Doesn’t matter where you’ve been, as long as it was deep – Benjamin Orr, The Cars.
I had a discussion the other day about magick lineage. Your magick lineage is a combination of who your teachers or mentors have been, what spiritual systems and beliefs you’ve practiced and followed, and even what practitioners you can trace inside of your family tree.
A lineage should be kept to 1. give an idea of a practitioners perspectives, methods, and beliefs, and 2. to give proper credit where it is due for any information or teachings given out by the practitioner.
After much thought I’ve come to the same conclusion as I had prior to my conversation the other day. A practitioner’s lineage is ultimatly meaningless, and it doesn’t matter.
To begin, a blood lineage probably means the most if you really have it. There are theories floating around that a person who has a proficient practitioner as a blood relation has a higher possibility of having innate talent through genetics.
I can truthfully claim a blood lineage. I’ve met several practitioners that I’ve known well enough to know their family history, and can be assured that they have a blood lineage. And in a lot of cases there is a lot of innate ability there.
But this is still a limited selection that only includes practitioners. Most people related to magick practitioners don’t practice themselves. It’s a rarity, and it seems as if the closer the relation, the less likely it is for the relative to also practice. Children and siblings of practitioners rarely end up practicing themselves. Which leads me to the conclusion that even if innate ability is somehow genetic, it’s still a rarity for the genes to be passed on even when a family link exists.
And even if this were the case, it wouldn’t matter anyway considering that everyone claims a blood lineage. It’s rare to find an occult practitioner who doesn’t claim to have a practicing relative (usually a dead relative). Damn near every Wiccan’s grandmother was a witch. So in the end it doesn’t matter if a person claims a blood lineage, because most of the time they’re lying.
As for using lineage as a way to give credit where it is due, I don’t see a need for it. In no other field is a student required to list their teacher so that their teacher gets credit for the work they’ve produced. Even if the student is just reciting basic information that was obviously learned from a teacher. Truth is truth, it’s not created, it always was. No one owns it and no one deserves credit for the fact it exists. The only way a person could start to claim an ownership of information is if they were just making stuff up and then teaching it.
I also can’t see how a person can claim to be spiritually enlightened to the point of teaching, and at the same time be so vain as to care about getting credit for their teachings being passed on to others.
It’s a rather stupid and limited view, and it also perpetuates false ideals about the student-teacher relationship.
First off, that the relationship is completely onesided, and the student learns while the teacher teaches. In any true relationship, the teacher is gaining spiritual insight and learning from the student as they teach. To think otherwise leads to hubris, inflexiblity, and eventually the student=slave mentality (the teacher’s reward should come via the teaching, not what the student can give them).
Secondly a student is not their teacher. They are not limited to only their teacher’s views and their teacher’s influences and lineage. The student should explore their spirituality from their perspective, they should learn and grow through whatever truths they find, regardless of where they’re gotten from, and they should follow their spiritual path, not what is outlined by a teacher. Rather then falling back on what has been taught, a person should learn to think for themselves and draw conclusions on a given subject.
Thirdly, a student should become independent of their teacher. A teacher is, in the end, a stepping stone to getting to the next part of your spiritual path. Yes, they can become very close and dear friends, but at that point the relationship is changed. The teacher is just meant to get you from point A to point B. And once you reach point B, then it’s your time to learn and grow on your own without guidance. The student-teacher relationship, and what is implied in terms of superiorities, no longer exists. The student is now a master, or on their way to independently becoming one.
Many of the same issues arise when looking at lineage in terms of what systems a person has come out of. Whatever system (aka religion) we look at, what we get is an individuals spiritual path. The OTO utilizes Crowley’s spiritual path. BOTA utilizes Case’s spiritual path. The Golden Dawn utilizes Mather’s spiritual path.
The problem is that everyone’s spiritual path differs. Perhaps yours is enough like Crowley’s to follow the OTO to the letter and get where you need to be. But it’s very doubtful. Information from these systems is good to have. It can show you things, give you ideas, and aid you in walking your own path. But if you are a true practitioner, you should still be walking your own path, and not theirs.
And if you happen to be the type of person that likes a one size fits all religion, that likes to be told what to do and wants to know exactly what’s needed for them to properly walk their spiritual path, and doesn’t want to spend time and effort thinking about spiritual matters and the path and nature of their soul, then be Christian or something similiar. You aren’t going to be able to make it as a magick practitioner, and all you’re going to end up doing if you persist in following these spiritual beliefs is annoy me at some future point when we do meet.
Back to the point, in the end no one should need to know your lineage. True practitioners can feel energy, they can tell the difference between people who are learned and people who are not by what they say, they can judge the results of a practitioner’s magick, and they know what to look for in a sane and stable individual. If you truly are a practitioner, or powerful, or learned it will show to the people who matter. They don’t need to know where you came from or what degrees you hold. You are what defines you, and the basis of all true judgments.
In the end your lineage only matters to you. It’s what’s behind you in your path. If it was something that you gained something from or learned from, then it’s important. But no one else needs to know about it, and what you are now is what you should be judged by, not where you’ve been in the past.
You should also be wary of people who want to know your lineage, or people who talk about their own lineage at every opportunity. The first probably lack the ability to judge and screen practitioners, which makes their abilities questionable. The second probably have no real power, or are very limited in their power, and are relying on reputation or lineage to gain their authority and respect, because they can’t achieve it based on ability alone.