Taking the Mystery out of Initiation
All processes, all journeys, have their beginning. In the practice of magic, this is often called an Initiation, which in fact means beginning or starting point.
It’s an often overly-romanticized notion, and therefore a potential stumbling block. New magicians, it turns out, are prone to worrying about whether or not they received a “real” initiation into the arcane arts. Such concern is especially prevalent in a world filled with solitary practitioners, where passing down of tradition from teacher to pupil is, at least seems to be, a rare thing. Even experienced magicians can fall into the trap of self-doubt as it pertains to the quality and authenticity of initiation.
If you are currently practicing magic, then your Initiation was legit. I have as supporting evidence only the phenomena of chronology, i.e. the beginning preceded the current process, hence can aptly be named the initiation; you can even capitalize the word if you prefer.
Some ask: Is it possible to truly learn magic through reading, self-study, and practice? The Yoda Factor, as I sometimes call it, is a powerfully alluring idea. Can you even study magic authentically without a (preferably ancient & mysterious) teacher?
It’s awesome to have a good teacher, but most magicians just don’t have that luxury. The good news is you, or anyone else with the mental faculties to read this material and comprehend its message, can learn a great deal of magic through solitary study and experimentation. During the Renaissance spells and ceremonies were often referred to as experiments. Because so many magicians practiced both alone and in secret, the notion of letting the magic teach you as you actively engage the cantrips and rituals was sort of “baked into” the philosophies of the era. Since that time and into the present solo practice has remained commonplace.
If not a teacher or some council of elders, et al, is it not at least necessary to undergo some profound experience that draws or hurls you into the midst of a previously secret and entirely marvelous reality, wherein magic is real and now you can/should learn to use it? Can one really just get started one day, for whatever reason related to personal desire and interest?
No extraordinary event required. You can and should just begin to study, learn, and above all practice as, how, when, why, and to what end you alone see fit.
While no extraordinary event is required to serve as the catalyst for your magical pursuits, and you do not need the permission of any teacher or organization to take the first steps of your journey, you are reading this now as the result of some sequence of events. Perhaps these events occurred within a small window of time; or maybe they built up for years before culminating in a keyword or the clicking of a banner or whatever it was that took you to the first content you read on this topic of magic.
Whatever your experience has been, it is plenty good enough. Let it be so.
NOTE: There’s nothing wrong with undergoing a formal initiation! I’m definitely NOT knocking that approach as it’s one I took and still undergo as often as I see fit to this day. You can easily construct your own initiation or check out this pretty cool initiation process I put together for 2022.