Start with Perspective!

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Forums -> General Info -> Start with Perspective!

Start with Perspective!
Post # 1
Hello, Everyone.

I've lurked on this site for quite some time,
and watched as new people often come looking
to find "how" magic is going to work for them.

(Or perhaps they are really asking *IF* it will
really work at all?? "I want to believe in magic,
but how can I know if it's real?")

Most get frustrated when they find there are not
easy solutions to the difficult problems in their
lives, and they leave, never to be heard from again.

Others give it a try, looking for a starting point,
and then skipping from "Path" to "Path", all with
limited success and a LOT of doubt-- in magic itself,
and perhaps worse, doubt in themselves.

To this end, I propose that the very FIRST thing we
must teach new members is to gain a bit of Perspective,
and I would offer the one below as a suggestion.

(Allowing for a brief prelude: I walk my own Way,
and by no means am I attempting to speak for those
who walk the Paths of Shamanism, Wicca, or any other Path.
Should any of the leaders in those areas care to correct
me on the claims I make below, I'm open to discussion!)

Magic is a skill.

Read that sentence again.
Magic is a skill, which must be developed.

You are reading this, so I'm going to assume that you can read.
Think back to your first experiences with language.
What were they?

Most likely a few important words, and then singing
the "ABC's", am I correct?

Then you had to learn to recognize the letters when
they are written down.

Then you had to learn how to write them. And you
probably started with TERRIBLE penmanship that nobody
could read, maybe not even yourself, right?!

But you couldn't stop there! Being able to write
your ABC's was not enough! You had to learn numbers,

As you were doing all this, you also had to learn
what sound each letter represented. That part was
kind of fun, mixed with pictures, usually ones that
held some fun emotion for you.

But you couldn't stop there! Being able to sound out
letters was a good start, but actually reading was HARD!
If you had good mentors who really understood the process,
who could teach you at the pace that was best for you,
then you probably became very good at reading.

But you couldn't stop there! Suddenly, you had to learn
how to spell. Because if you couldn't spell correctly,
nobody would know what you are saying, right?

But you couldn't stop there! Even when you could spell
basic words, then you had to learn basic grammar. Because
if you didn't put words in the correct order, people would
not understand what you were trying to communicate.

But you couldn't stop there! As you grew older, you had
to learn MORE words, and sometimes even explore words
and spelling and grammar in other languages!

Meanwhile, you were also learning to count, add, subtract,
etc... Math is the language of the Universe, linked
inherently with our own verbal/written languages,
and you had to learn it, too!

It goes on and on, but I like to think that most people
who have read this far now understand my point?

Magic is like this. You cannot simply read a spell on
the Internet, say the words, and hope it works.

You cannot simply follow through with the motions of
a ritual, and expect some kind of result.

IN FACT, if you really think about it, if magic was
that easy, wouldn't EVERYBODY be using it, all the time!?
I would correct this inaccurate thinking by warning
you now that magic is far more difficult than anything
else you've ever done. (Of course, if you can master
it, then you can do anything!)

First you have to learn how to recognize, write, and use
the letters... to spell words and put together coherent
sentences; to strengthen your vocabulary and explore
your creative talents.

But you have to grow strong before you can so much as crawl,
never mind standing, walking, running, and flying...

So, stop trying to skip ahead, and whatever Path it is that
you choose to walk, take the ten-thousand mile road, one step at a time!

Otherwise, you will never get there.

Study well, train hard.
--Victor F. Black
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Re: Start with Perspective!
By: / Novice
Post # 2
Very good. I cannot tell you how many times I've explained this to newbies. Once they hear a spell is not merely just saying words and a wave of a wand, they get disappointed and frustrated. I tell them its a matter of learning, and often equate this with going to school. Kindergarten to learn that magick is, first grade to learn basics, etc. I also say that one cannot drive a car until they know how; what parts move the car; accelerator, brakes, etc. Very few go on to learn. Others still try to find short cuts, but remain frustrated. Some just leave, or try to turn chat into a personal thing. "I'm bored" hurts my eyes anymore.
Thanks for posting this. BB
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Re: Start with Perspective!
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 3
Learning magic is not quite the same thing as learning a language, or learning to drive a car. Both can be learnt from books. But, both are better learnt by being "shown" how to do it! A baby learns language by hearing it. It is so with magic.It is difficult, if not impossible,to teach magic on-line; which is why I do not attempt it. Personal teaching, or personal practice,is really the best way. I was extremely lucky in having a teacher who "showed" me magic. There are so many books on the subject, and so much rubbish written about it, that the beginner is bewildered by it all. The best advice for a beginner is to join a Pagan group,or a real coven,and learn from actual contact with others. I suppose it is possible to learn how to drive a car from books; but it is far better to be "shown" how to drive!
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Re: Start with Perspective!
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
Further, my post is about witchcraft, not about any religious "path". One may follow any "path" and still practise witchcraft/magic. Magic is all around us, and is as natural as breathing!
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Re: Start with Perspective!
Post # 5
Excellent points, both.

So I suppose my question becomes,
How do we get the point across more effectively?
Because the current setup seems terribly inefficient.
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Re: Start with Perspective!
By: / Novice
Post # 6
interesting concepts from everyone. your point about it being like language to show it is a never ending study was good, the car was interesting as well because few people are instantly perfect with driving a car. however, while one can read about magick, it is something you experience and feel. i have had many friends observe my covens circles over the years, when they choose to stand outside the circle they don't understand why we would complain about the heat. once they choose to stand inside the circle with us, they understand. it doesn't matter if we cast a circle inside a house, or outside in the yard, the energy inside the circle is very warm. [don't know if its the same for everyone but wind doesn't really bother us until the circle is broken.] you might read this and think 'thats awesome' or 'thats impossible.' until you experience something you won't know for certain.

thats the thing with magick, its a natural force, you could read every book ever written on the subject but if you never experience it, practice casting, you won't really understand. reading isn't bad, it helps guide us since most don't have face to face teachers, but you should read and do. example, after reading about a meditation technique, try it. after discovering a new grounding technique, try it. if you feel ready to cast, give it a go. i wouldn't start out with something like a death spell, maybe a simple candle spell for luck. people seem to want some huge result like in movies, so you need to also realize what magick is capable of. walk before you can run, and as always be careful what you wish for.
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Re: Start with Perspective!
Post # 7
Indeed, one must take action to begin understanding.
What is and what is not, what is real and what is fantasy, etc.

So how do we streamline the process, herding would-be casters
from aimless desire and into action, without losing so many
that could have been very good?

Don't get me wrong, I understand clearly the benefit of
"weeding out" those that don't belong or will never make it,
but it seems to me that should be done by controlling the
flow of information, rather than letting so many good ones
slip through the nets?

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Re: Start with Perspective!
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 8
We do try to point the young in the right direction. We do try to come down heavily on Fluffies. but many are children who believe the movies and television.They believe their fantasies. And, sometimes,it is better to allow the children to have their fantasies.It is part of the "wonder" of being a child.It is the older ones who try to teach the impossible that all Mods will "jump on".
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