Now that more people are reaching into Quareia and studying the course, more people are asking the same questions, so it maybe pertinent to cover some of those answers here in a blog. Many of the topics covered here are also relevant to magical students of other systems of training.As I have said in previous blog posts, the Apprentice section of the course is the longest and hardest for so many different reasons. It challenges you to think for yourself, to learn to adapt and improvise, and also to learn how to learn magically as opposed to theoretical study, which is very different. It is a tough climb that forces the student to test their power of resolve in the face of difficulty – it is this phase that filters out those who are halfhearted about climbing the ladder.
Cramming for exams?
Many people have asked me about having to remember everything, about being tested, and are fearful that they will not able to retain everything. A lot of this fear has come up in people who have been through the university system or magical training where they were expected to cram for exams and written tests. Quareia does not work that way at all.
You are exposed to a lot of different things that you have to take in, and are introduced to some books that can be pretty dense and hard going, particularly the classical ones. This is not for you to revise and remember, and be able to quote back reams of texts, rather it is to expose you to something different, something that will change you at a deep level. The information goes in and percolates at a deep level, and when it mixes with your direct experiences, it changes you and deepens your understanding. It is your understanding that is challenged: you are not tested on texts like a college test, rather a mentor speaks to you in order to see if understanding is dawning slowly in layers.
If you are not being mentored, it is still about the change the studies bring to you. These studies are for you, for your own alchemical evolution, not so that you can prove it to anyone else – this is about the shifts and dawn within you. By having to go through different texts, rather than simply have bites of information given to you, you learn to spot peripheral information and knowledge, you get distracted down a side alley at times, that leads you to an inspiration, which in turn widens your view internally and intellectually.
Also, it works individually for you: you will get a layer of meaning that someone else does not – the Mysteries are not called Mysteries without good reason: they are woven layers of wisdom, experience, inspiration and transformation, and that is always individual to you while also being in a collective. You get what is necessary for you, at that point in time. When you go back over those texts in a few years’ time, you will see another layer, and another, that you did not spot before.
On that same subject – I put up a book list a while ago on the website and immediately became swamped by people panicking that there were so many books on the list, so I took it down. In the course, you are introduced to titles either to read part of, or to have around you for reference that you can return to. It is not like a degree book list where everything has to be read and absorbed. Every adept magician has (or should have) a working library of books that are classical literature, funerary texts, Materia Medica, history, folklore and so forth. These are used to dip in and out of as necessary when it is pertinent, for reference and inspiration. Some texts, particularly parts of classical texts, become helpful to read in larger amounts when the right time comes.
If you get all the books on the list while still an apprentice, you will not understand why you have them and they will make no sense to you. But if you start to read them or dip into them when prompted, you will come to the texts with purpose and context, so that you will be able to draw what you need from them, as well as learn how to approach them properly.
So don’t panic! Chill out… meander through the studies – it is like a river that bends this way and that while taking you on a journey. You are studying for the expansion of your own experiences, wisdom and knowledge, not learning facts that you have to then reproduce.
It is too hard, it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill……..
Yes, the apprentice section can feel like that at times, as it is the Path of Hercules – it is called that for a reason! If you try to work to a fixed schedule, fixed goals, and try to control your progress, it will turn into a battle that you will lose.
Magic has its own time and place, it has its own speed, its own boundaries and its own obstacles – it cannot be rushed, it cannot be pushed to conform to a schedule, and time cannot be predicted (I will be at X module by December). The apprentice section slowly inches you into the waters of magic, and sometimes they can be fast moving waters that are turbulent, and other times they are still and you have to work hard to get anywhere, or you just float for a while and take in the scenery.
The progress, particularly in the apprentice section also relies not only on your work ethic and keen mind, it also depends upon your body, what is happening to your body at that time, and also what is happening around you at work, at home and out in the world. You are a part of a holism in life, and the course works through that holism: there will be times it is not right for you to jump forward, and you will be held back. At other times, you will push forward suddenly – the tide is in your favour.
A lot of the learning in the apprentice section is about learning to flow with the tides, and learning that magic is a part of your life 24/7, not just at 3pm on Wednesday and Fridays – everything you do has the potential for magic to flow through it. Because of that, learning to bend and flex with time and schedule, while not kidding yourself and being lazy, is important.
It really is tough work, and everyone without exception will find parts of the apprentice section really tough going – that is normal and is all part of the process…. Don’t worry about it. Some find they want to go back and go over sections of work to get a deeper layer of it and get it solid for them, and some find that they have to spend ages on part of the training in order to really ‘get it’. Again, that is just normal and is not something to stress over. This is not a course you can flit through and tick the boxes when you finish a bit – it will find your weaknesses and deficits, and it will make you work them until they are strong. Everyone will be different: some really struggle with meditation, some with divination, some with the visionary work, and some with the more subtle aspects of the learning.
If there is an area that you know you are going to have to do a lot of repeat work or practice to really get it, continue to move forward while also practicing your weaker parts…. You will find that things start to click into place when they are ready. Also you may find that you pick up on the many layers in the sections of the course: you get one layer, then another one pops up, so you stay in that section for a while and explore the layers within it. If you find a section particularly hard, it may be because you have hit a deeper layer of it and it is giving you a work out – it is a good sign, not a bad one! Practicing and honing the skills are essential.
What if I can’t get…….
There are people from all over the world studying Quareia and of course it is going to happen that you are told in the course to do X or to get and work with Y, but you find that such things are not possible or available where you are. If you are just being lazy (If you have to drive two hours to get to a forest or a spring… well, suck it up sunshine) then you will get kicked up the butt by the course inner contacts, or they would drift away from you if you are uncommitted.
But if you really cannot do or get something, then use your imagination – learn to improvise. But improvise wisely…. For example if you do not have a candle, do not use an electric pretend candle – that is not flame/fire, that is light/electric which are two very different things indeed, and have different magical effects.
Think very carefully about what the exercise is about, what elements are involved and why, what contacts are involved and why, and then improvise from there. Even deserts have some small springs if you ask the locals, even a birthday cake candle will work as a candle (one apprentice showed me – ingenious) – don’t think about the surface presentation, rather, think about what is the power behind the presentation. If you are in the southern hemisphere and everything is set in the NH, then work it out for yourself, test your own method and see if it works ok.
This is all part of the training – learn to have the magic evolve with you as you grow. Sure you will make mistakes, but we learn just as much from mistakes as we do from successes…always. A magician who has never made a mistake is one who is not doing enough, or who is not paying enough attention.
Most important of all….. enjoy it… play with it……experiment with it…. Explore and discover. Come back muddy, bruised and a lot wiser with experience!