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Posts Tagged ‘Adepthood’

Lent began on Wednesday the 22d. I said the Daily Office but did not attend any services. (I was amused and appalled that a local Episcopal church, my own denomination, described their service as “Ashing & Holy Communion”. I thought the heirs of Cranmer and Hooker could do better than that.) Will I engage in acts of fasting and self-denial? Probably not, although I may say the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross privately. Years ago I read in a Roman Catholic publication that the Lenten fast grew out of the conditions of pre-industrial living: Before factory farming and refrigeration, the winter stores of food that made the Yuletide so jolly were nearly exhausted by February, and new foods were not yet available. Beginning in early February (Imbolc/Candlemas), milk, butter, and cheese became available thanks to the birth of lambs; as the days got longer, chickens began to lay again. (Perhaps that’s why eggs are associated with the Spring Equinox–chickens would be laying reliably by then, if not sooner.)

Am I a Christian? I don’t know. I believe that Jesus was an incarnation of divinity and a great teacher, perhaps the most important teacher of the Western traditions. I don’t think he was the sole embodiment of divinity, but rather a model for what all human persons are capable of. I could say I believe in him, but I don’t really have much of a relationship with him. I have much more of a relationship with Julian of Norwich, whose writings I have studied in more depth and with more devotion than I have given any book of the Christian Scriptures.

Am I a Pagan, then? Again, I don’t know. I think many gods exist; I think many spirits or wights, beings neither human nor divine, angel nor devil, exist. I think some of them are benevolently interested in humankind, a few are actively hostile to us, and many are basically indifferent. But I don’t have much of a relationship with any non-Christian deity, either. I have gained strength and benefit from the practice of Tara and Medicine Buddha in Tibetan Buddhist contexts. I definitely have a relationship with birds, all birds, not just my own companions; anywhere I go, birds seem to recognize me, to know that I am a safe human, to come near to me. On the other hand, I have actually tried to cultivate relationships with some Celtic deities who seemed interested in me, and that situation seems to have resulted in FAIL all round.

Am I a Buddhist? No, as much as I admire Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, as much as I have learned from studying and practicing it. Perhaps Dion Fortune and her successors were right in saying Eastern methods are not for Western methods. Perhaps I just had too many years of Western religion and magic behind me, too many patterns formed, before I discovered Buddhism; I might be a thorough-going Buddhist if I’d made contact with it in my early twenties.

Am I a Druid, even? Probably not. I’m feeling like I’ve made repeated efforts, alone and as part of a group, to connect with Druidry, with the traditions of Arthur and Merlin and Taliesin, with faery lore, with bardic lore, with the Druid Revival and with more Reconstructionist systems, all to no avail. I’ve been banging my head against a wall, or possibly knocking at a door that just won’t open, and I’m exhausted by it. I want a holiday from all things Druidic and Celtic and Arthurian, except possibly Celtic music and episodes of the BBC’s Merlin.

What am I? I’m a married woman; a writer; a library paraprofessional; a singer, or former singer, specifically a chorister; and… a magician? a mage? an Adept of the New Hermetics? I trained with Jason Augustus Newcomb in the original New Hermetics course, in 2005-2006, and have completed all levels through Advanced Adept (equivalent to the Golden Dawn’s Adeptus Major). I have the certificates and the Rose Cross lamen to prove it. And for the last year, I’ve been trying to get my act together and undertake Jason’s revised version of the course.

I think about saying, “I’m a Hermeticist… I’m a Hermetic magician…” and the words just don’t want to come out of my mouth. I think about saying, “I’m a magician–” and my brain adds, “–not a priestess!” and follows it up with Bones McCoy growling, “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer!” (I believe that episode, “Devil in the Dark“, was the first appearance of the Great McCoy Disclaimer, which has since been echoed by every other Starfleet doctor.)

Here are a few things I’m certain of:

  • I’m interested in religious and magical traditions and what I can learn from them, even if I never identify with or practice them. This has been true of me since I was a child and read the grown-up books on comparative religion.
  • The New Hermetics has worked better for me as a spiritual practice than pretty much anything else I’ve ever tried.
  • I am convinced of the rightness of the Mahayana Buddhist approach: To seek the fullest possible personal freedom and self-development in order to help other beings achieve the same thing. I cannot be genuinely free and genuinely happy while others are trapped and miserable; helping others is an essential part of my own fulfillment. Helping others may not look like anything more than doing my library job, keeping this blog, and helping individuals as opportunity arises, but it is still part of the Great Work.

So I’m thinking of changing the name of this blog to reflect… whatever I’ve changed into.

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Well, apparently I am not a druid.  Again.

My attempts back in November to fulfill the requirements for NaBloPoMo and to make Druid spirituality my primary path both failed.  Since then I have wrestled repeatedly with the angelic conundrum of being attracted to a number of religious paths that I simply can not practice, or can not practice simply.

I’ve been attracted to Druidry since the early 1990s.  Back then I longed to join OBOD, but the cost was prohibitive; while my income has increased since those days, so has the cost of OBOD’s famous correspondence course.  Whatever the exchange rates between the pound and the U.S. dollar might be, the Atlantic has not gotten any smaller, and packets from OBOD will always have to cross it to get to prospective druids in the States.

I discovered the Ancient Order of Druids in America at the end of 2004, and I managed to achieve the first degree, Apprentice Druid, within a couple of years.  I’ve tried repeatedly to advance to second degree, but no matter my intentions, I repeatedly found myself not doing the work.  I am still a First Degree member in good standing, but the work for further degrees is not, I think, going to get done.

I learned today that there has been a big blow-up in another pagan tradition to which I’ve been attracted for years, the Feri or Faery tradition stemming from Victor and Cora Anderson.  Like many people, I think, I first heard of it through Starhawk’s mentions in The Spiral Dance, which I first read when I was thirteen and the book was brand new.  I was thrilled to discover that people actually worshipped the old gods whose stories I’d read throughout my childhood, and practiced a kind of magic, another topic I’d read about precociously.  I was enchanted, and I use the word in the fullest sense, with her descriptions of Victor’s Faery teachings, though that enchantment translated into lots of bad poetry rather than into trying the magical exercises or even performing rituals.

I still rather miss being an Anglican, particularly around Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.  The Incarnation was and is far more important to me as a doctrine than the Atonement; the Atonement, for me, makes little sense without a stress on the Incarnation and has everything to do with Divine Love revealing itself in extremity and nothing to do with a wrathful Deity being bought off somehow by the torture of his Son.

Buddhism, especially the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism of Tibet, is the thing that has been the most helpful and illuminating for me over the past five years or so.  Its philosophy explained so much of Western magic and religion in a newly coherent way, and the practices and community I found helped me deal with stress, train my mind, look at the big picture.  But I don’t live in circumstances where I have regular access to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, and I’m not willing to make huge changes in my life–such as relocating to another city or learning to drive and buying a car for the first time–in order to do so.  I can’t help but feel that makes me a bad Buddhist, a half-assed practitioner, but I’m insistent that my spiritual practice reduce chaos and stress in my life (give or take a few necessary crises) rather than increase it, and moving or buying a car would definitely count as an increase in stress.  I can’t even switch tracks and practice with a Zen lineage, which might not be a bad thing; again, there’s no sangha with a teacher that’s accessible to me in time and place.

There’s a saying that is often useful even though it sounds ditzy: “Bloom where you’re planted.”  I prefer metaphors like, “Go through the door that’s open, or out the window if the door is locked.”  Or, “Deal with what lands in your lap.”  Recently two things have opened up for me or landed in my lap: The chance to take yoga classes and develop a practice, and the chance to study further with Jason Augustus Newcomb in the New Hermetics system.

I’ve been interested in yoga since I was a teenager (hm, along with Witchcraft and Druidry and what not else), and right before Christmas I discovered I was living a few blocks away from a thriving yoga studio.  I registered for their five-class beginners’ workshop, which started anew on December 23rd, and started attending regular beginner-level classes alongside my equally interested husband. The improvement we have both felt in strength, flexibility, pain relief, and overall well-being has been enormous, in a relatively short time. I can do things with my body that six weeks ago I would have sworn were impossible for me, and that’s after little more than a month of classes.  Those really terrifying postures you see on yoga calendars now look to me like a difference of quality, not of kind–like the difference between my own fiction and [insert Great Novel here] rather than like the difference between my body and an invertebrate’s.  Even now I’m looking forward to sweating through tomorrow night’s class and hoping that the mix of snow, sleet, and rain we’re predicted to get won’t cause a cancellation or make walking too treacherous.

Back in 2005, I was one of the first students to take the course that Jason based on his then-new book, The New Hermetics, and one of a few to make it through the whole program and go on to take the Advanced work two years later.  Jason’s system of mental and magical training worked better for me, in terms of both daily life management and of working big changes in my life, than any other spiritual practice had worked before.  It also led me to the Mahayana ideals of bodhichitta and dedicating the merit of one’s practice to the benefit of all beings, and thus to investigating Buddhism afresh and finding new answers and inspiration there.  When Jason recently announced that he was going to teach a beta version of a revised course, available to previous students at a hefty discount, I was right there like all the bad metaphors for being right there that you can think of–white on rice, ugly date, cheap suit, the works.

Actual work with the new program is starting in February, at Imbolc.  I’ll be lighting some candles for the Star Goddess again and asking for a blessing on the work.  My overriding goal for this re-training is to bring everything that I’ve learned, from Feri, Druidry, the Church, Buddhism, and wherever, and use the New Hermetics to contain it.  To put it another way, my goal is to cross-fertilize the New Hermetics, which comes out of a specific tradition of Western magic, with everything else that has worked for me.  I have, after all, spent over twenty years seeking, studying, learning, in a variety of traditions; perhaps it’s time for me to stop envying people who have spent as many years identifying by one name, one tradition (whilst no doubt studying many things), and start taking seriously what I’ve learned and bringing it to bear on the practice that I know I can work, and that will work for me.

To that end, I would like to stop posting here and renew posting at A Comfortable Oxymoron, to give myself a wider context in which to talk about walking the Path and undertaking the Great Work.  I will likely be cross-posting a version of this entry to that blog.  See you at the new URL, I hope.

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I no longer call myself a druid, but I feel more druidic than ever as I absorb the morning sunlight on my walk to work.  I have finally realized how much my well-being depends on exposure to the light.

I haven’t thought of myself as a Christian in a while, but I feel more Anglican than ever as I say the Daily Office and find strength and stability in the practice, and new meaning in the familiar texts.

I am not really practicing as a Buddhist, even though I formally took refuge and the bodhisattva vow, but the perspectives of Mahayana and Vajrayana have illuminated and revived my Western religious and magical practice.

I don’t know what to call myself or my path, except to say that I am a magician, and I work in the Western magical tradition or with the Western Mysteries; I have no convenient labels or fancy poetic phrases.  I do know that if, as many systems say, there are three chief stages to the Path, then I am at last firmly in stage two: No longer a beginner, no longer uncertain of my commitment, purified and being illuminated, a Proficient (in the Christian sense, as used by Anglican writer Martin Thornton), an Adept (in the Hermetic sense, if only a fledgling), an aspiring bodhisattva.

More and more, I seek to expose myself to the Light.

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I may try to ignore it, but I feel the energies shifting around me.  It hasn’t really been summer for weeks.  We had three weeks of our worst heat and humidity at the beginning of August, after a comparatively mild summer; when it broke, driven away by tropical storms drifting up the Atlantic coast, I began to see feathers on the sidewalks, the first sign of fall.  Pigeons, sparrows, mourning doves, mockers, they’re all finished their breeding season and had begun to moult.  My own companion parrots have been cranky for weeks as they moult along with their outdoors neighbors.

Today is wind and rain and chill.  Temperatures in the low sixties feel chilly when it’s raining and the wind is pushing the wet underneath your umbrella, into the recesses of your hood.  Walking under the pin oaks near the swim and tennis club, I saw red-bronze leaves blown down and slicked to the ground next to tumbled acorns.  The children have returned to school, the birds are moulting, leaves are turning red, and Mercury dances backward across the sky for the last time this calendar year:  It’s autumn.  I celebrated the harvest last weekend by a trip to the state fair, where I ate locally produced food, saw local livestock compete, admired local 4H projects, and gazed rapturously on a tamed turkey vulture.

It’s autumn.  A few weeks ago, when it was still summer, the founding lama of my Buddhist sangha came to town to give teachings.  In addition to leading a lot of meditation sessions, many of them on the back porch of a member’s house while dogs yapped, bugs sang, and neighbors partied, he taught on the practice of Green Tara and gave the bodhisattva vows.  I formally took the vow to seek enlightenment in order to help all sentient beings.

I have said that same vow every time I sat down to practice with my sangha.  I have said it repeatedly in private meditation.  I made a vow very similar in spirit when I reached adeptship in the New Hermetics.  The difference, when I took the vow in August, was that I made it as a Buddhist, witnessed by a teacher of my tradition and by fellow members of that tradition.  I made it as a significant commitment to the Mahayana path.

I still rather squirm at identifying myself as a Buddhist.  I have consciously refrained, for some time now, from identifying myself as a Druid.  But I have no qualms whatever about identifying myself as a Mahayanist, as someone who believes in working on the self for the welfare of all.  Reginald Ray, whose teacher was the great Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, puts it best when he says simply (in his teachings on Buddhist Tantra), “You can’t pursue a spiritual path just for yourself. You really can’t.  It doesn’t work.”

That is the core of what I believe and seek to practice.  I find it most clearly explicated in the teachings of the Buddha; I also find it in the teachings of Jesus, if not always in the Church’s teachings *about* Jesus.  I find it buried in the teachings of the Western magical traditions; I see it coming to the surface in various traditions of Neopaganism.  I think I had better start looking for it in the traditions of Druidry, and bringing it there if I cannot find it… because the wind is changing, the equinox is approaching, and it appears I am still a Druid, somehow.

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I was baptized Methodist and confirmed Episcopalian.  I discovered paganism when The Spiral Dance was published and waffled back and forth between Christian and pagan for the better part of twenty years, until I began practicing a form of Hermetic magic that pointed me to Buddhism, and I took refuge.
I am an Anglican, a Druid, a witch, a priestess, an Advanced Adept of the New Hermetics, an upasika of the Dharma.
I am not an Anglican, or a Druid, or a witch, or a magician, or a Buddhist.
“This also is Thou; neither is this Thou,” said Charles Williams, who was himself an Anglican, a magician, and a writer.  All beings are images and sacraments of God, yet God is beyond being and not-being and escapes, transcends, defies all definition or description.  This is as true of individual, contingent beings, perhaps, as it is of the Absolute.
Two weeks ago, on Good Friday evening, as it happened, I had the good fortune to hear Thorn Coyle give a talk.  Thorn published her second book in March, Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World, and did a promotional tour, bringing copies of both her books, of her CD Songs for the Waning Year, in collaboration with Sharon Knight, and her Devotional Dance DVD.  I’ve been following Thorn on Livejournal for several years; one of my online friends apprenticed with her, and I was eager to hear her speak.
Thorn stood up in front of a hot, crowded room, a tall slim fortysomething wearing big stompy boots and fetching red spectacles, and led us in a chant from her CD, calling on the Elements.  We sang a simple ground while she tapped out the rhythm on a frame drum and sang the melody over us.  Most of us in the audience were between forty-five and sixty-five, though there were a few folks in their twenties whose appearance was coded “Edgy and queer Feri apprentice”; the singing was considerably more robust than what I normally hear at my husband’s church.
Thorn is not as glamorous in person as she appears in photo shoots, but still photographs cannot convey the aura of someone who is really present, right where she’s standing, who occupies her body completely and knows where her energy is and how to move it.  She spoke simply, freely, spontaneously, after reading an excerpt from the new book, then fielded questions, then rounded things off with the elemental chant to close before signing books for another hour or so.  What she said was nothing I hadn’t heard before, read before, perhaps written myself, in my journal.  But she said it from that state of presence, with energy and eloquence, and it is still resonating for me, like the last chord lingering in the vault after the anthem is sung.
What has stayed with me most were her words on integration.  On including and accepting all of our parts rather than transcending something–ignoring it, renouncing it, even cutting it off–because it seems not to be working for us.
“If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out,” says Jesus, in the Authorised Version.  “If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut it off.”  No, says Thorn: Include. Accept.  Know Thyself.  Love Thyself.
I found myself, in the week following her talk (which was also the week following Easter Day, when I had time to think), realizing how consistently I practice transcendence, how I renounce things that aren’t working for me and dramatically push them away.  On the most practical level, this means that there are books I have owned three or four copies of, buying them and renouncing them.  On a deeper level, I don’t know what parts of me are hiding out so deep I can’t find them, afraid to speak up or show their faces lest they be cut off and shoved away.
I am able to do this, at least: To renounce renunciation.  To give up cutting things out or cutting them off and pushing them away.  To renounce labels and definitions and also to renounce discarding labels and definitions.  Yes, I am still an Anglican.  I will always carry that sensibility, the idea that Truth is more reliably found in music, poetry, and story than in dogmas, prescriptions, and propositions.  Yes, I am a Druid, a Revival Druid, for whom Arthurian legend and Welsh poetry echo with Truth even where their facts are wrong.  I am an Advanced Adept of the New Hermetics; I earned that title with nine months of daily work and a workshop in Florida that was my first time travelling alone.  My default setting for witchcraft and paganism is still Reclaiming and Feri rather than British Traditional Wicca or Reconstructionist movements.  And yes, I am a Buddhist; the Dharma is the great canopy under which everything fits, the mandala where everything has a place.
You can call me any of those things, or call me nothing.  You can call me eclectic or syncretic or both.  Maybe the best thing to call me is a Mahayanist: I have come to believe that the Mahayana perspective of the bodhisattva, the one who seeks freedom and enlightenment in order to help others do the same, is the truest perspective on the spiritual life.  I’ve also come to believe that magic is the Vajrayana of the West, the accelerated method of attaining buddhahood in this lifetime so as to benefit all beings.
Some days I don’t feel like a daily spiritual practice is worth it.  Right now I have set myself the goal of learning the traditional pentagram and hexagram rituals that come out of the Golden Dawn tradition, starting with one month of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.  It’s a struggle to pull myself together after dinner, put on the robe and the Rose Cross lamen, and buzz out those Hebrew Names. What am I doing this for? What good does it do me, or anyone?  At least the morning exercise practice has made me feel noticeably, significantly better.
But I do it, because I’ve decided to take myself seriously as an Adept, someone who has taken that bodhisattva vow to save all others, one for all and all for one, someone who has training and experience and dedication and intention and a clear vision of what’s necessary.  I see that motivation of wisdom and compassion, what Buddhism calls bodhicitta, spreading amongst neopagans and magical practitioners, and I am happy.  In a few hundred years we will have a truly American Buddhism, and it will be pagan as much as Christian as much as Buddhist, just as the Dharma became Tibetan and Chinese and Japanese.
The Work is there to be done.  Some of us will do it as teachers and public figures, and some of us, like me, will do it as solitaries, even hermits (hermits in the Tarot sense).  Some of us will do it with religious labels, and some without; some of us will do it as Pagans, some as Christians, some as Buddhists, some as humanists, some as witches.  There is enough Work for all of us; there is a proper Work for each of us.  I show up for my day job, read and write, and try to do my share.  You can, too.

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Thorn Coyle asks:

 

What do I call myself? 25 years ago, I would have said a Witch. These days, I might say I am a Pagan Mystic seeking to spread joy and unfold the Mystery. Twenty years from now, I will likely say something else. Twenty years from that, perhaps I will cease to need any identification at all….
I do not care what you call yourself or by which label you identify. What I care about are these: Do you love? Do you practice? Do you spread joy and seek out Mastery? Are you attempting to know yourself? Are you strong? Are you kind? How do you deepen? What is your commitment? 

As for the rest, I barely care anymore. I feel grateful for my training. I feel grateful for the beauty that traditions give rise to, just as I feel grateful for any great art or science. But I also feel grateful for poppies and lavender, and laughter, and well made hummus with raw vegetables, and chocolate pot du creme. I feel grateful for deep thinkers, and bright lovers, for stone circles on hilltops and drinking tea in bed during a rainstorm.

My religion is connection. What is yours? How do you identify?

A lot of people answered. Their answers are well worth reading. I replied:

Oh how I wish I had a simple answer to your questions. 

I have been struggling for about a year with the paradox of having taken refuge in the Three Jewels, and finding in Buddhism an overarching system that makes sense of *everything*, including Western religions/wisdom traditions, and still not feeling ready to *identify* as “a Buddhist”.

And struggling with the reality that every other religion or path I have tried, before the Dharma, has somehow let me down.

My motivation is bodhicitta: getting myself together, getting myself free, so that I can help other beings get free. One for all and all for one. My practices are Buddhist, Hermetic, devotional, creative/artistic. Trying to be aware of what’s happening, to remember my motivation, and to do my practices and take the practice attitude into the rest of life.

When I sit at my desk at home, I am facing a gathering of objects and images. My desk is an altar, or a shrine. I don’t always write there or sit there to do inner work, but it is my space, my own. I face a gilded statue of Tara, the great bodhisattva who liberates from fear, who vowed to achieve enlightenment in a woman’s body or not at all. To her right and left are a smaller Tara statue of black resin and a tiny Ganesh of painted clay. Ganesh is the Remover of Obstacles; we talk over offerings of chocolate, and he helps me find my way.
There are two abstract statues by Abby Willowroot, a black Goddess and a white God decorated with spiral and tree patterns. There is a small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a slightly larger one of the Buddy Christ from the movie Dogma. A black Buddha sitting zazen and a clay-colored Isis offering her breast. Feathers from my birds, stones, shells, a cauldron for incense, a blue clay cup of water, candles. At various times my wand, my ritual blade, my pantacle for magical work have joined the display.
On another wall in the same room is a Buddha shrine in Tibetan Buddhist style, with a brocade covering, statues of buddhas and bodhisattvas, seven small offering bowls filled with water. Icons of Christian saints line the walls of the hallway. How do I identify? what do I call myself?
Where I sit is where I stand. I have symbols of what has been sacred to me, what is magical, what is helpful, what points me to spirit and helps me practice. I look at spiritual practitioners around me, blogging on the Internet, appearing in the news, passing through my life, and ask: What is your motivation? Do you have the mind-heart of enlightenment, the altruistic drive that Buddhism calls bodhicitta? Are you in it just to biggify yourself, or do you seek your own freedom and fulfillment in order to share that with other people, with all sentient beings? Do you show patience, kindness, compassion? Do you offer wisdom or just buzz-words? Do you come back to your ideals when you fail of them, or do you just rationalize it for yourself?
You might call me eclectic, or syncretic. But where I stand is the Mahayana perspective of the bodhisattva vow, the motivation of bodhicitta, one for all and all for one, and how I move, how I practice is the accelerated means that the East calls Tantra or Vajrayana and the West calls Magic: Enlightenment in this lifetime. Or not long after, I hope.

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… Three general stages of spirituality are Initiate, Adept, and Priest. These roughly
correspond to Apprentice, Journeyman and Master in the guild system.

Prior to the Initiate stage, a person experiences a discontent with common religious or philosophical systems. They do not speak to the person’s own Inner experiences, and so the Seeker begins self-knowledge by exploring foreign and exotic methods of hunting Mystery.

The Initiate pursues self-knowledge while sampling these methods. Sometimes there’s a match between his/her needs and a particular pre-existing means, and sometimes the Initiate has to invent a new way of understanding.

• Sometimes a person hunts alone, sometimes he/she finds kindred souls for sharing discoveries. It’s possible to learn from books, and it’s possible to learn from more experienced kindred spirits. Danger to one’s progress can be found in a teacher-student /guru-chela relationships if caution isn’t maintained.

• With companionship comes the possibility of distractions in the form of control attempts, falling in love or hate, secrecy for its own sake, the formation of doctrines, etc. It’s difficult but necessary to ward against any of these.

• A balance of solitude and companionship helps to avoid the excesses of either. Practice is essential in both modes. Just reading about something, or discussing it can provide intellectual knowledge, but only in practice can one achieve grounding.

• It’s important to keep a Magickal Record, Book of Shadows, or Spiritual Diary. It helps consolidate new knowledge about oneself and about discoveries and events that expand one’s boundaries. It’s the Seeker’s best friend through all the stages of Inner growth.

When a particular method is chosen and regular practice of it begins, the Adept stage begins. This means physical action as well as continuing study. A practice can be as simple as a daily Tarot reading, to begin with, or a devotion to a particular deity with offerings and silent conversations with him or her….

The Initiate, persevering, comes to live in a state of awe and reverence for the essential holiness of the universe. This holiness includes the Initiate; one’s ethics derive from the truth of one’s perceptions. One never blasphemes or degrades what one sees to be sacred

The Adept operates from this awe as a wise Taoist. Increasingly, the Adept perceives his/her Will and Work as aligning with, and therefore becoming, the flow of things, the Magickal Current, the Tao. Action becomes easier as one approximates the natural course of events….

When the Initiate-Adept realizes that one’s function consists of removing obstacles to Intelligence’s reunion with Itself, when one perceives that opening the ways to Tao is necessary, sufficient and inevitable then the Initiate-Adept arrives at the point of Priesthood.

A Priest is one who undertakes the responsibility of working in all possible ways for universal awakening, not ceasing until the reunion of Intelligence be completed. This same concept is phrased in the Boddhisattvic Vow: “I shall not cease from existence until every sentient being in the Universe is enlightened.”

Nema, in SILVERSTAR, Samhain 2004

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