As I wrote at the end of my previous post,
This coming Saturday, September the 14th, I’ll be giving a workshop for the San Diego Pagan Pride day event. This family friendly (and dog friendly!) day will be held from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 6th and El Prado/Laurel in beautiful Balboa Park. If you haven’t attended in the past, come on out to hear me give a workshop at 11:00 am. There will also be other workshop presenters, live music, rituals, and vendors. The event is free, but please bring some non-perishable foods as a donation for Mama’s Kitchen, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers food to men, women and children who are affected by AIDS or cancer.
Indeed, I have a lot of appearances coming up, both in-person and over the internet. You can see where I’ll be and what I’m doing via this LINK. Most authors will have web pages or Facebook pages listing where they’ll be, too. For me, appearances this year are later than last year, but I’ll be available in more places and to more people, so that’s a good thing. I hope you’ll come to see me and some of the other excellent speakers (many of whom are Llewellyn authors) either online or in person.
Recently I received an email from a young woman whom I hadn’t heard from in many years. It had several statements saying how wonderful she thought I was, and I thought that was very kind and I was extremely flattered. This made me think of how she thought of me and of how we all react to our teachers. Respect, honor, and admiration are one thing, but thinking of them as being perfect and only capable of uttering the truth worries me. In fact, over 2.5 years ago I made a post with comments I still think are valid. Here is what I wrote:
Whenever I give workshops, I begin by writing the letters TFYQA on a blackboard. Well, actually I now have my computer write them on a screen or blank wall, but you get the idea.
The letters stand for “Think For Yourself. Question Authority.” I explain that neither I (nor other speakers at various metaphysical events) are lying or trying to deceive. Rather, we’re doing our best to explain some complex material. Sometimes it will be clear and make sense. Other times the approach of the teachers just doesn’t do it for you.
From Slide Presentations
That’s all okay. I suggest that people pay attention and try out what the lecturers have to share. “If it works, that’s great, because now you have new ideas, approaches or skills that you can use. And if it doesn’t work, that’s great, too, because now you know what you don’t have to waste your time with.”
In my opinion, the same is true of books. Books are written with ink on paper (or electrons on your screen). They are not written in stone. Read books. Read lots of them. Study what the writers have to say and practice any techniques.
Remember, however, that occultists are at the vanguard of the New Age, they are helping drive civilization into the Age of Aquarius. In this new age, instead of blindly following leaders, we will each become our own leader. There’s no reason we shouldn’t act that way now.
Recently, a person emailed me thanking me for Modern Magick. He wrote that he had studied it for years, he still recommends it, but he strongly disagrees with parts of it (he didn’t tell me which parts). I think he may have been trying to get a rise out of me and probably didn’t expect my response. I replied, “I’m glad that you disagree with parts of MM–it shows that you’re a thinker rather than a follower. That’s a good thing!”
I don’t care who the writer is. If you simply say, “Yes, I agree with everything this writer had put into books,” chances are you’re stuck in the Old Age, the Piscean Age. There are occult writers I deeply respect, but I don’t agree with everything they have published. I know some people who idolize Aleister Crowley and fawn over everything he wrote. And yet Crowley himself (at the beginning of Magic in Theory and Practice, as I recall) wrote that other teachers tell you what to think while he asks you to think.
I would agree and would ask you to think, too. Listen to speakers. Read books. Try out what they suggest. But then, come up with your own ideas. If some ideas and practices work for you, adopt them and adapt them. If some ideas and practices don’t work for you, abandon them. Dion Fortune wrote that there is no room for authority in occultism. Or perhaps more accurately, in the New Age, the only authority when it comes to your occult and magickal practices is you.
THINK FOR YOURSELF. QUESTION AUTHORITY.