It’s something I’ve always noticed when meeting other pagans, the privacy of ones magick and learning. It’s lovely to hear that this person is a Druid, that one is a chaos magician and those folks are Wiccans. There is a deeply diverse set of ideas being practiced, so much so we not only lean on a strong foundation, but continue to fuel our own culture of magick. One of the main tenants of magick is The Four Powers of the Sphinx highly emphasised by Eliphas Levi, “to Know, to Will, to Dare and to Keep Silent,” which engraves the ideal that your magick is personal (for the Will) and intimate so you should keep silent on some areas, but happily discuss others with other Magickal folks to forward your learning.
I’m one of those individuals who keeps quiet on personal and intimate aspects of my Magickal performances and its journey. In fact, up until last August the only people I felt good enough to divulge in my secrets with could be counted on one hand, excluding the thumb. I didn’t like to open up too much because of how I was conditioned. When I met my first coven, (a very silly group of teenagers who didn’t take magick seriously, as they all tried to mirror the character of Nancy from The Craft), I suddenly felt the need to keep my practices to myself. Anytime I showed them my first Book of Shadows, they would either copy what I had, or moan that I was getting this wrong, and that wrong (when in fact I hadn’t because I hand copied most of my information from various books and authors). I was around the tender age of 13 so you can imagine the blow to my self esteem, and over time I stopped sharing my ideas with people. I developed a sense of intimacy as the years went on, due to the complexity and purity of my various contact rituals with elements of deity. At the same time I developed a feeling of insecurity and paranoia about what other people may say about my practice, so much so I used to get very defensive if someone tried to point out a flaw they had, when it was mirrored through me. Let me give you a small example…
I was chatting away with a guy a few years back. Hardcore Celtic pagan practitioner and very proud of his ancestry from the Anglo Saxons. I was quite deep into my practice of Egyptian, Roman and Greek paganism. I also started reading up and teaching myself about the philosophies of alchemy, Hermeticism and occult beliefs. Whenever this man and I would catchup over coffee he would go on and on and on about his beliefs. Whenever I gave what replies I could about how I would practice something different, and inform him I respected his views as they were all similar, he would be quick to jump down my throat and say that my beliefs were wrong. In fact, on one occasion he demanded I never study Crowley as he, like many still do, thought that it would be dangerous, wrong and that I wouldn’t be ready. What he didn’t know was I already started studying Crowley informally, little by little and I was quite happy. You can imagine what happened in that coffee shop that day, with him putting me down and telling me what to do. I flipped. I became very defensive and told him off, stating how everyone has their own journey to walk, by themselves. Just because he wasn’t adept enough to move onto or understand Crowley, didn’t mean I wasn’t.
That’s where the privacy element also comes in. With the Internet you can meet lots of like minded people, and discuss any area that intrigues you. I find, which is almost coincidental, that people keep their mouths shut in fear of subtle persecution for being a tiny bit different. Maybe that’s me? Or do you see it too? I still get defensive today, especially when I’ve practiced things most haven’t. At the moment the most prevalent subject in my practice is Buddhism. Buddhism is incredibly misunderstood, so much so even it’s many followers get their paths wrong. Whilst I’m a solitary Thelemite, I still catch up on Tonglen practice and honour Vajrayogini, including Buddhist mysticism/magick. Most Thelemites cannot, and will not discuss Buddhism because Crowley said its crap. If Crowley was alive today and looked at Buddhism properly I’m sure he would retract his ideas, like he did years before he died when he bad mouthed the Jewish folks. The times have changed…
I will run to the defence of the Universe, the deities and my HGA. I may do things differently, believe slightly different philosophies but they are what make me who I am. At the same time, you’re practices are moulded just for you too, and the closest I’ll get to your practices is if I think you have something I can learn. I love to learn!
When was the last time you felt a knot of defence grow in your gut? Do you ever feel like you can only open up about certain subjects with certain people, or anyone you meet?
Magick is private due to those tenants above, but because magick is so personal, as its pumps through your blood, you have to defend it often. Thankfully, my blog is my main area of sharing. I can write tiny elements of intimacy and be happy knowing someone will either agree, or disagree.