It's April. Each year, in April, I remember when I first learned about magic, learned that it was real, learned that people practiced it, believed in it, did something with it. I was sixteen at the time. I was a born again Christian who was dissatisfied with the answers I'd gotten to my spiritual questions, as well as the rabid intolerance displayed by the other born agains. And as always I'd turned to my fantasy books, to read about other worlds, other lives, and most importantly the magic. One day, in April, this one kid sat me down in the school library and told me a story about how he'd astral projected and fought a demon. He was trying to freak me out, because he noticed I read fantasy books. So he was really surprised when I calmly told him to bring me books to read about this subject. He blinked, a bit surprised and then told me he'd bring them the next day. And he did. He brought a couple pamphlets about astral projection and magic. I devoured them within a day or so, eager to try out the exercises and begin unlocking the mysteries of the universe and myself. He was surprised at how quickly, how eagerly I took to the material and that weekend took me to the local new age shop, where I bought my first couple of books and started down my long road of magical practice. We became friends, and I kept reading and practicing, desiring both to be the best possible magician I could be, and also wanting to attain a sense of power in my life that I'd never really had before then.
Over time my motivation for practicing magic has changed a lot. Instead of trying to attain power or be the best possible magician I can be, I find myself in a place where I explore the spiritual questions, landscapes, and realities of magic from an experimenter/mystic's perspective...seeking not so much for self-glorification, but rather for increased awareness and appreciation of the connection between myself and reality.
And over time I've experienced a lot of disillusionment about the occult community and the various posturings I see within it, as well as the rather desperate need to be counter cultural and rebellious for the sake of being it, instead of offering any real solutions or efforts toward genuine change. I've become very selective about who I associate with and who I share a lot of my deeper work with. I've also learned that the best magical order you can belong to is the one you create yourself, even as I've also learned that I can be more a team person as it were than I used to be, but I also still prefer a lot of my solitary practices. And I've learned that any measure of success is ultimately subjective, and that the process speaks a lot more to my spirituality than any of my results have ever done. I'm on a journey, and it speaks for itself.
And now...I've practiced magic for half of my life. My practices have changed a lot. They are much more varied and deeper and far more focused on contemporary approaches to practice, as well as other disciplines. But still, each year, in April, I can't help but smile and remember that sixteen year old who discovered magic was real and started out on a journey which has brought him far more spiritual and personal satisfaction than any other prior spiritual exploration had. I've changed a lot, grown in many different directions, but there's still that part of me filled with wonder and excitement about at last discovering that magic was real! And I'm glad, even with some of my disillusionment, I can still find him after all these years.