Pathwork to Mastery: Mastery's place in Western Magick & Spirituality Part 3

person practicing piano

At this point I see the scale of Apprentice, Journeyman, Master, Grand Master as:

Apprentice: Someone who has started study of a trade/system. This person has not yet formed a solid foundation of basic knowledge and technique to build upon. They may be excellent at one or two aspects of the trade/system, but their lack of basic knowledge is apparent to anybody in the field.

Journeyman: Someone who has a solid grasp of the basics and is studying new skills which build upon skills that have been previously learned. This grasp of the basics tends to allow Journeymen to serve their culture directly in a limited fashion.

Master: Someone who has a solid grasp of most/all of the skills needed to perform services that their culture requires of the trade/system with consistent excellence at a level most masters in the field generally consider acceptable.

Grand Master: Someone who studies and trains their skills to the extremes of cultural awareness. A normal person's first reaction to a true story of a Grand Master's skills is commonly disbelief and shock.

Adept: Someone who studies and trains their skills to such extreme that even Masters of the trade/system express disbelief and shock upon hearing true stories.

How does all this matter and/or apply?

It is incredibly difficult to be a master of more than a few things at a time and modern magickal practice covers way too many areas to master all at once. For example, I used to be able to move enough chi to physically shock and push people. The act of being able to do this required about 30-60 minutes of practice a day for about a month and a few dozen hours of specialized study (on top of the hundreds of hours I'd done over the years).

I chose to replace this with 30-60 minutes of practice per day of Divination Study. I am currently able to give pretty detailed readings from very limited evidence or even just pulling them down from spirit. However... my ability to move chi has atrophied! I can not do the acts I used to be able to do with chi. This is one example of many that we cannot be a master of everything. If you intend to study you will have to choose what you intend to master.

Luckily, apprentice/journeyman skills don't usually require much maintenance. I am a journeyman Violinist. I sound good to most ears. I have basics of music, can sheet read and all that. To master the violin I would have to practice probably at least an hour a day and that would get me good enough to join a small philharmonic. To join a large one, I'd have to become a grand master and practice 4-6 hours a day. However.... I'm content to be a journeyman. I studied for hundreds of hours to get here, but at this point I can ignore my violin for 6 months at a time and 5 minutes after I pick it up I can be making nice sounding music to amateur ears.

Using this experience I can recommend a more efficient path of study to someone just starting out in their magickal journey:

  1. Taste a little of everything: There a lot of stuff to try and you don't know what will excite you. Additionally as you do so you will start to see patterns. In magic, there are a few consistent basics that are necessary for most any specialty and this is what you are seeing.

  2. Learn the shared basics (Fundamentals and Basics): This sets the foundation for you to be able to see all the possibilities more clearly and prepares you to study what you choose to master.

  3. Choose a topic and Master it: By this time you should have found something that you would love to become great at.

  4. Find Students and Teach Others: You are neither Gods gift to the topic, nor a waste of time. If you have mastered the basics you can at least teach those. If you have mastered a topic you can teach that too. Don't claim a mastery you don't have of course. If you have a Master you can study under save yourself a TON of time and do so. Also be realistic about who is teaching you. A Grand Master will probably have no time for you unless you are a Master and an adept would probably demand you be a Grand Master before being willing to teach!

How much work/study are you looking at?  Learn more tomorrow in Part 4

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