Here’s a great question I’ve seen raised: how does one know whether or not one is ready for the next stage of alchemical development or advancement within their chosen path?
I’ve seen people race through the grades of the HOGD and similar esoteric bodies like it’s a sprint and not a marathon with the reasoning of “alchemy is just an excuse for being lazy” and other similar bullshit. Honestly, the more I look back on my time spent in the HOGD the more I realize how incredibly valuable the Outer Order was for personal development and how much of it was taken for granted, overlooked, and just plain ignored in terms of importance.
So, here’s the deal: when you’re comfortable, it’s time to move on. If you’re itching to get to the next level, it means that wherever you’re at is still stretching your comfort zone, so it’s time to stay put. Magick begins at the end of your comfort zone, and this goes in all areas of life. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Like with physical fitness, those muscles need growing, stretching, and strengthening time. There are times when it’s good to take a rest day and there are times when you gotta suck it up, buttercup, because you won’t evolve unless you do.
This is why when I first was getting back into yoga I kept requesting core work when the teacher would ask what we wanted to focus on that day. It wasn’t because I loved core workouts; I fucking HATED them. I found them challenging, hard, and I was struggling to get any of it done. Now I have an emerging six pack, and core workouts are now a strength as opposed to a weakness. But that meant sucking it up and practicing, practicing, practicing so I could get better at them.
Alchemy is a very similar deal. Much like muscles, you may find that some aspects of your life are more out of shape than others–and will wail and scream when exercising. Out of all of the grades in the HOGD I had the most amount of growing pains in Practicus. The Water element was NOT my friend. I was itching to get out of there so badly it hurt because the entire GRADE hurt. There were a lot of lessons I had to revisit later because I don’t think I spent enough time there. I think I should’ve been held back another year, quite frankly, but all in all I have no regrets.
I knew that I had found the ideal magickal system for me recently when I found myself thinking, “Holy hell, I feel like a fucking Neophyte. I know NOTHING. This is all over my head. HELP. WTF.” Nothing good will ever come easy,and pearls are formed in oysters through constant irritation.