I whole heartedly agree, but it still happens nevertheless. With social media and the increase in need to share Everything I see it more and more. People recommending practices to others with no history, context, disclaimers or background to said practice. But then my opinion on this comes from a place where witchcraft should still remain secret. If witchcraft had remained as secretive as it once was, then the amount of available information would be very limited, which brings us back to my original question. When I first started I had to hunt for information, the internet was only just becoming available in the home, so there wasn't much there. I scowered my local libraries and became friendly with local "new age" shop keeps who stocked a few books that allowed me to read them in store and take notes. It built my appetite. Perhaps I'm just being too nostalgic and old fashioned.
And I agree, you can not fully learn from reading alone, but it is part of the learning process. For example you read about the highway code and the theory of driving as well as the practical element. You need to know the theory behind the practical. It was both parts that I meant when I said learn.
Hmmm I see what you mean, but I feel like all magical systems have built-in safeguards. A complete beginner could theoretically go through the motions of an advanced ritual in any number of magical traditions after a quick internet search but I don't see how they could be doing much more than that. The pattern they would half-assedly try to copy might simply be unrecognizable, so the system could just not respond, lock them out, or perhaps punish them if it can be bothered. I believe there's an intangible component to any ritual, something I might term authority, that in some traditions you gain through initiation or a special relationship with the spirit world or sacrifice etc, but that is always earned. Same thing for practices that might appear much more pared down and which are as widely appropriated as, say, smudging: I don't believe a bundle of sage would work with you just because you're mimicking something you've read/seen. Who even are you?
So yeah, I think that distinction between reading and learning is fundamental. I'm often guilty of taking one for the other, I think it's commonplace hubris (but hubris nonetheless). Learning is something profound and slow that can be aided by cultivating the right conditions. Ultimately, though, it's a process one has no direct control over, imo. Like digestion or decomposition. To learn something, for me, is to incorporate it in a very literal sense, and so the body has to get involved beyond just moving your eyes across a page; even if it is just sitting with it for as long as necessary (there's a reason behind all those stock phrases).
That's why I just don't believe it's possible to cut corners in magic, no matter how widely you read.
You've thrown me now by saying "reading is not learning", as we all learn by reading.
But to elaborate on what I said, and now reading it back I realise it is going off on a bit of a tangent to my original question. With all this information at our fingertips it is easy to find out about practices of witchcraft. But just because we can learn about it, I often wonder if we should. Before there was a progression to the way we learnt. You start off with the basics, you acquired more skill which lead to more knowledge, whilst gaining wisdom along the way. If you learnt from someone they would judge whether you were ready to move on. Or if you were self taught, a lot would be trial and error. But with so much information being readily available, you can quite easily jump into the deep end without going through the steps to get there. And I feel this ties in with cultural appropriation as well. Just because we know how to practice something from another culture, do we have the right to, if that information has not been handed down to us. If you are an eclectic witch, then you will think differently on this.
Wow, I came to this late. Still, last post was a month or so ago, so I'll dive in.
I have found that limiting Demons and Angels to the Christian definitions is limiting in unhelpful ways. I tend to define Demons as beings which represent or exert a force or personal nature that is anathema (intentionally or otherwise) to humans or perhaps to the world in general (note that I don't mean the human world, but some aspect(s) of the world independent of us). Some humans find kinship with these beings, take them on as teachers or allies. This just means that these people have a nature more in line with the Demon in question or some current of demonic energy in general. It also means most will likely not have this same experience.
Same with Angels. In my definition they are beings that exist to support either human existence or some function specific to humans, or they exist to direct/maintain/embody some form/expression of natural/universal order. Again, some people will jive with the energy of an Angel, some will jive with the energetic current of a group/tradition of Angels. Some will feel neither and leave them be.
Note that I am using immensely generalized modernized terms and that most spirits that fall under these ctegories will have a tradition they belong to and a traditional name for their class of being in that tradition, like animal/spirit guide to many native traditions might fit my Angels description, but I would not refer to them to their face or to native medicine practitioners as such. Similarly, some Jinn in middle eastern lore might fit the category of Demons as I have described, but I would not refer to them as Demons, I'd refer to them as Jinn in any work specific to them. I do find these terms as a great category, however, to categorize spirits in my own notes who do not fall into a predetermined cultural or religious paradigm.
Take from it what you will. I use these categories to help remove my own value judgements from entities I work with, and for that purpose, it suits me well. Let me know what you think.
Well, I'm not a Hereditory Witch, but if I could off been anything before the internet happened I would have been a ShapeShifter. As a child I would imagine being diferent animals, especially a horse.
But all in all, I think eventually I would have become a witch. I always had an interest in herbology, horror and fairy stories. Controling my own destiny and I have a vivid imagination. And then I saw my first ghost, well that changed everything for me. I knew there was something else.
An attempt to be social.Take into consideration that I am a very anti social witch creature and I usually enjoy that but 2020 made me realise that I have hardly done any work last year and it made me wonder why. The answer is: I am never alone anymore. There is no room for whipping out the weirdness where ever I please anymore, filling the dining room table with poison plant foliage and blend various concoctions, or do rituals in the living room..heck, I don't even do tarot ! Winter is harsh, no welcoming woods to visit for some occultivities, no quiet beach ..nothing. Ugh..Only thing I did in 2020 was to let my plants grow wild.
Apart from that, here are some pics of my crib, there is always a lot of northern lights here, also Polar stratospheric clouds, very beautiful.
When I think back on 2020 I must say it was dominated by horses, and as much as I love horses I hope that 2021 will be filled with craft adventures, I have a long list of things to do..I just need some solitude....
Bonus image of a magical path of toadstools that I took for my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/norwegianvvitch/