The Perils of Magick

There was a time when one spent years under the tutelage of an Elder and/or adept in order to learn the magickal arts. This apprenticeship if you will was conducted by folks who had spent the vast majority of their lives engaged in the arts. Folks who had survived their own mistakes and who had gained a deep insight based upon the years of discipline that they had devoted to their own training. And such a rigid training basically applied regardless of which path one chose to engage in. This could be Voudon, Shamanism, and Witchcraft, what have you.
Even singular disciplines such as reading runes, often took years to not only learn but to fully understand the subtle interpretations and energies that accompany such a mystic art. One did not become a Runemal
With the advent of Neo paganism, in a world where instant gratification reigns supreme, such discipline and training is seldom heard of anymore.
Now, anyone can go on the internet or pick up a Buckland or Silver Ravenwolf book and can start immediately to dabble in magick.
But is this a prudent approach to the realm of magick?
Magick is energy work and as such can have serious implications against the practitioner and those around them if employed in the wrong manner.
With the focus in today's Neo pagan society on making a profit off of the Craft as well as supplying instant gratification, are we in fact circumventing the discipline and the wisdom that once accompanied such perilous endeavors?
Are we in fact opening up Pandora's Box in favor of our own personal sense of irresponsible immediacy?
Are we in fact negating the knowledge that was acquired over the ages and replacing wisdom with dangerous folly?
If one really believes in the power of magick (and one should for it is all about us) then one should also acknowledge the perils involved in misusing such a gift.
What was at one time a closely held knowledge has completely saturated the Neo pagan community,regardless of the training or lack of from those who make up such a community.
Unfortunately, I personally do not believe that the discipline and training that is so essential to successful and safe energy work, has managed to keep pace with this saturation of such sacred knowledge.
A clear example of this is the multitudes of pseudo masters, many of whom are only in their 20's and 30's. Energy that is manifested does not care about one's ego or lack of training. Once created and empowered, it becomes a part of our reality.
Much like the atomic bomb is now a horrifying part of our existence.
Another example is to use the word "Elder" in the Neo pagan community and watch the Nay Sayers gather like a brush fire. It's as if the term "Elder" stirs the fires of insecurities that so often display's itself in the form of massive egos.
It is quite evident in the Western world that we have very little respect for Elders in the general populace. And this disdain for respecting those who have a lifetime of experience has become a happenstance within the Neo pagan community.
Why is this?
Whatever happened to dedication and patience when learning something as deeply encompassing as the magickal arts?
This article is not about browbeating but rather an attempt to raise individual awareness of whom and what we are when we choose to engage a magickal path.
As pagans in general we often present ourselves as individuals whom are responsible for our individual actions.
If this is really a tenet that we follow, then shouldn't we, both as individuals and indeed as a community, be concerned with the massive amount of frivolous energy work that is done without a thought to the consequences of ones actions?
Is such a flagrant use of such power setting us up for something that will spiral out of control?
In essence, energy work is not something to be trifled with. It is a serious means of attaining a particular goal that should be done with complete awareness and responsibility.
This is not to say that magick can't be used to complement our lives with positive results. It can and in fact does enhance our lives in many wonderful ways. But as with the tools of any trade, magickal or mundane, we need to re-learn the wisdom of patience.
The internet or a made for profit book is not the best mentor.
If one takes the time to ask questions and to do the research, one will find a dedicated teacher who has devoted the time to qualify as an Elder/teacher. Such folks are senior students of life who deeply believe in their particular paths. These folks could care less about the enticements that draw so many fringe elements and bloated egos that the Neo pagan movement seems to attract. Instead they are examples of discipline and wisdom.
Such folks are an example of what the Neo pagan community could be.
But at the end of the day each person has to make their own decisions.
And that is to whether play at being a student of magick or whether to put in the hard work and study that one day may lead to you yourself becoming an adept and thus passing on the wisdom and knowledge that you have accumulated through your hard earned labors…