I do a lot of reading, which in todays day and age isn’t a great achievement with the internet and all that writing it contains, but as being of the magical persuasion, I like to read things musty and old. It seems how mustier and older things are, the more value is given to them as being most arcane and pure in what they convey.
As such I have a humble collection of books dating around the turn of the 19th century and facsimiles or works that are dated a few centuries older. Among that collection are some works maybe not that old, but still nice to peruse and collect.
But have you ever come across something to be pertaining of magical prose that makes your toes curl and want to confine the author to an institution of the hopelessly insane?
Now books of shadows, or called BoS, are in some traditions something you copy meticulously from the teacher of a tradition so one is able to pass that tradition on. However, some BoS are just a journal of a practising witch, capturing spells they have experimented with or realisations they came to while being a practising witch. As such I have a few books of shadows.
As of the latter kind I have in my possession a series of journals that span a period of a good 30 years and recently I sat down to read them all.
I started out with the first volume and I don’t think I have ever read so much namby-pamby (1) drivel in all of my life! Between the mental mastication on occult philosophies poorly understood and overly flamboyant methods of preparation to do magical work I did feel sympathy for the author, as clearly he sat out to reach enlightenment and shine his light onto the world, albeit awkward and clumsy. he wasn’t going anywhere with all this at all. I was becoming somewhat embarrassed as to be invading the most private thought of someone setting himself up for failure and disappointment, but the sheer anxiousness of the volume prompted me in some strange ways to finish reading that first volume.
The second volume I picked up as I would if watching re-runs of the Jerry Springer show: You know it is going to be more cringe worthy content that will make one contemplate to distance oneself from the human race altogether, but you still tune in to see if there are any new ways where one can be embarrassed or new depths of misguided stupidity.
But as I started reading the second volume, hope emerged in me as I read how the author shared his most intimate thoughts that he had some really silly notions and came to see the New Light. I was actually getting excited with this but the next chapter, after the introduction, hope was smitten into a new level of despair where the author was taking himself serious with another wave of self-explanatory mystified drivel and namby pamby.
It was a bit of an improvement over the first volume though, but with a bit, I mean something you would notice in a machine shop where you realise a part in an engine was seizing up because it was 1 micron out of specification.
And that is basically how I wrestled myself through all seven volumes in the repeating pattern of experiencing some hope, followed with slapping my own forehead, occasional muttering “idiot” under my breath.
Now it may seem to you I am somewhat arrogant and judgemental, knowing it better than the author. Perhaps my best excuse for this behaviour is that the author was no-one but myself.
My intent in reading theses journal again was to compile them and perhaps publish them as a wondrous journey of magical exploration, but truth said I may be too vain to embarrass myself in that matter.
I does confirm to myself a certain growth has happened as it does point out that what I think today can change into a reflection in the future and scold myself for ever been so stupid. I come to the conclusion I need to be wrong about things, I need to be barking up wrong trees, to finally figure out I am banging my head against a wall and getting nowhere with a certain thought or idea.
I had discussed this supposed compilation – and the abandonment of said plan – with some of my friends in the craft. Some one had offered that perhaps by sharing my mistakes and pitfalls would be useful to share with others, desperate as I was myself to make sense of my magical world in my start of my journey, so they would be mindful of the pitfalls and erroneous ways that made my journey stagnant at times.
But what if those struggles with wrong ideas and interpretations where crucial for me to be where I am today? What is figuring all that out, coming to new realisations, is a crucial part of growing spiritually. Where would I be if someone had taken that opportunity away from me and my journey would have been a pre masticated acceptance of some dogma someone had written out for me?
To this very day I question things that I do, things that I read, things that people tell me. I think that is a healthy attitude as it either brings me to deeper realisation or tells me I am not ready for that yet or past that point and need to move on.
To reflect, perhaps the first sentence in that first volume is the only statement that still holds true to me and that almost got drowned out by all the drivel I trusted to paper in those 30 years:
“This is my Book of Journey, This is where I will record my Truth. Truth will shape my Path as My Path will shape the Truth.”
Now I am going to hit “publish” and hope that this blog will survive at least a decade, so one day I can get back to this and cringe at it.
If it doesn’t, I will be very disappointed at myself.
All things overly romanticised hippy notions of soft fluffy sweetness that could not be further form the truth like Angels being cute babies with wings and Faeries being cute little Tinkerbell-like creates that exist only to grant you wishes.