Pathwork to Mastery: Mastery's place in Western Magick & Spirituality Part 2

boy walking through a library

At an early age I saw the incredible focus needed for mastery of mature skillsets and out of laziness I consistently learned enough to access my natural talents in an area and then rested on my laurels.

I did this again and again on topic after topic. I learned a little about a lot and as time went by, a general pattern emerged from this broad range of knowledge. I started noticing consistencies between incredibly diverse fields of study and practice. Little by little, I was able to use these patterns to learn new things faster and faster. It got to where I started looking like a natural when I picked up study after study. I also learned that rare skills are very easy to train to the point of seeming mastery (when in truth they were apprentice/journeyman level skills). I started thinking I was hot shit.

Unfortunately, this thinking was based on a delusion that I was learning everything I needed to learn to Master something. Luckily, I met a teacher who effectively communicated that I was lying to myself.

Over a period of 7 years, I decided to focus on mastering something. During that time I went from assuming talented apprentice skills meant mastery, to journeyman skills meant mastery, to mastery = peer acceptance by persons you consider masters (the subject of my last mastery post.)

Since then I've met and learned from persons I consider Grand Masters and heard them describe the skills of persons I perceive as Adepts, and because of this I routinely question if I've ever reached past skilled journeyman stage in any of my endeavors.

An honest looks shows that I mastered website design and marketing. I have a masterpiece in that realm. Additionally by modern American Standards I am a master of magic (masterpiece there too), but by spiritually mature cultural standards I am merely a rather dull apprentice. Thinking about this brings up three concepts to me...

One: The ability to learn quickly is based on applying the patterns of previous study to things you are currently learning. Learning a little bit about a lot is not a substitute for mastery. A broad range of general learning does not empower you to master things quickly. The skillset necessary to become a journeyman only empowers you to learn to be a journeyman more quickly. If you ever seek to become a master you must do the work and learn to master something. THEN you will be able to apply those skills toward mastering something else.

Two: The consistent focus, learning and training into true mastery of a field will empower you to perform incredible (to your culture) feats. The ability to leverage a broad range of skills often CAN be a poor substitute to mastering something, but the difference in quality is like the difference between a modern motorhome and a cargo van with a mattress inside.

Three: The skillsets required of a Master depend heavily on your culture. The phrase for something everyone can do is either “common knowledge” or “common sense.” Mastery is the process of studying a topic until your skill set with it is:

  1. Uncommon to your culture

  2. Not easily learned in a short period of time with the resources available to most of your culture.

  3. Sufficient to perform services that your culture requires of the trade with consistent excellence.

In America someone who can do basic computer repair is an apprentice. In some villages of Africa that skill set might make you a local Computer Master.

But how exactly do we apply this in Western Magick/Spiritual Practices?

Learn More in Part 3

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