And Baby, Baby, Baby, do you like it?
~ Led Zeppelin, Misty Mountain Hop 1971
Mage Music 87
One thing that most teachers are pretty sure of is that it’s their way or the highway. You see that with Magick, of course, though it’s not just the Masters of Magick who expect the students to follow directions in lock step.
It’s true in music, too, and all the arts. It’s true on social media and it’s true in society and basically everywhere you look.
Just about everybody wants to be an expert, an artist, a creator -- yet few dare step out of the herd far enough to show what they can do because they will be challenged. The only way to avoid being challenged -- and derided, which seems to be how challenge works mostly -- would be if everyone was just like everyone else. And what a boring world it would be if we humans really could stand to live that way.
But we can’t. In fact, we are always looking at what we see in ourselves and – more often than not – deciding we don’t like it. We decide to change who we are but then we look outside, to teachers who supposedly know more.
That generally doesn’t work so well.
When the student is ready…
It’s one thing to learn a how to do something from someone who knows how to do whatever it is better than you do. The more expertise an instructor has, the more the student can learn. But learning how to play the guitar doesn’t mean you are learning how to create music. Learning how to read and write doesn’t mean you are learning how to create a novel or a poem. Learning how to do something isn’t the same as learning how to be who you were born to be.
They say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Generally that’s understood to mean that you can’t force it to drink, which is true -- but the real meaning is that you can’t force the horse to choose to drink. Only the horse chooses.
Only you can create who you were born to be. If you choose, you can use many tools to do so. One of them is Magick.
But how do you do Magick? Who do you believe? What do you believe?
The uphill battle starts early
Problem is, it’s too easy to take someone else’s opinion on what you should do or how (or who) you should be. There’s a lot of pressure coming from everywhere to bend to authority and to peers. It starts early, with parents who want to protect their children by choosing for them. From the very first day of school kids are taught to follow directions, and teachers don’t have time to allow for kids to learn by seeing where the wrong path will take them. After that it’s teen years with the pressure to fit in, to belong. And after that, well, the habits of conforming are hard to break, and there's little outside encouragement to do so.
Trouble is, all your life probably all who have been your teachers have taught what you should do without ever teaching you how to be the person your born to be.
Magick in your life
They also say that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. The teacher is, of course, you -- but you have to choose to believe that.
Somewhere along the line most people do learn how to start making choices based on their own desires, but for most those choices are limited in scope. Most people live reactive lives most of the time, letting the circumstances they encounter dictate which paths they take. For some, though, the need to create original works – of art or knowledge or discovery, including becoming the self that you choose – overcomes the powerful outside pressures to conform. This means approaching life very differently.
The creative act requires opening from the inside, opening to the inside and then through to the other side to let the energy of the universe flow back up that pipeline to manifest in your personal reality.
If you don’t know who you are, you are creating blindly. If you are creating blindly, you can’t know if you are creating your own work or if you are in fact creating at all.
If you take someone else’s word for who you are, you aren't creating your own work -- you’re simply assembling someone else’s vision.
Creating art or creating a new personal reality – it’s all the same. It requires understanding that if it’s going to be your life, it has to be your choices that create it. That means taking a good look at yourself, acknowledging all that you are – the good and the bad, the attractive and the ugly - and accepting that it is there, that it is you, and that it is, in the end, all perfect.
This is the first and most important step. You can’t change what you don’t know about. And then you boldly go where you've never been before.
Know Thyself. Then Do What Thou Wilt. Other people's words, but they're true.