Adventures in Hermeticism and the Advancing Pagan

It’s funny how our research interests change as we age and our work progresses (“And by we you mean I,” my internal therapist gently chides.).  I’ve gone through long phases, particularly in the beginning, where if something wasn’t immediately and obviously related to Wicca then I didn’t give it the time.  I remember watching The Craft at the height of my Teen Witch days and noticing that, in the scene where the girls are at Mass and Nancy is pretending not to notice Chris carrying Sarah’s book, Nancy is absorbing herself in a book on Qabalah.  I remember very distinctly thinking to myself, “Why on earth would Nancy care about Qabalah as a witch?”

My adolescent naiveté is pretty hilarious to me now, given 1) that I assumed that the study of Qabalah must be terribly boring and 2) that I failed to recognize the relationship between Wicca and Qabalah.  Now, eighteen years since I first saw The Craft (holy shit, guys, the nineties began decades ago) I find myself completely absorbed in its study.  It began with the progression of my tarot course (because you can’t study Rider-Waite without studying Qabalah) and then I started seeing tiny parts of my Craft experience and training click into place (in frustratingly miniscule pieces at this point, but still).  It’s actually kind of blowing my mind.

A couple of years ago, I tried to read Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah, which went very poorly, but now that I’ve spent some time examining things through the lens of tarot (with materials from Wald Amberstone and BOTA), I think I’m ready to have another go at it.

This, again, is why I have so little sympathy for Pagans who purport to be “advanced” but claim that there “isn’t enough material out there.”  I made those very complaints myself in my early twenties, figuring that since I’d read most of the popularly available books with the words “Wicca” or “Pagan” in the title that there must not be enough advanced material.  And now I could practically weep, somewhere between elation and despair, with the knowledge that in fact there’s so much more to study than I could possibly ever begin to comprehend.

What have you found yourself surprised to be exploring along your path?

6 thoughts on “Adventures in Hermeticism and the Advancing Pagan

  1. Gah, people keep pointing out how long ago things were and I feel ancient.

    The Qabalah is interesting. I’ve been working with it for years while working with the LBRP. It is always interesting to see all the overlap in other areas.

    I don’t know if I’m ever really surprised by what I am exploring, because I have a very eclectic personality. Its normal for me to suddenly find something new and dig into it. I think I am more surprised when I cycle back around to something and have that moment of “Oh.. this again. Perhaps there is something I am missing that I need to find within it”

  2. I used to be like that when I was a younger pagan, and I always would pick up the Wiccan books and get angry about how “it was all the same”. Little did I know the vast expanse of esoteric knowledge out there.

  3. AllaIsa

    Being a book lover you are and interested in a research, I wonder if you got across a book by Jason Lotterhand Thursday Night Tarot. This book, which you can read on any page, or start at any chapter speaks very informally and amazingly well about relationship between Tarot and Qabalah. It’s been republished recently under a different name, but you can search Arissa Victor (author) and find both.
    Hope you are well,
    Many warm wishes and orange healing thoughts to you.

      1. AllaIsa

        I recently inherited a second copy of it and now have two. I would be ha apply to share if you would accept it.
        When I read the book several years ago I found it deeply profound and was astonished to find out that the group met in San Francisco where I live! I looked it up and found a contact person, emailed her and became a part of the group, which still meets every Thursday.
        Warmest wishes.

  4. I have heard good things about the BOTA’s Tarot course – in fact, the first book I ever owned on Tarot (well, ‘permanently borrowed’ from my job at the library. But i paid them eventually!) was Amber Jayanti’s Living the Tarot, and its the one I still go to when I pick the cards back up.

    I felt very much the same way, until much later in my path, about things not being relevant to me; now however, I find I’m doing a TON of cross-path reading; I just tore through Modern Magick for a crash course in Ceremonial Magic, and have two Qabalah books in the wings (along with a smattering of hoodoo, other Ceremonial Type stuff, and a few other topics). I figure that a broad background and at least a topical knowledge of other systems is important; one, I never know what thing will ping another thing and help me further along my own path, and two, because it allows me to at least have a basic understanding of what other folks are doing who aren’t Heathens.

Say words at me.

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