I am both really enjoying and gaining immense benefit from my recent teaching foray with the Fire of Azrael. Of course teaching esotericism is never easy and affords many opportunities to practice compassion and patience – which is one of the reasons I do it, as I need to expand myself in these areas. This time round I am singly impressed with the quality of the material, thought and motivation of some of the younger members of the course. Their honesty is wonderful, their willingness to learn and eager engagement is refreshing and delightful. And there are a few non-esoteric young people I know that are wonderful and inspire me with confidence for the future – see the Blogs, Stuff that I think about. The end. and milky & rosie.
Previous experiences with younger esoteric students had left me with a sad case of despair. As an old school friend, who has now floated to the top of his profession, said the other day, ‘I try to employ people young, when they still know everything’. However, these students and some younger Golden Dawn students I know have me smiling happily with hope 🙂 Reflecting upon this naturally brought up memories of my own salad days and youthful esoteric training. So, some snippets of my own ‘story’ here to elucidate a few important points.
There are a couple of motivations for pursuing esoteric studies that I have in the past seen grossly amplified by younger people – and older people of course. These include the need for psychological healing and a desire to escape the mundane, everyday life. I know these well, having gone through them myself when young.
Now we all need healing and the esoteric is not naturally the path to find it, and can cause further problems to develop if not carefully practiced. Fortunately, as a teenager I was very influenced by what I read (if I considered it good) and came across Israel Regardie and Robert Anton Wilson (may the Mound keep him and bless him). Both of them insisted occult students engage in therapy. And praise the Lord for that and for my impressionable nature. 🙂 Therapy of some sort is essential for most people, at some stage of their lives. Of course, many of you, like me when I knew it all, will think you are the exception to this rule. 🙂
The concept of escape from the mundane is naturally still there within me – after all, look hard and honest at the world around you….see what I mean? To quote a young person herself, the delightfully twangy Casey Chambers:
“If you’re not pissed off at the world
Then you’re just not paying attention.”
As Robert Anton Wilson puts it – ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes (us domesticated primates) is the only logical course of action’. 🙂
However, there can be no escape, and as soon as we accept that fact, the better, just like accepting we are going to die. As a teenager and young adult I still secretly longed for transcendence. My traditions taught me otherwise and grounded me here, but I never completely and fully engaged. Goddess knows where I would be without my traditions and teachers though.
The Golden Dawn and paths stemming from it advised and still advise young people to leave powerful engagement with magic alone until some serious life experience has been gained. Naturally, I agreed with this outwardly and still secretly thought it did not apply to me. The only piece of advice and wisdom from my teacher which I rejected was his insistence that I needed to father a child and engage in family life. Of course, he was right and when I embraced it, it was this phase of my life that really helped ripen the esoteric fruit within me.
There are good reasons for leaving serious magic alone until a little later in life. The higher subtle bodies are still developing until around the age of 28 – basically near the astrological Saturn return. Certainly no one should be engaging in practices that completely upturn the ego-lower self until after that age – unless they are held by a strong tradition and Master of the Empty Room, as in the case of Vajrayana Buddhism. And of course, as a callow youth I inwardly and secretly thought I was the exception to the rule.
So, I pray to the One that our younger students and other youth on the Path shine on with care and guidance, live long, prosper and serve all beings. 🙂