didn’t say a ‘true desire’. Desire is a wanting, needing, a lusting. So how do you know what is it true or untrue? I tend to shy away from people who tell me what I have to do or not to do to be an accomplished witch. Your journey along your path is yours and yours alone.
I mentioned before you need to get yourself in order. I feel is important, but it may take a long time. There is no set deadline. I mentioned no distractions; well in this day and age, how is that done? Kids, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, jobs, money… ugh, the list goes on and on, right? If you try to keep your journey’s path lit and do not allow the flame of desire to go out then you’re not distracted: All things in due time and moderation.
We all can’t all raise and cast in the AM or PM. we sometimes become overwhelmed with the trappings of every day life. I am guilty of that myself at times. Try to have reminders around you of the magick that you have discovered or are striving to discover, things that in an instant remind you of your magickal goals. The desire to learn and become something is not without doubt, mistakes, or pain.
Magick isn’t about the next step in a series of books or classes or altar tools. It’s about heart and soul. Take a chance, listen to everyone and listen to no one. Discover yourself and discover magick, not from a book or when some teacher of a class tells you that you have attained another degree. You alone know when you’re ready to move on in your education, lifestyle, and connections.
Magick has no timeline. There is never a final project that must be turned in to get credit. The God and Goddess have always been there and will continue to be there unless they decide otherwise. The journey you take, the path you have put yourself on may take a lifetime or for some, that understanding and connection may come sooner. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, or that anyone is ‘better’ than you. It means that they may have been on their journeys longer than you have. Their paths may not be as confusing as your own or have as many twists and turns.
Do you think Gerald Gardner, Laurie Cabot, Dorothy Morrison, Z. Budapest, or even Aleister Crowley are any better or different than you? They’re not. They heard a voice once, too. They noticed an irregularity. They felt different and confused. They took a step and began their journey like the rest of us. They stayed true to themselves in order to find the understanding, make the connections and become who they are/were. If you think it’s not within your capability to become an accomplished witch, an innovator, or even start/discover a new tradition, you’re wrong.
You’ve read the books, bought the tools, and gotten tons of advise, so … reflect, get yourself in order, stay focused and take that first step. “Success is dependent on effort. ” -Sophocles
All the best on your journey! Remember… to know… to dare… to do… and to keep silent.