Going it Alone: Initiatory Groups and Solo Work

“I’m not one for group work,” says the earnest Seeker. “I’d rather go it alone. My tastes are too weird and quick to evolve for sustaining any cohesive group, plus, I mostly Work on my Self anyway.”

“The Left-Hand-Path and being a member of some group are antithetic to each other”, says the ardent Antinomian.

So when a Novice Magician says, “I need the support of a magical group for my self-development, but I have no idea what that support could be in practice”, the former two balk.

“You don’t need it”, the Seeker says, “you only need yourself”.

“Don’t do it”, says the Antinomian, “you’ll lose track of yourself”.

As summer rolls in, Finns crawl out of their caves to frolic in the sun. It’s like the whole nation goes from recluse to hypomanic extrovert for as long as the sun is up — and it’s up all night long. We drink deeply of each other’s company, of the nature and the sunlight, perhaps go on an adventure or two, so that come fall, we’re content to seclude ourselves again, curl up with a book or film for the long, dark winter months.

And so it is with a Magical School. A good magical group or School is one that nourishes your personal work instead of replacing it. That brings something to your Work you wouldn’t have come up with yourself, and that changes the dynamics of your Work just enough to help you see where to find Results.

The main task of the Black Magician is self-work, and it is something we can only go alone. We need to walk our solitary ways in the stark darkness of our inner winters, diving deep into our psyches. But in order to do that, we can benefit from having somewhere where we can come up for air.

Social contacts, in general, can foster our Becoming (as long as not compulsive). We can learn a lot about ourselves in social situations, if we are vigilant. A good School will do more than that.

The Seeker, with a restless mind, will learn how to be more Focused on his Aims, which will help him make the most of his intuitive eclecticism.

The Antinomian, if she gets over her blanket distaste for groups, will see that not all groups undermine the individuals they’re made of.

The Novice Magician will learn that support can be harder for the receiver than they expected it to be, and they will learn that they have as much to give as they receive.

No School is for everyone, and some are better off with no School at all. Each of us must figure out ourselves if we wish to go it alone, or if our solitude could benefit from the complement of a magical group or School.

Keep in mind, anyway, that self-work and group-work are not antitheses by necessity. Rather, they’ve become antitheses by convention — and this is a convention the Antinomian Magician need not heed.


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