Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Rant - Old School Style

Didn’t your grandmother ever teach you to “respect your elders?” Or were you just too disrespectful of her to care?

Before anybody gets their panties in a wad and calls be an elitist let me just say . . . well that I guess I am an elitist in certain ways, in as much as I am a traditionalist anyway. I miss the old days when magickal teachers were respected. What happened?

Silly question. I know what happened - a couple of things actually. 1) Too many people calling themselves “magickal teachers” began abusing their power and made the lot of us come off as dirty and arrogant or, worse yet, sexual predators. 2) So many 101 books have been put out that every neophyte that cruises into the local mega-bookstore and picks up a Silver Ravenwolf book thinks he/she is an expert and has nothing left to learn.

Why do you come to me and ask to be taught if everything I have to teach you is going to be met with a huff and some longwinded explanation of what “feels right” to you? Better yet, what is the deal with criticizing me for publishing my credentials? It makes you feel small and intimidated that I have put 20+ years into this or that I am a consecrated Bishop? When you apply for a college program, do you what to go to the “everyone is on the same level and the professor is just the guy who is one lesson ahead this week” school or the school where the professor has a PhD in your field? Does it make you feel small to learn from a professor with experience? I hope you would say ‘no.’ Why then would you not want the same level of experience in a magickal teacher?

Another thing that drives me bat shit is students thinking that learning magick is supposed to be all hugs and bunnies and love and rainbows. Get over it! Initiation is an ordeal. Ordeals shape us. They tap into the meat of our subconscious and show us who we really are. I would like to hear what a Master in Tibetan Buddhism would tell a student who whined about him being too strict. (Now I certainly do not put myself on that level, matter of fact I would probably be the one whining in that case.)

My point: Discipline is an essential key to magick and if you cannot master the basic concept of respect your teacher and endure the trials and ordeals of your initiation then hit the bricks because no one really wants you calling yourself a magician.

On the other hand, magick is no place for mindless automatons either. If you are being abused by your teacher then get out. But I guess it is up to each person to decide their definition of abuse. I personally don’t think speaking harshly to a student or expecting the student to rise to a challenge is abuse. Then again I have had a magickal teacher try to rape me - that is my personal comparison for abuse. I have had a magickal teacher shove a shotgun in my face - that was a bit abusive. I have been dragged out of my fourth floor window and hustled down a condemned fire escape at 4 a.m. for ritual - that was pushing it a little. Still, I learned magick from each an everyone of these teachers. I wouldn’t trade my time with them, good or bad, for the world.

I certainly would not expect any student to endure the things I have but if being told to ‘shut up and listen’ is where you draw the line then you need not apply here. If you cannot respect the fact that I have more experience than you and thus I expect you to defer to me in quite a few things, no matter how many Silver Ravenwolf books you have read, then you have nothing to learn from me - move on.