Getting old

I am told that as you get older you get more Right Wing and start muttering about how much better things were when you were a kid. I found myself in a conversation with Marian Green the other day in which I found myself entirely out of sync with the modern flow.
I have been making it somewhat clear lately that people expect Magical Groups to let them in just by virtue of them showing up. They appear on various webgroups and say “I live in (insert place) and I want to join a (insert magic order).” They then expect to be contacted by someone who heads a local group who will draft them into their Order. However if you ask them to drive any more than an hour away they start appealing to other groups. A shred of effort required and people throw their hands up in the air and look elsewhere.
I found myself saying “what happened to the dedication that was required of students to join a magical group?” Then began the comment which began “when I was a kid….”
Modern magical groups have become so desperate for members that they have forgotten what they are supposed to be doing. If someone is not prepared to show the slightest bit of dedication then chances are they are not going to do the work required either. Sooner or later they will just get bored and look for some other novelty. Real magic requires years before a person masters it and if people are not prepared to jump in a car or a plane to find the right training and path then let some other group have them.
But I wondered what it was that has bought this state of affairs about. Marian was telling me she was lucky to find the right people who got her into the right groups at the right time in history. I was the same. But there was no Internet then and really finding a group was a huge effort. Now there are hundreds all vying for students.
This competition has let standards slip. One person who heard I was setting up an Order told me he wanted to join but he gave me a list of criteria which would enable him to do so. This included how often he could attend. He said it was impossible for him to attend more often because he was in an amateur dramatic club who met on the same day but some days they didn’t meet because the group leader had to spend time with their daughter.
So, the Keys to Reality are only to be studied when your Am Dram teacher has some time off? “When I was a kid” the Mysteries were something you dedicated your life to and placed it first even if such decisions ended up incredibly painful. In fact the dedication necessary has cost me two marriages and forced me to move at least five times in my life. I don’t mind this, it is all part of the path, but it seems that level of dedication “these days” is considered obsessive.
I left New Zealand to join Servants of the Light. In those days they had workshops on ritual magic which I wanted to take. I was happy in New Zealand, I had a good job in one of the prettiest places in the world. I had training from Whare Ra people and the Order of the Table Round. But my search for ‘something else’ lead me first to those SOL workshops, then the lodge system which was being developed by David Goddard. These were important to my training and development something which was noted by the Whare Ra people when I came back on holiday five years later. But I had to come half-way around the world to get that (as a result I cant see me ever going back).
Now, I don’t think I am dedicated enough. While I spend most of my day at my computer writing occult stuff for the Order, I don’t do nearly enough practical magic on a daily basis – some days it is just a couple of pentagram rituals. But most people hope to avoid even that. There are temple chiefs who never do any magic and rising stars in occult orders who don’t believe in doing regular meditation. There are Orders who cannot teach because their leader do not study, and cannot really initiate because they can’t make the spiritual connection to do so. Instead of being places of magic they have become kindergartens of the ego.
What many people fail to understand that occultism is about doing. If you can’t do that then an Order can’t teach. If the Order takes you on knowing that you can’t do, then they never intended to teach you in the first place.
It was not like this when I was a kid but now I have got old the world has gone to hell. Get off my lawn!