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relatively new.

Post  individ on Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:26 am

Hello, I wanted to introduce myself and possibly ask a question if I may.

My name is Peter, I'm 29 and from the United Kingdom. My mother was a medium, not the kind that charges people money to contact the dead, infact I think if she could have chose not to be one then she would have, she just saw spirits / ghosts whatever you may want to call them on a regular basis and the only people she ever spoke to about it was me and the rest of my family, it wasn't something she could control and she certainely couldn't decide she wanted to talk to Michael Jackson for instance.

Because of that I became intensely interested in the occult from an early age, it felt like some kind of calling in my life, but that all was staggered when I was 16 and my girlfriend at the time who was an extremely devout Christian convinced me that I should abandon it all as it would send me to hell.. over the years that concept has messed with my psyche a lot, until finally this year I came to a point where I effectively renounced any ties I had with christianity in my mind. I want to make it clear that I'm not anti christian, I just no longer regard myself as one, I also don't disbelieve in it.. it's more correct to me to say that I'm willing to believe that any faith exists for those who believe in it.. if that makes any sense at all. I just don't like constricting myself with the doctrines practiced by it.

Anyways, to continue on.. I launched myself back into studying the occult with the intentions of practicing, I've downloaded all of the digimob torrents and many other torrents I've found, the trouble is.. now armed with this effectively giant library of occult tomes I have no idea where to start.. I know the material you begin learning from will affect your viewpoints and so I'm struggling to decide on the best route. Currently I'm following Israel Regardie's 12 steps manual as I've seen people online talk about it as if that's where they wished they had begun. I'm also reading Crowley's Book of Thoth in order to learn his tarot deck.

So really, what I would like to ask, from any of the learned people on these forums is if you had to start fresh, knowing what you know now, which books would you want to read first? it doesn't have to be material that I am able to download as I have no objections to going out and purchasing any given book if it's a good choice.

Honestly, thank you to anyone that can be of any help at all.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  amandachen on Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:39 am

I think it's useful to have an overview of ritual and religious practices in different traditions.

This series is very good: Princeton Readings in Religions. I think the Tibetan book is flying around as a torrent. If you could pick just one, then I'd recommend Tantra in Practice, or Religions of Asia in Practice (which contains samples of articles from five of the books). Avoid the abridged versions.

The volumes in the Witchcraft and Magic in Europe series are also very good. I think some of these are floating around as PDFs.

Read what you can about tantra, but not those awful books about sexual massage. You'll find that it will aid you in your Western studies.
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Re: relatively new.

Post  ezavan on Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:32 pm

i'm pretty happy i started where i did, i second amanda's recommendation to begin with tantra, as it's foundations are somewhat universal in cultures all around the world. taoism had a big impact on me in the beginning, then i moved to golden dawn style ceremonial work, then consumed the chaos magic canon (peter carroll, phil hine, ray sherwin, austin osman spare...everything ever published by the above authors, with a strong emphasis on spare) and started studying the cutting edge of physics since the 60's. there's a lot of magic that science is now uncovering as a deeper mystery than newton could have comprehended. of course, it's up to you, the most important thing i think is to follow your intuition, especially if you feel a "calling".
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Re: relatively new.

Post  amandachen on Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:18 pm

ezavan wrote:the most important thing i think is to follow your intuition, especially if you feel a "calling".
likely to be a huge waste of time
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Re: relatively new.

Post  individ on Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:52 am

ah amanda is likely right about it, I would have gone down that path had I never stopped my studies and maybe will again in the future (of trying to follow my heart in which direction I'm supposed to be going), but at this point I feel comfortable in asking more knowledgable people for the best route into it and being willing to take a chance on their judgement.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  neutralrobotboy on Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:52 am

Hi and welcome!

Personally, I've recently been impressed by BOTA's introductory material. It's in digest 22, in the directory "Courses", a file called "BOTA.zip". Crowley's "Liber E" and "Liber O" also stand out to me as good places to pick up starting practices. Personally, I've found pranayama especially useful (and hell, breathing is at least as universal as sexual energy).

As far as following your intuition, I'll give my two cents, though I don't claim any authority of any kind to back it up: If you start off following your intuition or "calling", there's a good chance that you'll wind up convincing yourself of things that aren't really true because you probably have a lot of clutter between you and a really clear head. So, it seems like an easy way to get lost. I've certainly fallen victim to this tendency quite a lot.

On the other hand, looking back, I feel that I needed to make certain mistakes to learn certain lessons, and I don't regret any apparent wandering I may have done. I wouldn't even characterize it as a waste of time. In my view: If you keep an open mind, if you don't cling to the idea that what you perceive to be your intuition is always going to be right (and are prepared to admit when it seems to be wrong), if you stay willing to try to look honestly at yourself and your hidden motivations, if you are willing and able to keep learning as you go, if you don't lose sight of your rational faculties altogether -- Then you should set aside fear of mistakes. With a bit of honest work, mistakes can be transformed into strengths. If you bear this in mind, following the intuition seems to me like a fine idea.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:00 am

On the other hand, looking back, I feel that I needed to make certain mistakes to learn certain lessons, and I don't regret any apparent wandering I may have done. I wouldn't even characterize it as a waste of time.

Ditto.
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Re: relatively new.

Post  Hadrianswall on Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:23 am

Hi Peter, thank you for your honesty and candour I am sure that this will serve you well on your chosen path. I have very little to add but would like to say that it is not necessary to turn your back on Christianity unless you feel that it is an important step for you to do so. There are many Mystical and Magical paths which work within the Christian tradition.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that by walking away from Christianity you will be walking away from; Dogma and inflexibility; people who know better than you; people who mistake their opinion ‘for’ truth; Zealots, Bigots and Evangelists. They will follow you always, whatever the path. But as you forge your ‘own bonds’ with your ‘own truth’ they will become much less significant. (Then the danger is more in becoming one than being infected by one. HaHa)

In many Taoist traditions 100 days is taken as a reasonable 'try before you buy' period. You spend 100 days completely committed to a system practicing and immersing yourself within it. During this time you keep a diary as a reference point. After 100 days you will know if the system is having a discernable effect, if it is something which stokes the fires of your inspiration, if it is something which resonates with your inner truths etc. If it isn’t, no harm no foul, maybe you were doing it wrong, maybe it’s not the system for you or maybe it’s just hokum, doesn’t matter the why just let it go.

To answer your original question “if you had to start fresh, knowing what you know now, which books would you want to read first?” I much agree with what neutralboy wrote and so can’t really answer that. I am not the person now that I was then. I am sure that what I value now would have been no use to me then, much like what rocked my boat when I was younger leaves me indifferent now.

Good luck with your journey
In LVX
Hadrian

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Re: relatively new.

Post  individ on Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:00 am

Leaving Christianity to me seems to be the right choice, there was quite a few things about it that never quite sat right with me.. but in order to not possibly offend anyone or divert the subject too much I'd rather not go into the details, I have no issues with Christianity as such I just no longer wish to regard myself as part of it but have no disagreements with people that do follow the faith. At the end of the day, it simply wasn't right for me and I clung to it for far too long simply because I was born into it.

The 100 days idea sounds like a great idea to be honest. I'll definitely use that as a guideline, if after 100 days the path I'm going down doesn't appear right for me then I'll consider changing.

Thank you for that.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  Lucian Gerrit on Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:37 pm

Welcome individ, nice to have ya here. :] I'm pretty new to all this myself, but something I'd like to have already spent some time on is Qabalah, as it keeps popping up in the Tarot and Golden Dawn stuff I look into.
'course, its not like I cant, I just want to finish what I started on first. Razz

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Re: relatively new.

Post  amandachen on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:15 am

Waite's The Holy Kabbalah is extremely good - have you read it, Lucian?
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Re: relatively new.

Post  Frater_NS on Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:12 am

amandachen wrote:Waite's The Holy Kabbalah is extremely good - have you read it, Lucian?
You surely jest? For an introductory book, Waite is a very dry choice. Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabalah would be my recommended first book on the esoteric Qabalah.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  amandachen on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:19 am

Frater_NS wrote: Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabalah would be my recommended first book on the esoteric Qabalah.
That book is pretty much worthless.
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Re: relatively new.

Post  Khephra on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:02 am

Ha!

Having read both items in question, I'd say they're both worth familiarizing yourself with. However, for new students, I might actually point to Lon Milo DuQuette to get things rolling.

Different strategies, paths and outcomes. Wink

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Re: relatively new.

Post  Frater_NS on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:31 pm

amandachen wrote:
Frater_NS wrote: Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabalah would be my recommended first book on the esoteric Qabalah.
That book is pretty much worthless.

Not a very useful remark for a beginner Amanda. Any book on the QBL becomes worthless, only when you've realized the tree of life internally through meditation.

William Gray's The Ladder Of Lights is another book I recommend. I agree with Khephra, that Lon Milo DuQuette's books are good introductions as well.

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Re: relatively new.

Post  amandachen on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:35 pm

Frater_NS wrote:Not a very useful remark for a beginner Amanda. Any book on the QBL becomes worthless, only when you've realized the tree of life internally through meditation.
Her book is badly written and is lacking in substance. It's the one book of hers that I've never read all the way through - I found it dull twenty-two years ago, and I don't suppose the book has changed since.
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Re: relatively new.

Post  Frater_NS on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:50 pm

amandachen wrote:Her book is badly written and is lacking in substance. It's the one book of hers that I've never read all the way through - I found it dull twenty-two years ago, and I don't suppose the book has changed since.
Smile

I see where you are coming from on this. There is some good stuff in Dion's book, but should be read in conjunction to a more practical book like Ladder of Lights.

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Re: relatively new.

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