In fact, most occultists I have spoken with have told me various texts or moments of inspiration have shown them they can’t denote the term “pagan” to their individual practices. For me, it was a few texts that changed the way I approached my beliefs, and the way in which my practices evolved for the betterment of my soul. I had intended on yet another monotone look into my past and the events that sparked such virility, but instead I thought I would turn my attention to aspects of a different style of thinking, and what makes my occult life seem educational and refreshing.
Most people who have written to me always run on the assumption – a normal mistake – that being pagan immediately equates you with a certain kind of knowledge, presence, “style” (to some degree) and a free pass to all occult and witchcraft facilities without much guidance. It’s a tough road, believe me, I’m still living it now. Take pictures for example, so many images pop up (in books or on the internet) that can allure any curious mind, but with most occult imagery the details are hidden, or written about using language that may seem too conservative and convoluted for most students. It is hidden knowledge after all – only you can find the answers. You, and you alone.
This is where I found a divide. Some folks (a very small number) will dedicate time and energy to teaching themselves and seeking teachers/friends to gain diverse insights into such images, thus building a solid base of knowledge, beliefs and personal practices. I have found, being one of these types myself means I have met a lot of other people with differing ideas on difficult subjects. Many of whom have shown me an awful lot, and others I have been able to share my ideas with quite easily – without too much detail. The way I chose to perform and exercise my daily magick meditations means I can create a formula that suits me, in effect creating a solid mould.
The amount of occultists I have spoken to have expressed an underlying paranoia amongst members, and I’m slowly beginning to see where it all may stem from: the lack of strict practice and vigilance within occult circles, and the sad attempts at watering down occult knowledge for New Age paganism. It is almost as if true occultists want to protect what scripts we have from being “tainted by the fairy unicorn”, as one friend put it. I believe most practitioners should have a right to study these texts, and I also firmly believe that the majority of practitioners can learn a hell of a lot about themselves and form newer or better philosophies. At the same time, I hate seeing people run around claiming to be occultists without knowing the basics. I get a ton of emails from people stating how they’re considering the Ambramelin operation, or summoning those that shall not be named from the Keys when they don’t even know what the LBRP is. It’s all for show, and it’s quite strange. If anything, the occult is not a show so stick with the New Age moulds – you can’t go wrong with them. You can apply style and special effects to that other stuff, but all that does is allow the ego to have greater precedence over your higher self.
The allure of the occult purely for style reasons is a subject I have my own reservations on, but as a few readers have pointed out I can’t be too specific in sharing my own personal opinions in case of a backlash. I try to live by the ideal that you should only preach what you know about, yet at the same time when I’m stuck myself, a lot of occultists or magicians can be very quick to judge someone like me, who does not fit the materialistic mould or style. I’m a hard worker, and it has taken me a number of years to actually realise this; but, I am only doing this for myself after all. You should be yourself at all times, be strict when you feel tired or lazy and most of all be aware. Define for yourself if following your occult or pagan path is spiritually worth it, or if you are following the path purely to fit the ideals of the mystical show horse. As one friend mailed me, “It’s great to bend down and worship a deity without much in return to feel safe, but it’s far better to work hard and be spat on for ascending above the others alone.”