A lot of the movement within religion, or at least Christianity, in the last hundred years or so, I think, has been to bring the teachings to the people. Masses are spoken in the local language instead of Latin, with the priest facing the audience. Bible study classes are open almost every night, to any age group. Messages are everywhere of how Jesus is your friend, God is there for you, and various simpified interpretations of scriptures.
Allowing people easy access to spirituality is all well and good, but I find a lot of it to be superficial. Now before you mark me apocryphal (aren’t dictionaries fun?) and go stomp off in a huff, let me finish.
There is obviously more to the spirit than a thirty-second commercial on TV can teach you. Yet a lot of the messages out there have been spun and clipped into soundbites, similar to a politician’s press conference announcement or a preview for a movie.
Have you watched the rest of the movie? Not just the beginning or the end; not just the highlights; not just read the script. Better yet, did you read the 10,000 page novel it was based on?
The Spirit, the Source, God, Goddess, again all the same to me, are inifinite. One human mind can’t consciously understand it all. So how could a religious book, written by a select few humans, however led by the Spirit they might be, possibly be the end-all-be-all of it?
This is where we come to the Occult. The word means “hidden”. The Mysteries are Truths about the Spirit and about practice of the Spirit’s ways in your life that are beyond that superficial level. There are paths, if you do your research, in all faiths, that are deeper and farther beyond the normal everyday prayers and rituals. There are many words surrounding them: occult, arcane, cabalistic, esoteric, mystic, mysterious, enshrouded, cryptic, obscure, hermetic, recondite and **dramatic pause** heavy. They have had their followers and masters for hundreds of years, longer than Vatican II and the “Jesus Loves Me” ways of today. Many orders were persecuted as heretics, burned right along with the witches. Even now they are subject to bizarre conspiracy theories. Secrecy, to our culture at large, is not understood, is mistrusted, and people hunger for, even demand, that such hidden arts be revealed.
The Wiccans (that is, the ones who have their shit together, not necessarily all) understand why there must be occult teachings. The real Witch doesn’t practice out of a book s/he bought at Barnes & Noble (not that they have much solid New Age stuff at the one in Spartanburg anyway). That kind of book is what I call 101, like a college class. Sometimes they’re more like 100 or 038. Sure, they’re all well and good for someone just starting out on a new path, great for basics and background information. But Walking the Faith: that’s 102 and higher. That’s Occult: no one’s going to teach you that, not out of a book or in person.
And it’s not that they don’t love you or want to help you. It’s that the occult paths can’t be taught. You have to walk into the world and learn them; take everything that comes at you in life and use whatever you know to make it work. And you have to go within yourself, explore your own mind and heart and become aware of the vastness that exists there too. The path will, I think, take you into the Dark, to places you’d never have thought to go, make you think things and explore ideas that no one around you will ever understand (some paths, like Shamanism, can be downright dangerous to the psyche).
And then you find that you know quite a lot, deep down inside. And you make mistakes, and you know that they’re just lessons.
What’s really fun is when you get to 204 and higher: when you make the world your own. I haven’t completely managed it yet myself, but this blog is part of my work on it. And even if I had, it wouldn’t matter to you. But you already have everything you need to get there. You learn that the Universe wants to give you everything you desire, and you cannot truly desire something wrong. You don’t have to worry about fixing other people; each person’s world belongs to them, and no one can take anything from you that you don’t give. We all make the Universe what it is every day: “Thou art God,” you grok?