The last I checked, without some sort of study you would fail. Its this amount of studying that separates, rather than holds us together, that grows to become a big issue. I had seen a few videos a while back, which I actually took quite an offence to, about how and why becoming an academic is unnecessary and big headed. I see how that might affect the outcome of some individuals, but if that is what makes them happy who are you to judge? How do you know what it is they do? How do you not know that the power of thought is a tool that requires intense study? Just thinking about your Will after closing a well read book can manifest into something great.
There are some pagans who feel that once they’ve read something, that it immediately means they are a pagan of some sort. I wouldn’t go that far, to be pagan requires the understanding that it takes two to tango. Without practice you are at square one and you are not moving an inch. However, I would call that person an amateur pagan philosopher/academic—still holding the title of pagan, but with ‘other stuff’. I would suggest they make a note of what they have read, to better their minds as it expands, but make time for practice. I wouldn’t go as far as trying to bombard them with ‘clever abuse’ just because. That’s not fair. Its like being a parent (to which I am a guardian of three), keep their heads to the ground but give them the freedom within that space. Say “Look, read whatever the hell you want, but I expect you to write me 3 spells/rituals and practice one form of centre working (meditation etc.)” That way they are comfortable.
Now, I’m not going to go into too much of my own opinion on the small group of people who are openly ignorant of themselves and their study, as there is no need; they are failing themselves and we needn’t have to interfere. But I will ask why the academic path is so wrong? For years I have ‘battled’ with pagan people about the ins and outs of belief of philosophy, or magickal workings only to win each and every argument. If I hadn’t found the books, I never would have had the successes from my workings, let alone found my path of peace.
I practice maybe half as much as I read. I am one of those people who won’t learn something solid unless I am able to digest it or practice it. I can’t learn lines unless I am in character practising. I can’t learn a philosophical theory unless I try to work it into my life. I wouldn’t know what kind of person I was without developing a taste for various writers. My auntie, as mean as she can be, made sure that books were my only foundation in life; without them I was nothing. I believe that maybe 85% of the time, but I value the practices just as much.
Back in the olde days, in fact much further back, a lot of teachings were taught by spoken mouth. People hadn’t written things down for two reasons, 1) Too secretive and not so pure to write down the words of deity and spirit. 2) Way to much hassle to write everything up for a class, plus most people were illiterate anyway. (I am trying to make history fun here, I’m feeling your vibes! Do not judge!)… Anyway, the whole practise of keeping spells or information etc in your mind about correspondences for example is spread via mouth today. That doesn’t mean, because you never read a book to confirm what you believe, that it automatically makes you a better pagan than the rest. It just makes you a very clever pagan practitioner of some sort. I can guarantee if a demon came stomping through your house you would either start reading in order to get rid of it, or you would come to an academic weirdo like me for help.
I was 11/12 when I first realised magick was for real. It was more than the folk magick I grew up around, and Fairuza Balk was into it (she was my girl crush for years!). I had a few books, and borrowed many from my best friend at the time. We practised together and it was great. I realised around that age that I had to read, and re-read something enough times to feel confident enough to practise it. If I couldn’t feel good about it, I would throw it to the back of my mind and come back later. Even some of the rituals I learn/write up today I draw out the shapes the energy lines will make on scrap paper before I attempt to charge anything in the air.
I remember being told that I needed to study hardcore for a year and a day without practice. Funny enough, I put myself through that and with success, but I had already been studying and practising for years before. I must say, with that extra year of pure concentration I learnt a hell of a lot that would have missed otherwise. Imagine all the things these people wouldn’t find until much later in life, when they could have been studying instead of moaning about the clever fucks like myself.
I am getting quite passionate and annoyed! More swearing may ensue.
I love a good book. If there is something someone learnt that they want to share, write a book or create a blog. That is what I aim to do. Easier still, pass on your message via YouTube, but bare in mind the ‘chapters’ you upload are only snippets of your mindscape and a lot of people won’t understand straight away, so be patient with the negative comments and be sure to know they are smaller than you. Small things always want to try and attack the big thing above them, it’s one of the laws of nature so don’t worry.
These individuals who write or make videos about why being academic is silly, make me want to study more. For me, I know studying keeps me grounded, opens my mind and helps me to reaffirm why I am happy to be who I am. Plus, when I am feeling lonely at the weekends or after college during the week, I can read and write to my hearts content while the world blows all around me.
My practices have become so well developed and composed due to my academic thirst. I have much clearer view of certain aspects of magick than most and I am proud. Thanks to the spoken and written words, various ego-idealistic personalities don’t affect me. I have no use for jealousy, taunting behaviour or bad manners. I do however, have a need to make my personal connection to deity a stronger one, which thankfully is being satisfied each day. There is a subtle feeling of warmth here too, knowing that what one person says is a copy of what has already been written and they are deluded.
Be academic if you want to, but practice what you preach. And to those who feel the need to point the finger with waging tongues, grow up, you can do so much better but your negative ego limits you.
Academia, fuck yeah!