Now this is not an attack or criticism of any group, course or venture. Just a short comment on the subject itself. Ok? We got that. Ta. 🙂
I was fortunate yesterday to hear Robyn Archer give the annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address on contemporary music and its challenges in Australia. This is from her speech.
…arts training is a better fit inside institutions dedicated to training and the master/apprentice model.
In most cases, apprentices to the arts must rigorously acquire basic skills so as not to hurt themselves (bodies, voices, muscles) before they start to develop the individual creative voice.
…the kind of composition which emerges original and away from all that has gone before is perhaps most likely to come from someone who knows what has gone before – that is, has studied musical form and has the kind of mathematical ability to compose independently of the desire to be popular and to be loved by the masses. It is an elite activity which operates in the realm of ideas. It has, in fact, little to do with the way we normally think about ‘music’.
If we change ‘arts’ and ‘music’ to magic or spirituality we have a good description of the way depth spirituality was traditionally taught. Even within the collegiate experience of the Western Lodge, one-on-one training would often be offered by Adepts or Masters to balance the group lecture or study sessions. These days there are online courses, cyber-temples, correspondence courses, CD-ROM self-learning, videos, CDs and other means of imparting the wisdom traditions. The advantages of these approaches are many, particularly for the teaching adept but also for the student. There are I am sure countless students of the mysteries throughout the world who would be unable to access teaching via methods other than those highlighted. However, I do think the traditional approaches are being jettisoned more readily than they need, and with them a great deal of wisdom, beauty and depth.
Ms Archer highlights a few crucial issues. The Master-Apprentice model itself is a sacred institution. It mirrors and activates the relationship of the lower-astral self with the higher self. The occurs both in the student and in the Master; both benefit. The Master, through her kindness, skill, presence and wisdom allows the student to access their own higher consciousness and patiently avoids the inevitable projection from the student. This sacred holding and mirroring can never be simulated or replaced through any online or distant course or even by attending physical lectures once a month. As much as any discrete information that is passed to the student, or engendered in her, it is the relationship between Master and student that produces change and transformation.
The requirement to become Adept in the basic skills is crucial. In depth spirituality we may hurt things deeper than our bodies and muscles. Unwise and untimely exploration of the inner and outer non-physical worlds will often damage the self on many levels. While most courses will emphasize the need for this, the copying of college or university learning formats does not encourage the correct growth of these skills. Each student is different and preset curricula make little allowance for these differences. Further they may encourage the student to play down their difference since they do not ‘fit in’. Yet it is crucial in the spiritual traditions that each student be moved through their unique unfoldment in a personal manner not a weekly lesson based course. The majority of dysfunction in the magical community comes about from people practicing magic long before they should.
The traditional methods of teaching are almost extinct these days and for very good reasons: try finding a functional magical adept when you want one. Particularly if you live in Wagga Wagga or Nuneaton. However, I would like to think we can try and revive them a little and look for a more physical transmission of wisdom and currents. In these days of Facebook and Second Life I am probably barking up the wrong tree. But you never know … 🙂