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How to avoid the pitfalls and downfalls of learning magick.
One problem which really gets in our way and the way of the paths is, when we as magicians work with and/or honour a particular spirit/deity/lwa/etc. is when we are so busy putting our preconceptions onto them, that we don't get to see fully who they really are. Or at all of who they are sometimes. We have our own preconceived notions, then there is false information floating around the internet, and also most books presenting the authors own lack of proper teacher biases and misunderstandings.
So even if we do end up with the right being, which sometimes it would be difficult to, if we are looking in the incorrect directions/energy, then we would only end up interacting with a small sliver of that actual being.
This is one of many major drawbacks when self taught folks, folks who don't listen to their teachers, folks who's teachers are only book read, and those who weren't ever really given the path/allowed in, go and write books, post on the internet and teach others! Also, nothing wrong with waiting 10, 20, or 30 years before deciding you are the be all end all of that path ;). Of course if your teacher has acknowledged that you are in fact read for that position, this is another thing. I'm more thinking of folks who dabble in in many different paths during their first years.
It is a bit of a rant :D. This rant has been inspired by what I have seen out there in the ways of groups, orders, books, websites, and so forth being created by those not really even in the path.
Ranting is good and all, but we should at least offer some suggestions on how to avoid such downfalls. Doing one's best to find a teacher who is actually initiated if it is an initiatory tradition (not all are), finding a teacher where the path and teachings have been handed down for more than one generation (several if you are lucky). Spending much time contemplating and meditating on whether a certain path or teacher is right for you; obviously most do change paths at least once in their lifetime. Asking known path elders for recommendations, or if someone is legit or not is often a good way to go, but not always since every path has elders which have their head planted firmly up... anyways.
I have personally found that the best way to find a really good teacher, and to end up with the right information eventually, on any particular path, be in magic, martial arts, or anything related with spirits watching over it, is to make requests, daily of the path guardians/spirits/deities/ancestors/beings. In particular I mean requests that you be taught, by a legitimate source and things be opened to you. Now that I have said this, I also have to give a warning ;). Be careful what you wish for. What is seen cannot be unseen. What is opened cannot be shut (well not with much work, and people often charge for these services lol), what is changed in one particular direction cannot just just dropped or changed overnight (or even with a year or few in some cases).
Actual magic, and the teachings beyond what is out there for the general public and those who only want to get their big toe wet, really are life changing, energy altering, and you really do end up quite different in the end. If you are comfy with your attachments and the status quo, and how things are now, perhaps avoid the deeper magics, or perhaps just work very slowly, so that you can adapt as you go along:)