Teen Witches

August 19, 2011

Last week A while back Albiana reposted an article she wrote about a teen witch she happened upon. If you’re not familiar with her blog, Albiana is a long time Pagan who has more recently joined up with a Garderian BTW sect. Her online persona is that of a wise and experienced, yet sassy, Wiccan. In her blog posts she often times uses this persona to poke fun at the stupidity, ignorance, or absurdity she finds within the Pagan community. It’s a fun blog to read, mainly due to her bitching.

It’s difficult to take issue with Albiana’s post. Her online persona is critical of every minor infraction against intelligence and common sense, and that’s why she’s fun. It’s only supposed to be taken seriously to a point, and beyond that it’s just entertainment. But this post in particular resonated with me, because we adults in the community do treat teens pretty shitty, and we often times don’t give them the proper respect they deserve. These teens then grow up without guidance, and being resentful towards us, and they’ll become the immature and stupid middle-aged people we all complain about having to deal with.

The phrase that Albiana overheard, which set-off the post was this:

“Yeah, so I’ve decided to be vegan now. Oh, and I finally told my parents I was bi, which made them completely freak, but then what can they do, right? I’m almost 16 and in a few years when I’m 18 they won’t have a say at all anyway. Besides, they got more pissed off when I told them I wanted to practice vampire wicca, but its my life not theirs so they can just deal.”

My first impression is complete awe. This teen has such a strong command of the English language that she’s able to express herself in a grammatically correct way, and she can do it without using profanity. However I’m assuming Albiana was paraphrasing from memory, and so this wasn’t the teen vampire-Wiccan talking, but Albiana herself. In that case I have to point out that I’m pretty sure ‘vampire wicca’ is hyphenated, but I’m not positive on that point.

My second impression is that this is a typical teenage girl. I really don’t expect much from them. Even the most intelligent teenager is still going to be largely immature, because maturity is derived from life experience, which teenagers lack. Their spiritual experiences are, at best, still minimal and their spiritual understanding is almost entirely speculation, and they typically have accumulated very little theoretical information, and next to no practical information, to develop that speculation. It’s largely a matter of time. I’ve lived twice as long as a teenager, and the older I’ve gotten the better I’ve gotten at reading. As far as life experiences go, as far as accumulated information goes, age is a huge advantage.

Teenagers are also rebellious and experimental. They do things just to piss their parents off. They also try out new things, sexually, spiritually, and dietary.

Albiana also talks about how these teens never do any real magic because they’re scared of what might happen. It’s probably true, but it’s also normal. They’re still children, and children are scared of things. I don’t mock a three year old for being scared of the dark, and I’m not about to mock a teen for being scared of a demon, or even a simple ghostie.

I’m not scared of these things, but I can easily deal with a ghostie and I can hold my own against a Goetic spirit. But I can see why someone would be afraid of a ghost or a demon. I know how to hurt a spirit, and I know how to kill one, and I’ve tested myself against some pretty nasty things and survived. There’s empowerment in all of that, and that empowerment helps with not being afraid. If I had never fought a spirit, if I didn’t know what I know, a simple ghostie would seem invulnerable. I would see myself as powerless against it. That can be a very scary place to be.

When people get so bent out of shape over something stupid a teenager did or said, I immediately assume one of two things about them. Either they live their lives terrified that someone who knew them back in high school will one day expose them for what they were as a teenager, or they’ve managed to romanticize their teenage years. Sure they may have done kid stuff, but they were intelligent and mature, and even cool about it, and nothing like these kids today.

Fortunately I didn’t really find my spiritual path until after my teen years. It wasn’t something that seemed all that important to me. So there is no goth-vampire-Wicca phase in my past. Still I’ll admit I was just as much of an embarrassment as a teenager, I just found things other than spirituality to focus myself on. Remembering the way I was, it’s hard for me to be critical of the teens I meet today.

There are adults that act like this. When a thirty, or forty, or fifty year old, or an even older person acts like this, they’re a lost cause. There’s nothing that can be done to help them if they’re that spiritually inept and generally immature at such an old age. They’re also going to be looking for things like power, control, and respect, all meaningless things that will prevent them from ever finding spiritual truth.

Teenagers though are awesome. Teenagers are just being teens when they do these things, and they all still have potential to grow up into really powerful magicians. Teenagers have an excuse for being ignorant, immature, and spiritually inept. Sometimes they come into the community to be rebellious and piss off their parents, but even when they do they’re drawn into rebelling in this direction because they have an interest in spirituality. It’s very rare to see one who wants a place of power and respect in the community or control over other people. Usually their motives are more or less pure, and they’re genuinely seeking spiritual truth.

For a lot of them, it’s going to be a phase. Right now I’d say only one and ten will still be involved with some sort of minority faith at thirty years old. But can you blame them? They’re mocked by the more respectable adult members of the community, they’re offered little in terms of guidance, and the only people willing to teach them are usually emotionally unbalanced adults that want to have power over them and possibly take advantage of them. Sadly, the most intelligent among them will see the community for exactly what it is and run away from it. The ten percent that stay are going to be so spiritually adept they don’t really need the community, or so stupid and easily manipulated that they’ll never amount to anything.

It’s the way we approach teenagers. Most teenagers need spiritual guidance when they’re first starting out. Just like most adults need spiritual guidance when they’re first starting out. Responsible adults also need to guard them within the community. There’s a lot of people who would take advantage of them, and there are quite a few more that set a bad example. Teenagers can be taken advantage of more easily. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid or gullible, and it isn’t their fault. They lack the life-experience to see things from the perspective of the adult that is victimizing them, and they often don’t understand why what’s being done to them is wrong.

They also don’t have much experience dealing with spiritual issues. They may be afraid of a lot of things. That’s normal, and a psychologically healthy response. They don’t have the spiritual tools to defend themselves, and they don’t yet have confidence in their magical abilities. That can make them feel very powerless, and make spiritual threats seem invulnerable and unstoppable. What they need is an experienced magician or magicians to take them by the hand and back them up. It’s a safety net for them, so they know that if they get in over their heads there’s someone powerful there who can fix it.

At the same time they need to be regarded as people. They deserve to be treated with the same respect as everyone else. They should be listened to, and they shouldn’t be mocked for having an opinion, being wrong about something, or exploring things. We should also keep in mind that we aren’t their parents. It isn’t our place to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do, or what they should or shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t hold it against them because they disagree with us, or because they make a life choice that seems silly to us.

We have to allow them to explore things, to do things, to make mistakes, and discover knowledge for themselves, even if they’re going to get hurt in the process. None of us were content to listen to the advice of our elders, and the same is true of the teenagers of today and tomorrow. We’ve all chosen a spiritual path that is dependent on personal growth and evolution through spiritual experiences. Children need to have those same spiritual experiences in order to evolve and grow. It’s not a type of knowledge that can be imparted to them.

Sex, Nudity, Magick, and Community Participation.

January 13, 2011

One of the more appalling aspects of the community, for me anyways, are people getting taken advantage of sexually. And it’s not that I don’t care or think its not as bad when people are taken advantage of another way, like say financially. It’s that people getting taken advantage of sexually, at least from what I’ve seen, is a much bigger problem in the community, partly because the behavior has become somewhat acceptable in the community.

I’m a very strong proponent of both sex magick and skyclad practice. Sex magick is a valid form of magical practice. It can yield results and their are a lot of unique aspects to it and interesting things to try. Inside of the right environment and with the right partners it can be a very spiritually rewarding experience. Plus I really like both sex and magick. In my eyes the fellow who first put the two together is a genius of the same caliber as the guy who thought to put a hamburger patty inside of two Krispy Kreme donuts.

As for skyclad practice, I’ve practiced skyclad in the past and actually prefer skyclad practice. I think it’s a spiritually beneficial practice and the positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones. I also think that there may be other non-spiritual advantages for at least some people, such as increased self-esteem and a more positive body image. Plus I think whatever it is you happen to be doing, you’d probably enjoy doing it more if you were naked.

Good luck putting together a skyclad group though (unless you hope to include only gay men or straight women). It’s even getting hard to have a serious discussion about sex magic in a group. And the big reason why we can’t have these things, why people aren’t willing to participate or at least experiment and try these things, is because we allow sexual predation in the community.

Most women are at least a little bit cautious about putting themselves into situations where they might be raped in some way. Most straight men won’t show up to a skyclad ritual unless there are at least a few women, which usually has more to do with either a fear of being tricked into showing up to a gay orgy or a fear of being labeled gay because they attended the event. And there are valid reasons for both men and women to be cautious of being raped or otherwise sexually used by both men and women, since sexual predators can be either gender and of any of any sexual orientation.

And attending an event where you and everyone else is expected to be naked isn’t really the safest situation not to get raped in. The only people who will attend those types of events (without some kind of manipulation at least) are people who feel relatively safe within the group, or people who would actually like to have sex with everyone present, men and women.

With a large mixed gender group of a dozen or more people, most people under normal circumstances would feel safe. In a group that large, you would expect that if one person grabbed you and tried to take you somewhere, or tried to rape you right in front of everyone, or even tried to take advantage of you, that the rest of the group would be completely appalled by their behavior. Not only would they defend you against the individual, but the individual would be ostracized from the group, and the group would cooperate with police which would probably result in the person being punished and ending up in prison.

That’s the case with a normal group. Not with a magical group. Go look at some magical groups within your local community. Within a lot of these groups, there is sexual predation happening, and the other group members accept this. Within the larger community there is also sexual predation happening which individual practitioners also accept. This may not be outright rape, but it’s still predation and it’s still wrong. The fact that this happens doesn’t inspire people to believe that if an outright rape did happen that the other participants would help them at all. They might allow it to happen, and even help to cover up the fact that it did happen. Even if that isn’t the case, it’s implied by the fact that they allow lesser offenses to happen.

Think about it, how many group leaders, teachers, and supposed community elders are requiring sex from certain people for initiation or teaching or other services? How many people are using spiritual arguments to convince people into sleeping with them that normally wouldn’t? How many people are playfully groping or touching others in ways that make them feel uncomfortable? And how much disgust do we see because of these behaviors?

Seriously I can’t remember the last time someone in the community, man or woman, talked about this stuff and was really upset that it was happening to someone else. Meanwhile I can’t even begin to count the amount of times people have jokingly referred to an older group leader’s habit of sexual initiations with teenage girls while at the same time having the utmost reverence and respect for him (and yes there was a specific guy like this in my local community to which I’m referring, who is still very well respected, but fortunately dead now).

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that many people look at alternative (ie non-Christian) spiritualities as doing away with a lot of oppressions, one of the big ones being sexual oppressions. Under our new spiritual beliefs sex is no longer typically a bad thing. Premarital sex is okay. Casual sex is okay. Homosexual sex is okay. Alternate sexual practices are okay. We come to the conclusion that the rules against sex inherent to Christianity and other religions were created for no other reason but to repress us and limit our pleasure, and not put into place because of some valid (at least at the time) concerns about certain sexual practices. Ultimately a lot of us have come to the conclusion that any kind of consensual sex, at least in regards to legal adults, is okay or even righteous and beautiful and shouldn’t be judged.

But that is simply not the case. Sex is not always an amoral act. Sex can be a very hurtful and destructive act, and engaging in consensual sex can be wrong.

There are of course little wrongs and big wrongs. People make mistakes within romantic relationships and other people get hurt, and sex is part of that. We’d all have to remain celibate and never so much as entertain the idea of dating anyone ever if we want to be safe from screwing up and risk hurting other people. At the same time I think most sexually active people can think of a time when they shouldn’t have slept with someone or did some other sexual act with them because it hurt someone they cared about.

The problem is the big wrongs. These are things any moral person knows is wrong before they do it, where they know they’re going to hurt the other person, and they do it anyways because they don’t care. When a person in their forties is having sex with an eighteen year old, there is something very wrong with that sexual relationship. We know the eighteen year old is being manipulated and taken advantage of.

Sexual harassment is wrong. It’s not wrong to express attraction or sexuality and people do sometimes get their signals crossed and maybe overstep a boundary and do something that is unwelcomed. However when a person makes it clear that certain advances or acts are unwelcomed and the second person continues to do them anyways, or when a person is put into a situation where they’re intimidated or otherwise led into believing that it would be unwise for them to express their discomfort this is harassment, and it’s wrong.

Basically any time that you get someone to have sex with you for any reason other then the fact that they like you, find you attractive, and want to have sex with you it’s wrong. When someone uses spirituality or spiritual arguments to have sex with someone else, that is wrong. In my eyes that’s one of the worst things you can do spiritually, because you’re trading your spirituality to almost rape someone.

We all know this argument. It’s used by lots of different predators. They use it to convince straight people to experiment and have homosexual sex. They use it to convince young people to have sex with old people. They use it to convince attractive people to have sex with overweight withered old hags. They use it to convince people to be polyamorous. They use it to convince people to engage in deviant sexual acts they normally would never want to try.

The arguments usually come in the forms of moving beyond your boundaries and doing things you normally wouldn’t do, or things that may outright disgust you, because this will give you greater magical power. I’ve also seen arguments along the lines of you should be willing to have sex with anybody because it will open up your options in regards to things like having sex with a demon possessed person during a ritual.

It’s one thing if a person makes the decision on their own that they would like to try new sexual acts they normally wouldn’t because they believe this may improve their spiritual self and then they go and seek out those acts. It’s another thing for a person to try to convince another of this for the sole purpose of having sex with them (under no circumstances should you ever take advice about who you should have sex with from someone who wants to have sex with you, unless they’re your spouse).

It’s also wrong for someone to withhold spiritual training, teaching or initiation from someone unless they have sex with them. It’s also wrong to try to convince someone that the only way to follow their spiritual path, reach their true potential, or achieve true initiation is through sex or a sexual act.

Most of the people in the community are not sexual predators. Most of us know these acts are wrong and would never do them or participate in them. The problem is that the vast majority of the community tolerates this behavior, or at best remains silent about it. And we shouldn’t do that, if not because it’s wrong then because we all end up labeled as sexual predators and we are all ultimately punished when we are no longer allowed to do or even talk about anything spiritually that may involve nudity or sex because no one will show up to our group or function because of it.

What we need to do is very simple. If we don’t tolerate this behavior, it will get better. If someone in your group, even a leader, is taking sexual advantage of people speak out against them. Talk to other members of the group, speak with their intended victims and offer your advice, and confront the person. And if the group does not kick the person out and make it clear that there behavior won’t be tolerated, leave and take as many members as you can with you.

If you know that the local shop owner or someone on their staff is taking sexual advantage of people, stop shopping there and inform as many customers as you can.

If you know someone is a sexual predator, don’t associate with them. Don’t allow them into your group. Don’t allow them at your functions. Make it very clear that you are not going to associate with them, and that you look disfavorably on anyone who does.

When people make light of and are generally accepting of a situation involving sexual predation, confront them about it. Make a scene and make them ashamed of the way they’re acting. Make it clear that they are doing something wrong by accepting this behavior, even if they aren’t the perpetrator, and that people in the community like yourself find this unacceptable.

And above all, talk about these things. With sexual predation or any other type of manipulation or fraud in the community, the thing that allows these people to continue to get away with this stuff is that people in the community don’t talk. The largest communities out there are still fairly small, small enough that word of mouth can move through them very fast. If you know someone is a sexual predator or if you know a group allows sexual predation, tell everyone you know. Ruin their reputation. I don’t understand it with all of the drama and bullshit and rumors floating around the community, but when it’s something important like a high priest/ess that rapes new initiates, no one ever wants to gossip about it.

We need to cut off membership to the groups that support this behavior. We need to stop shopping at stores that support this kind of behavior. And we need to ostracize and make it clear that no respectable person in the community will associate with or help people that are sexual predators. When we do this the worst of the predators will be kicked out of the community, and the rest will at least be restrained out of a fear that their actions will have very serious consequences.

BTW I apologize for the series of community rants that has recentally overtaken my blog. Next up I promise something that specifically deals with practical magic. Expect either a spell or ritual of some sort or an article on the properties of common herbs.

Charmed, Harry Potter, Fluffy Bunnies, Laziness, Seriousness, & Power: Everything That Is Wrong With the Community.

November 17, 2010

Because I make good blog posts all year, I’m allowed one post a year where I write whatever I feel like so long as it is technically on-topic. It can be stupid, cryptic, or just me bitching. I didn’t make a post like this last year. This is my post for this year.

I don’t like the term fluffy bunny. I’ve been called a fluffy bunny before. In fact, I’ve been called a fluffy bunny and accused of practicing dark magicks which are too dangerous to be played around with in the same sentence. So am I a dark evil LHPer or am I a fluffy bunny? I don’t care so much, I just want to know who I’m supposed to hang out with during the next Pagan Pride event.

I guess it doesn’t bother me as much as it could because I’m not Wiccan. The term is entirely Wiccan. It is almost always used by Wiccans to describe other Wiccans in a negative way. To me that implies that it’s a term that no one should ever use, ever. From my experience, the term fluffy bunny means, “Someone who doesn’t practice the exact same religion as me,” or “Someone who approaches spirituality differently than I do.”

Those of us in the magical community, as a group, have been called by outsiders evil, immoral, incompassionate, criminal, child molesters, rapists, serial killers, animal abusers, and just about every other horrible name imaginable. The people who do that are mean assholes. And yet some members of the community have found it necessary to create an entirely new name to call people in the community. They’re also mean assholes.

If you use the term fluffy bunny, there’s no difference between yourself and some Christian extremist who preaches against Wiccans. You’re calling someone a name and being mean to them because they happen to have different spiritual views than yourself. The fact that you happen to belong to a minority faith and experience a good deal of bigotry because of it doesn’t excuse the behavior. In fact it makes it worse that you choose to participate in it.

Fluffy bunnies leads right into a common complaint in the magical community about people who have derived their spiritual beliefs from Charmed, or Harry Potter, or the Craft, or any other media portrayal of magic. When people talk about all those people who think magic works like Charmed, my response is, “So?”. I honestly don’t understand what the problem is or why these people care.

First off if someone happens to be turned on to magic and exploring their spirituality because of Charmed or the Craft there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s where someone’s coming from, that’s their spiritual path. It’s not the same as my path, but we’re different people, and my own path is fairly atypical anyways. The important thing is that the person had something open their eyes to a magical universe and set them on their current path. All of us should be proud of how we came upon our magical path and people shouldn’t be making others feel ashamed of how they came about their spirituality, even if it was derived from Charmed. Well, I mean they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for any reason besides the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is superior in every way and yet they chose to watch the crappy urban fantasy show.

From what I gather though most people don’t have too much of a problem with people who simply got turned on to magic from some media portrayal. What most people are upset about are these people who think that Charmed or whatever is how magic really operates, and so they create some sort of spiritual practice mimicking what they see on the show. This is the real problem people have. Once again though I don’t see a problem here.

There are two outcomes to this situation. The first is, absolutely nothing happens and they waste their time because Charmed is fiction and none of it is real. I don’t see anything wrong with this scenario. They didn’t waste my time and if that’s how they enjoy spending their free time and it makes them happy, then they should probably keep doing that. The second outcome is that, for whatever reason, they actually achieve success, in which case maybe we all should be following the gospel of Charmed.

Now some people say that these Charmed people make all of Wicca or Paganism or the Magic Community out to be a joke and no one will ever take us seriously because of them. That isn’t happening. No one actually believes this. The magic community hasn’t had any respectability since sometime in the 1970s. We were a huge joke before most of these people were even born. I’ll admit these people aren’t doing anything to help the situation, but at this point they really can’t do any more harm.

Bottom line what’s happening is certain people in the community are telling other people in the community how they can or can’t practice their spirituality. That’s strange because people in the community have been told their entire life by family, neighbors, schools, churches, politicians, judges, employers, and coworkers how they can or can’t practice their spirituality. And none of us like it when it happens to us. When we see it happening to someone else, most of us get pissed off and want to fight it. We don’t put up with judges telling parents their children can’t participate in their religion. We don’t put up with politicians treating us like a second tier religion. We don’t even put up with Pagan convicts not getting the same religious priveleges as Christian convicts.

Yet certain people certain people in the community think it’s okay to attack other people in the community in the exact same way. They’re vocal that these people shouldn’t be practicing what they’re practicing. That their spirituality is wrong. And it’s wrong because it’s different and it’s in opposition to what someone else believes in.

I know some people are upset because these Charmed Wiccans come to them wanting to be taught or to join their coven or whatever. Here’s the thing about someone wanting to be taught by you. You have all of the leverage in that situation. You can say no and there is really nothing they can do about it. They can demand you teach them, they can argue that you’re obligated to teach them, they can really say any number of things. But ultimately you don’t have to teach them. Problem solved. You should be flattered people want to be taught by you. I don’t understand why this is an issue.

Sometimes the real problem is that these are the only kinds of people that want to be taught by you or join your coven or whatever. I’ve seen people outright admit that this is what the real problem is. At that point though you really need to look at yourself. Maybe there’s something you need to change about yourself or your group to attract a higher quality person. Maybe your standards are just too high. Maybe this is the universe telling you that you just aren’t ready to be a teacher or a coven leader yet. But the fact that you cannot recruit the students or members you want has nothing to do with your prospects and what they practice. It is entirely a reflection on yourself and that is where the problem lies.

And I do think a lot of this is really peer pressure. When a person enters a new group or first enters the community, they’re usually exposed to a group of people who talk about fluffy bunnies and how stupid they are and how they believe Charmed is how magic really works. They bitch about them and how they’re ruining the community and make jokes at their expense. This group of people is usually being led by the older members, and often times the senior members, of the group, and usually the majority of the group will go along with them. A lot people I think just join in with the bitching and the joke either to be accepted and not looked down upon by these people, or at least not to alienate the group and its senior members.

These people are sort of like bullies in school. They’re the cool clique who are picking on the kids who are different or beneath them, and most of the school is going to go along with them instead of becoming an outcast themselves. When your a teenager, or younger, this kind of behavior might be acceptable because at least then you had the excuse that you were young and stupid and didn’t know any better. But as adults, going along with people who act like that and submitting to the group mentality is not acceptable behavior. In fact I would say that as an adult when you see people acting like that and bullying other people you have a moral obligation to confront them, to call them out, to expose them for what they are, and stand up for their victims who may not be strong enough to stand up for themselves. If you’re not going to do that for whatever reason you at least have a moral obligation not to participate in and encourage their behavior.

Another thing I see a lot of people mad about is laziness. They talk about how a lot of people in the community want power or status or training or information or to join a group or whatever else, but these people don’t want to do the hard work that’s needed to get these things. These people want to take shortcuts and have things handed to them.

As a magician I can’t understand how any magician, regardless of your exact spiritual beliefs and practices, can be upset at someone for being lazy and not wanting to do the work. They should be happy that they’ve found such a remarkably advanced student. Whether you’re a Ceremonial Magician, Pagan, Voodoo Practitioner, New Ager, or whatever, magic is all about taking shortcuts and getting things the easy way instead of doing the actual work.

Look at the medieval magical goal of turning lead into gold. The whole idea here is whatever process you’re going to have to go through to turn that lead into gold, it’s going to be easier than finding gold in the ground and mining it. Even with a modern prosperity spell the idea is that casting the spell is going to be easier than going out and earning the money. Maybe you are going to work to earn the money at the same time, but you’re still casting the prosperity spell with the hope that it will make earning the money easier. You wouldn’t knowingly cast a spell that would make it harder to earn that money. And if casting the spell was more difficult than going out and getting a second job to earn the money, I doubt you’d be casting it then either.

Even if you believe magic is all about spirituality, it’s still a shortcut. You could progress spiritually without magic. You’d still go through your life having your life lessons. You’d learn, you’d grow, and you’d die better off than you started. When you use magic though what you’re doing is over-analyzing things and using your knowledge of metaphysical laws to create phenomena and situations that wouldn’t normally occur, all with the intent of accelerating the rate of your spiritual progression. It’s a shortcut and you’re cheating.

So what we’ve actually done is create numerous religions and groups all based in the idea of figuring out ways to not do the work and still get the reward. And now the people in these religions and groups are going to be upset that new people who are attracted to and want to join these groups and religions don’t want to do the work. When you really think about it, it blows your mind.

And I’ve set this before, so now I’m repeating myself, but if magic is hard work for you, you’re doing something wrong. It’s not supposed to be hard work. Magic isn’t hard work for me. I work hard when I go to work. They pay me money for that. I’m rewarded for my efforts. I work for money so I can do magic, so it damn well better be enjoyable.

Some people argue that magic works the same way. You put in the time now and you do the work and somewhere down the road you’ll get rewarded. Years in the future when you’re an all powerful magician that will be your reward.

That’s bullshit. As Koopa said, “The journey is the destination.” There is no reward down the road. Whatever you’re getting out of practicing your spirituality and doing magic, that’s your reward. That’s all you’re ever going to get. So if you’re not getting something that makes it worth doing right now, don’t expect something better later on.

I hate people who use the word work when they talk about magic. I hate people who bitch about how hard and difficult the magical path is. If it’s really hard and difficult and work for you, do something fun instead like play video games or watch movies.

I think magic is really fun. I think most people who get into it will enjoy themselves and have fun with it if they approach it correctly. Memorizing crap and reading boring British authors and casting a banishing ritual for the umpteenth time and walking in a circle singing songs about being in a circle in a circle and having some group leader give you tests you have to pass like your in tenth grade is boring. That isn’t fun. But things like astral projection and evoking demons and reading grimoires out loud to see what happens and sex magic are like going to adult Disneyland (it’s an amusement park for adults, but with sex magic!). So if you’re doing the stuff from column B instead of column A, you’re going to have fun. If you’re doing all that stuff in column A though, yea it’s probably going to suck. And then you’re going to wonder why no one else wants to do the work to learn magic.

I really only have two problems with these hard work people. First is when they get all full of themselves. “I’ve done all this great magical work, I’ve put in my time, blah, blah, blah.” This is usually followed by claims of power and then demanding that other people listen to and respect them. Those sorts of people just irk me. Even more so because they usually don’t have the kind of knowledge and power they claim and they aren’t deserving of any respect.

The other problem I have is these sorts of people try to ruin other people’s fun. More importantly, my fun. I wouldn’t have a problem with these people if they just kept to themselves and their hard work, because it doesn’t involve me. I wouldn’t even know about these people if that’s what they did. There is no way in hell I would seek that out. These people are super vocal though. They want to ruin everyone’s fun and make everyone work. And the reason they do this is because they want the respect of other people. They want admiration from others for having done this work and they want to be regraded as great and powerful members of the magical community. And they don’t like idea of someone exceeding them, or even reaching their level, without first doing the work they had to do to get to where they are.

The last thing I want to talk about is seriousness. A lot of people have been complaining about this lately. People aren’t taking their spirituality seriously. They don’t take these religions, magical practices, or training seriously. I see it complained about in just about every spirituality and belief system sometimes. Lately I’ve seen a lot of Wiccans complaining about it, so I’m going to pick on them for a minute.

Now I’ve read the Farrars, Cunningham, Buckland, and I’ve also been privileged with some of the supposedly secret materials that some trads have which are reserved for high ranking oath bound members. In none of this literature have I found anything that says you have to take this shit seriously. Wicca is varied and at times eclectic, so there are a lot of different branches and beliefs and systems. But I can’t find any information from any branch of Wicca that says you have to take this stuff seriously.

The one Pagan source I can find that talks about being serious about your spirituality is Bonewitz. And what does Bonewitz say? He says if you’re taking things really seriously, that’s a bad thing. He says their should be some sort of levity and humor in your group’s approach to spirituality. If that isn’t there, that’s one of his signs that what you’re joining is a cult.

And this is true of just about all of these religions and groups that make up the magical community. If you read the literature, no where does it ever say you have to be serious about this stuff. In fact quite a few different systems say you shouldn’t take it all that seriously.

This idea of taking spirituality seriously is derived from Christianity. It’s another example of people who used to be Christian trying to get away from that religion and embrace something new inside of the magical community, and yet they insist on imposing the ideologies and concepts of their past religion on their new spiritual belief system.

Even in Christianity it’s a concept a lot of Christians and churches embrace, but it isn’t clearly spelled out in the bible. There are a few passages where if you really read between the lines and pick up on the subtext and you also assume that certain things are implied and interpret everything in a very particular way you could come to the conclusion that you’re supposed to take spirituality seriously. But it’s never explicitly stated. There isn’t some guy in the bible who makes fun of the size of God’s penis and then gets struck down by lightening.

All of the things I’ve bitched about have something in common. They are all essentially about people who are telling other people how they should practice their spirituality, how they should practice magic, and how they should practice their religion. The problem is that there are people in the community who have taken it upon themselves to tell other people how to be spiritual. It comes down to people trying to attain power over other people.

And magic is largely about power. The people trying to attain this power are usually people who have not been able to attain large amounts of power spiritually. After all if they were all powerful magicians, why would they need to steal other people’s power, especially something as petty as stealing someone’s ability to choose their spiritual path?

Meanwhile the people who allow themselves to be victimized, who let these people tell them how they can and can’t practice their spirituality, who let these people make them feel ashamed of what they practice, or the people who give in to peer pressure and join in attacking people who may be different are not on the road to becoming powerful magicians and adepts. Magic is largely about power, and if you’re giving away your power, especially to assholes like that, where do you think that’s going to get you? Part of being an adept is coming to the realization that you have power over yourself and you get to do whatever you want; no one gets to tell you what you can and can’t do.