Having looked at the some of the reasons discernment can be applied in one’s search for a magical life or path (see here), now what I wish to look at is some of the motivators behind someone telling such fibs. Namely notoriety or fame is what most people either seek or succumb to really and there is little point dissecting this further. However, its also a bit simplistic because if they are seeking it they must have succumbed to it previous to our encountering them and so the whole process smacks of insecurity.
Readers may have heard me mention that my one guarantee to seekers and practitioners of magic is that magic changes things in your life and by extension the tools you lean on mentally. On the subject of introducing additional symbolism [read: meaning] into one’s Inner Kingdom [read: inner-space], Nick Farrell makes the following commentary:
“The visualisation movement flounders because while it can explain success, it has a greater difficulty explaining why it does not always work. There are many things that can prevent a visualisation having a full effect. This is mostly because when the new image is planted within your Inner Kingdom it immediately has to fit within the frame work of what is already there. Those things which fall short of the status quo are swiftly destroyed. This happens because you are your Inner Kingdom is the sum total of your past visualisations. If you do not believe in success you have effectively crippled yourself from making new visualisations. The new visualisation is like a seed cast on stony ground and dies before its results can manifest.” (Magical Imagination: The Keys to Magic)
I quoted the passage in full because I felt it painted a better picture of the situation than most people want to hear, obviously considering that Peregrin Wildoak has posted a review with the same quote also says something too. Nick is speaking specifically of visualisation techniques used within modern magical practices, however, the principle is in motion behind most magical practices in use regardless of one’s tradition or teaching. Witches and magicians expose themselves to ensouled symbols all the time to effect change including the making of amulets, talismans and charms. Candle magic is codified within colour correspondences such as; associations to Zodiacal signs, planets and elements.
Like many people I adopted the rhetoric of “be careful what you wish for” when it came to magic because frankly I didn’t want my predominantly non-magical friends to think I was simply casting spells or hexing my way out of every teenage related problem. My life was a caricature of T.V. enough without me pretending I was the gay-teen version of Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. Also, as my life as a witch would come to teach me I’d faced many of my inner-issues and come out stronger for it but I did so with the help and support of individuals and organisations who’d been motivated to help. I had a happy home and there are many who come to the Craft and to magical systems in general who don’t have that and so face other challenges. For them they can (and do!) learn to create safer spaces for vulnerable passers-by, engaging with community work and social care. But first they tend to need to learn discernment to learn to apply their skills and ability to help so that they don’t fall into abusive dynamics with service users or clients. The same is true for people seeking spiritual healing.
“I come in the Power of the Light, I come in the Light of Wisdom, I come in the mercy of Light, The LIGHT hath healing in it’s wings”. (Neophyte 0=0 Ceremony of the Golden Dawn)
In case you’ve not heard or guessed I’m speaking simultaneously of the healing modalities many seekers find themselves in such as neo-shamanic courses and Reiki initiation as well as more cathartic expressions and understandings of the Western Mysteries whether they be Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, or some other expression such as Traditional Wicca. Healers who have faced their own issues can often be identified by clients/patients with strong versions of what they themselves wish to be. Facing the hard work of self-exploration and inflection can deter many from fulfilling their own potential but finding that they like the attention they get as a trusted acolyte or disciple seek to get more attention as a leader, teacher or healer in their own right.
Fame and notoriety become the addiction of choice for these people and like many addicts unwilling to work on their addiction problems will invariably ensue between the group and it’s leader. So how can we avoid or deal with this issue? Truth is I’ve not got a clue. Fame is intoxicating and diversity seems to be the best cure as people learn to apply natural skills at discernment and judgement to learn to keep away from such behaviours. Sometimes, such persons are so charismatic that no matter how good your judgement is you simply can’t avoid it because of the community or atmosphere lends itself so well to it all. Obviously recognizing the talents within others will help any group facilitator but not always helpful in systems that follow hierarchies such as Wicca or the Golden Dawn. In such cases become familiar very early on with any teacher and their lineage including vouches! Modern Wiccans never take offense to vouches and most of those I know would offer one-two themselves for those not connected to Traditional Wicca.
If anyone has tips for navigating around fame or even setting up a Famous Witches & Magicians Recovery Support Group (FWMRG – not the prettiest of acronyms I’ll admit) let me know in the comments section below.