I was reading a post by Josephine McCarthy about meeting teachers and walking the path of magic. She makes some interesting points about being open to magic and meeting teachers, but what I get from that post is this: You are your best teacher. And the reasoning for that statement is simply this: No matter who you meet or where you are or what you do, you ultimately have to decide if you are open to learning, and once that's decided then you need to not only learn, but actually implement what you've learned. McCarthy points out that:
If a person truly wants to evolve within magic and penetrate even a small fragment of her mysteries then the organisations and safe boundaries need to be cast off, and the magician must forge their path of magic while wandering through the forest of life. There are no short cuts, there is no ‘destination’, magic is constantly all around you: the key is to pay attention.
There's a lot of truth to that statement. Just about any magical organization I've run into seems to, on some level, sanitize the experience of magic, confine it, make it safe, make it something which is regulated. But the experience of magic isn't meant to be regulated. What I've found with the organizations I've encountered is a dulling of the mind and spirit, a loss of creativity because the focus ends up being on the social dynamics of the organization instead of on working with magic. I'd rather focus on the magic.
You are your best teacher because while anyone can teach you something, you can only really learn if you apply and implement it. This is why in my books, and the courses I teach I tell people that they need to make what they learn their own. My books, my courses can teach you something, but unless you apply it and make it your own, what you'll learn is limited. True learning occurs when you make it your own, when you do the work, and you make it a part of your life, to the point that it becomes something you've personalized and come to understand in your own unique way.
With all that said, be open to learning from other people, books, etc. Go out and have some experiences, take some risks, live life. Magic is part of all of that and I think you find magic when you look for it and make it the central part of your life, when you are open to that moment where you meet a stranger and share something unexpected with that person that changes the way both of you experience the world, or wen you read a book and it blows your mind and gets you to think in different ways than you'd ever thought before.
My latest guest post on Pagan Square explores how to work with bacteria from a non-anthropocentric approach.
Book Review: The Necessity of Strangers By Alan Gregerman
In this book, the author argues that strangers are an essential part of innovation and that to truly cultivate creativity and innovation we need to be open to new ideas, meeting strangers and learning from different cultures and disciplines outside of our own culture or discipline. The author illustrates this point through a variety of case studies in both business and everyday life to demonstrate how contact with strangers can be helpful for sparking innovation. While the case studies are interesting the author doesn't really explain how to implement these ideas. This is a good book to read to inspire you to be open to learning from other people, but while the author provides a couple of ideas on how to do that, for the most part what he discusses is shared as ideas as opposed to really examining how to implement these ideas meaningfully. Still I recommend reading this book to challenge yourself to be more open to new ideas.