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!
Very good article Josephine!
Thank you Brother!
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I am reading a lot about Magick and living it as breath as this my way of life.
If I am not doing it correctly, my life is in deep shit.
You are a gem among the unlimited number of authors.
Until what you were teaching was true and made my life more clear.
I remember more and trying to agree more with my soul.
You are also one of few who are staying real to Magick (Hard to find authentic stuff these days with all of the new age/Wannabe Dark).
No fancy, just steak of pure magick.
Wishing you all the best.
I am full of gratitude.
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Thank you Sa’ar, that is very kind of you. xx
I’m blithely reading along, reading along, yep yep, I hear you…hang on a minute something is snagging, go back, read again…oh buggar she’s talking to me! A quartz crystal over a light will not do for a candle 🙂 Thank you – I needed this post even if I didn’t know I needed it!
hahahaha, glad it sorted you out…. yeah, you work with a candle for a very specific reason… you will be learning to work with candles in lots of different ways, and it starts at the very beginning… you are learning to work with the power and element of fire… by first ‘hanging out with it’, and having it meditate with you.
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Hmmm. I copied this passage from Epictetus into one of my notebooks just this morning before seeing your post. Perhaps it will be of inspiration to others as well.
“Pray, what figure do you think Hercules would have made if there had not been a lion, and a hydra, and a stag, and unjust and brutal men, whom he expelled and cleared away? And what would he have done if none of these had existed? Is it not plain that he must have wrapped himself up and slept? In the first place, then, he would never have become a Hercules by slumbering away his whole life in such delicacy and ease; or if he had, what good would it have done? What would have been the use of his arm and his strength, of his patience and greatness of mind, if such circumstances and subjects of action had not roused and exercised him?
What, then, must we provide these things for ourselves; and introduce a boar and a lion and a hydra into our country?
This would be madness and folly. But as they were in being, and to be met with, they were proper subjects to call out and exercise Hercules. Do you therefore likewise, being sensible of this, consider the faculties you have, and after taking a view of them say, “Bring on me now, O Zeus, what difficulty thou wilt, for I have faculties granted me by thee, and powers by which I may win honor from every event “? No; but you sit trembling, for fear this or that should happen, and lamenting and mourning and groaning at what doth happen; and then you accuse the gods! In what does such baseness end but in impiety? And yet God has not only granted these faculties by which we may bear every event without being depressed or broken by it, but, like a good prince and a true father, has placed their exercise above restraint, compulsion, or hindrance, and wholly within our own control; nor has he reserved a power, even to himself, of hindering or restraining them. Having these things free, and your own, will you not use them, nor consider what you have received, nor from whom? I undertake to show you that you have meansand faculties to exhibit greatness of soul, and a manly spirit; but what occasion you have to find fault and complain, do you show me if you can.” from The Discourses, Book 1, On Providence
Congratualations, Josephine, on completing the writing of the Adept section, your own Herculean effort.
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You are right on the nose, as always. It is a perfect quote, and it is heartening to see, but also depressing, that teachers were having to express the same thing such a very long time ago, and we are still stumbling over the same first bricks!
Thank you for taking the time to type this up, it is most appreciated and I think will be very helpful.
And thanks for the congratulations… it was like hauling boulders up a tall hill, but I have gained muscles I did not I had!
Would you mind if I re quoted this on the Quareia public facebook as I think it would be very helpful for a lot of people, to see the same thing being said millennia ago.
I hope you are doing well and it i lovely to hear from you!
No problem Josephine, it was my pleasure and joy to share this. In my notebook I wrote “The Path of Hercules” at the top and then copied this passage out longhand. (Here on your blog I was able to just cut & paste from elsewhere on the internet!) The whole passage “On Providence” is worth a read -as is Epictetus in general I think.
I also came across this quote from Virgil yesterday: “Live on in your blessings, your destiny’s been won. But ours calls us on from one ordeal to the next.”
Of course feel free to post this stuff on the Facebook group. It is interesting that the same issues crop up for students and teachers over Millennia. I guess that is one way the Mysteries protect themselves.
I’m doing well, as far as goes folks who are in this line of work, and the above quotes show. It is good to hear from you as well.
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Thank you! Yes, I have an old musty copy of the Discourses, and I really do need to get it out and read it again, it has been a bit too long on the shelf I guess! I remember when we first had to go through these in school (read to us in a droning moralistic voice), and my eyeballs used to roll back into my head in sheer boredom, but then I was only 14yrs old. The mysteries do indeed hide in plain sight!
Thank you for taking the time to write this essay and put it out there. I’m sure I will come back to this in the future as well.
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