There is an old Craft saying that “the blood recognizes the blood in another“. While some would see this as elitist, I don’t think that makes it any less true. Sometimes I feel like some witches I’ve come across are roleplaying their Craft, including some that are in positions of authority. My theory is that they’re either lazy with their practices (even if they weren’t initially) or they’ve rushed through their training.
I believe that different people get different things out of Witchcraft and Paganism. But for those with a focus on mastering magick, Witchcraft takes work. It takes dedication. It takes perseverance. For some, these statements will stir up insecurities of inadequacy and that isn’t my intention. My intention here is to hopefully inspire and motivate you in your own practice.
I do not consider myself anywhere near the level of “mastery” of anything. I do not consider myself even a master of myself. I’m not even completely convinced that this idea even really exists. If a teacher’s goal is to genuinely desire that their students surpass them, then mastery is an ever elevating bar, regardless of what that tradition or practice is.
Though I teach and share, I see myself as a seeker and a student first and foremost. I sincerely believe that an earnest witch lighting a candle and making a simple wish with a focused will can be infinitely more powerful than a witch performing a complex rite from an archaic book of magick for the same goal with a shoddy adeptness of the principles employed. It all depends on the level of work that they’ve put into their path and practice.
Many witches rush through their basics and their practice. Perhaps because they’re completely focused on completing tasks for a level of training that they’re going through and moving on to the next stage. Perhaps its because they are not taking personal accountability for their own practice and growth and are relying on the validation of their teacher to tell them that they’ve mastered a certain stage. Perhaps they’ve become bored with the work that they’re doing. Perhaps it is in their sense of hubris that something more complex means that it’s more powerful and therefore are seeking the powerful.
Just because something is basic or simple, does not mean that it isn’t immensely powerful. In fact, it is in the basics that I believe we can come closer to understanding the notion that the blood recognizes the blood in others. “She changes everything She touches and everything She touches, changes.” I have found that there are continual attunements and initiations that occur in the basic practices that many others feel they’ve mastered.
I have seen “advanced” magickal practitioners cast circles and call upon deities where there’s absolutely no shift of energy within the room at all, nevertheless the creation of sacred space. It just seems like they’re going through the motions or putting on a show. Their auras look exactly the same before, during, and after the ritual. However, I have also seen dedicated earnest seekers begin to radiate just from grounding and centering themselves.
Sometimes this is picked up through succinct psychic means, but often it is experienced as just an intensely strong comfort with the individual, a sense of familiarity and kinship, and a high level of respect without recognizing exactly why. There’s just this knowing in regards to the nature of their heart and spirit. I believe this is because we’re feeling the energies within them that we spend so much time with ourselves, so there’s this recognition. You can feel the energies that they’ve spent time with because you’ve spent time with it as well. There’s just this je ne sais quoi about them.
From where I am in my path it would appear to me that mastery is not so much about reaching a certain end goal, but rather seeing how deep you can take a practice and striving to better your experience with it.
Meditation, for example, is one of the simplest techniques out there – but it is also one of the most profound and transformative. The simple act of closing your eyes, focusing on nothing but your breath, can seem basic and easily tempting to rush through. But how many people do you know that cannot meditate, that cannot clear their minds or focus on solely one thing with every sense engaged with it.
You can’t build a great structure on a weak foundation. Regardless of where you are on your path, ensure that part of your daily spiritual and magickal routine involves really deepening into the basics. How much deeper can a simple practice element of magick go?
I encourage you to not lose sight of the foundations. We practice witchcraft. Perhaps because it is something that can never truly be mastered, but rather something that we deepen and strive to perfect just a little better every time we engage in it.
Witchcraft is often considered a crooked path that weaves serpentine-like between the right-hand and left-hand paths. I am not convinced that this path has a destination, but rather that the path itself is about the journey. I suspect that this serpentine path is actually ouroboric.