Since my last blog post I have had a few emails from various teachers and students, each taking me to task not only for my opinions, but also for the way I have addressed things in my last blog post. Some had a good valid point that I need to clarify and some, well, some need their head to be inserted up their ass.
The one issue that was raised that I think needs a bit of attention is this – commercial teaching is not always bad and that I have generalised too much in a way that is detrimental to good teachers. This is true and the short comment in my last blog did a lot of good people a disservice while I was trying to highlight something negative that does happen on a frequent basis that is not good for magical education. My original comment was:
When a course is launched commercially, it is not in the financial interests of the teacher to not engage with or to not hand hold the student – this immediately undermines the potential of the student and does not set a path of true self discovery and development.
So let me clarify.
The trouble with writing about this issue is that it is very hard not to make generalisations and even harder to highlight all the various permutations of this issue. So let me try and be a bit clearer without having to write an epic.
Magic and magical teachers/schools, like everything else in life have various colours on the spectrum. At one end we have the purely commercial cut throat teachers/school who often do not have that much knowledge of magic, but they are usually a whizz at psychology, people manipulation, advertising, presentations and stroking egos. They run slick courses that are either widely yummy to the gullible (I can teach you to get what you want from magic) or are heavily steeped in magical ‘glamour’ with lots of robes, secrets and unintelligible teachings. They stand on high pedestals, charge large sums of money and what the student gets in return is mainly rubbish littered with some interesting magical crumbs, along with lot of hand holding and ego stroking. That is an extreme, but one that is all too common these days.
At the other end of the spectrum are teachers who work hard to produce course work
and classes for students, mentor/teach students through their magical training and charge a reasonable fee for it that pays for their time, time that they otherwise would have to be spent working to earn money in some other way. Often those fees are sensible, and enable the training to happen while also allowing the magician to provide for his or her family. Often most teachers do a mix of free work and charge for things they need to charge for. There is nothing wrong with that and it ensures the training exists: don’t forget magicians eat too, and pay rent.
And most important of all – and the root of the comment that created the flurry of emails – if you earn your money from teaching and mentoring, which is a perfectly valid thing to do, do not fall into the trap of behaving, speaking, interacting, or teaching a student a certain way in order to ensure they continue to pay money. That, more then anything else, does a vast disservice to magic. It weakens the student, weakens the teaching and destroys the magic. If you have a student who pays well but is not a good student, is not working properly, is not capable of doing the work or is wanting you to spoon feed them, then cut them loose. The right student cannot come along if your time is filled with students who are not working hard or are not truly suited to magic, and they are just playing at it; you are not teaching magic in that circumstance, you are merely taking money for giving someone attention.
These dynamics are not specific to magic, the crop up in religious teachings, the arts, music, anything really. Teach with integrity and take from it what you need in order to continue teaching if that is what you are supposed to be doing. So long as you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, the universe has an interesting way of steering resources/people to you to help you if you are truly doing what you need to do: the vessel cannot function properly if it is not resourced.
I have written at length about these issues before in my blog, and I didn’t think I needed to go over them again, but after the third teacher got in touch with me, I realised I did have to say something. I also need to get back to writing Quareia… so I will shut up now.