“To all applicants it prescribes study; definite, hard study. The same kind of study as is asked for of those who would be doctors, lawyers, engineers, soldiers or even cab-drivers.” – Aleister Crowley, ‘Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1’
Putting myself through an almost rigorous, self-taught method of practice has pushed me further than I ever thought I would go. If someone told me I’d be the woman I am now when I was younger I probably would have laughed. I remember daydreaming as a child about one day donning a ritual cloak casting a circle for some powerful conjuration. I wasn’t sure if any of that would, or could ever be true. Pushing myself from the tender age of twelve, I have carved out my own niche within the world of magick, and the discipline can be both rewarding, and a comfort in dark times. There is a joy with having discipline, especially when taking myself away from my online endeavours, and the negativity it tends to generate. I would be lost without discipline, so here’s my reasoning on why it has been a life saver in the last few weeks, especially with still being new to Thelema and combining it to what I already know and practice.
Like most children I had after school activities to attend in order to keep an active lifestyle, and to push my intelligence further. I wasn’t the smartest child at school, but the intelligence I did have didn’t meet any of the goals expected of me. I was labelled a creative child, which meant I learnt things at a slightly slower pace than most, and I had to attend various extracurricular activities so I could continue being interested in my schooling. I was first inducted into a private language school to learn French from the age of 6 two days a week after my normal school days, and I continued to speak it fluently for many years after. I was taught to read and write from before I started school, alongside dance, elocution and good grammar. I guess, looking back, I’ve always had a big brain, but I’ve only ever been interested in practical subjects which meant whatever I learnt stayed locked up. In a way the discipline and structure I was taught became second nature. I applied this same structure toward most other activities, including my desire to educate myself on the teachings of mysticism and magick.
It’s a well-known fact that if you’re passionate about a particular subject you tend to excel in it. It could be anything from gardening, or having a talent for cooking. For me it’s the study of magick, literature and philosophy. Any time I have a few moments to myself I make sure I immerse myself in reading and practice. I like referring to the above quote to remind myself of the hard work I’ve put myself through. The unfortunate thing with allowing the public to see a tiny proportion of who I am, and letting them know about my practices has come at a price. I’m often reminded how lonely living on this path can be, even though I have a small number of friends and a couple best friends who know exactly what it’s like to be on a level where you’re on the outside due to not living up to the expected norms of other practitioners. This doesn’t hold me back though. I look back on my life so far and I’m happy about the places I’ve been with my study. I’m constantly growing, constantly developing new techniques for myself and correcting my mistakes. It’s all about that push, and that structure.
Without discipline I have no idea where I would be now, and it’s a comfort. I have often thought that maybe I would have given up on the magick life around the age of 14 or 16 when I was going through seriously hard times. Even the other day when I caught wind of my online bits and bobs being criticised by members of the larger community – who are supposed to help struggling people, rather than privatising their hatred – I felt the need to make my regime even more prominent as I headed toward another brick wall. Discipline means to apply stoic thought, keep your head down and keep working – everything else doesn’t matter as it is out of your control, especially if you have no hand in it – or if you do, accept that you have put it out there. You can’t make a river flow backwards.
Discipline leads to freedom as they say (or at least my old music headmistress used to constantly say to her students), and you cannot see the greatness in something you’ve created unless you put the work in – and sometimes it is needed regardless of whether you enjoy the subject or not (think school). I yearn for that feeling of peace, that freedom, and I’ve been lucky enough to know what those little moments are like when I completed something I’ve worked on for a while. I cannot tell you the peace I felt when I performed my first LBRP properly. Or the time I did all three parts of the four part Liber Resh, and immediately went into the LBRP after weeks of not having done so due to experiencing a depressive low. The relief, the excitement of knowing that I hadn’t forgotten one step filled me with such an overwhelming emotion that I fell to the floor in a flood of tears. I still have it. I know I have what it takes to keep going. I wrote up the events from that day the following morning, as the midnight Resh made me super knackered, but I remember flicking through the back pages and noticing I still made sure to keep my reading diary updated, though I hadn’t updated it in a while. I’m usually vigilant in keeping my journals up to date, especially as I will develop all kinds of knowledge that I’ll need to stay in constant flow with, and because I collect Moleskine journals and they are bloody pricey.
Even if it something as small as updating my journal, performing Liber Resh vel Helios, or doing yoga, I make sure to keep the routine going. If magick is already in you, and of magick flows all around, then every single thing you do is, and must be a magickal act. I’m aware of my own magick, and aware of the tiny effects it has within. It’s the feeling I guess, of knowing I’m being rewarded for my own work. Everyone should feel the excitement of doing their own work. It’s great! I’m not entirely sure what it means to be modern magician, but I’m getting there as a friend has pointed out in our conversations (Love ya Mr Vamp). It’s good to know I’m not far off. My enthusiasm and discipline have also meant I’ve made a few new friends who are willing to help me whenever I’m lost. To me it’s all passion.
But like I’ve stressed enough, I have found that continuing the need to carry out my regime means throwing myself in head first with making sure I fully understand the theory and practice of other rituals, philosophies and general theorising. Instead of allowing myself to wallow and feel crap about how my hard work is under fire for being that little bit daring. Discipline has kept me in shape, and it has helped me deal with this low period, even if it has been a slow comeback.
I need to continue staying focused, I’m not giving up on years of knowledge and practice just yet – even if that means erasing parts of my online works.