While I apologize for the delay in this post, it has been a busy few weeks.
A discussion had been bantered around about the right way and the wrong way to do magick. All and all I think it comes down to doing what is right versus what is popular. The two are almost always different paths. The trick is to hold your ground even when your ego is being stroked by the masses to do otherwise. Most of the masses are perfectly willing to embrace anyone who tells them that there is a short cut to doing the Work. When in fact most of the pagan masses are not at all concerned about doing the Work. They are just concerned about feeling cool being "different." Which is fine, but is not to be confused with magick or the Great Work.
I know all about wanting to take short cuts. When I first started I was a poster child for reading a few pages and going for it. I had just enough juice in the early day to fry my ass to a crisp. So for those that are magickal turnips flail away you are no danger to yourself or others. For those that are not, take heed the process is worth the study. Because there is no magickal whiteout, just object lessons to be learned.
At one point in my magickal career I was sitting in what can only be described as a cave with Hymenaeus Beta. We were discussing the nature of the Gnostic Mass and magick in general. He made a great analogy to baking that has stuck with me for all of these years.
He said "magick is like baking if you put all of the right ingredients together you will get generally what you are aiming for. If you however are trying to make a apple pie but use peaches and peppers instead you will get something, but it will not be an apple pie."
On a similar note I pinned down John Michael Greer at one Pantheacon and asked where the traditional attributions for plants came from. I was expecting great pearls when he looked at me quite plainly and said "Well from the Grimoires of working renaissance magickians. They are not set in stone, skry them for yourself and find out ." I have done just that over the years and for the most part found them to be right on for my paradigm.
Follow me for a moment on a bit of a history lesson. There was once a pharaoh who felt that the capital should be moved to another area for religious reasons. Another city was built and for 30 years chariots circled the walled city day and night. They wore a deep groove in the Earth from their continuous efforts. After the pharaoh died the capital was moved back. To this day the grooves worn in the Earth eons ago can still be seen from space and by the naked eye.
This is the secret to correspondences and traditions. There is a great deal of inertia behind them. There is a groove that they fit in and it is easier to follow the current of the river rather than swim against it. Sometimes there are very good reasons to swim against it. Not knowing that you are swimming against it does not make you enlightened it means you are not paying attention.
So when you find yourself needing to be right about all things at all times and have the masses stroking your ego, know that you have stepped into one of the classic ego traps. The first trap is to think that you must kill the ego. The second is to have it grow to such proportions that it must be fed constantly least it wither and your magickal existence become threatened. So when you find yourself on the cross roads of what is right and what is popular, think long and hard about what path to take.