I was hanging out with a very well-experienced friend a while back, and we were talking about how damn lazy those young’ns are out there, not willing to put in even five minutes a day into their Work yet expecting everything to happen like it does in the movies. After hearing similar talk from the Unlikely Mage (especially regarding GCBS mages, who only know how to ground, center, banish, and shield) and other folk, and from having my own brushes with them in my oh-so-limited past, I can totally agree. I mean, I’m not the most dedicated person ever (even though I try, at least half-assedly), but I spend at least an hour a day in prayer and meditation, and I think that that’s nowhere near enough for adequate progress without being used in conjunction with conjuration and the like.
However, she said something that gave me a shiver. She mentioned that, from what she knows of me and from a strong hunch she has (which I’m inclined to trust generally) I’m eventually going to have an apprentice or several of my own some day. Honestly, that freaks me out, y’all. It won’t be soon, but the fact that someone someday might want to directly learn from me instead of with me, the idea that I’ll eventually have enough experience and knowledge (no such thing) under my belt to impart it with some measure of authority to another, it’s almost like being faced with becoming a father. And, given my temperament towards children, that is among the worst possible things to happen to me.
Okay, not that bad.
But, like, if I were to take on an apprentice, what would I need to look out for? I’d want to do a divination reading on the person, of course, as well as consult with my HGA (with whom I’ll have contact by then). But an interview of some kind is also probably suggested, to figure out what they can do in terms of capability and capacity.
- What’s their daily schedule like? I’d want to see what they do in their day-to-day life and suggest times to practice, things to cut out or emphasize, or rearrangements to their schedule.
- What’s their religious and/or occult background? An understandably important question to get a feel for where they might be coming from, what strengths or biases they may already have, and what preconceptions might help or hinder the process of learning. This’d also include any supernatural/paranormal experiences they’ve had that they can recall.
- Although not a question per se, I’d want to see their living arrangements to get a gauge of what’s going on with the place spiritually, what space can be used for altars or storage or rituals, what interference from housemates or family might happen, etc.
- What artistic or creative abilities do they have? Magic and art have very close affinities with each other; half of this stuff is making it up as you go, and the other half is figuring out new combinations to put old data, techniques, and tools into. Whether it’s poetry, drawing, sculpture, welding, programming, or some other creative act, having some spark of creation is only a good thing. Having the experience in woodworking or metalworking is good, too, especially for tool creation.
- What educational background do they have? Magic, though like an art, has a lot of learning to go with it. What someone studies in college usually points out how someone is likely to learn, whether through numbers or colors or sounds, and also helps provide a set of metaphors and symbols that can help them wrap their minds around complicated concepts. Plus, if they’ve got degrees in chemistry or something, that’s definitely a pointer for rootworking, spagyrics, or other forms of alchemy.
- What big issues are going on in their life? Drama, fights, inability to hold a job, deaths of loved ones, whatever gets them worked up or angry is important in their life. This would also include any past experiences with long-reaching repurcussions. Figuring out ways to fix those problems and move onto bigger ones is important, but they can’t be things that overwhelm the person so much that they can’t focus on magic.
- How much time would they be willing to dedicate to the Work each day? From what I’ve heard, this number will almost always be either 0 or thrice what it actually is.
- Any psychological conditions or issues? I’m not saying that all crazy people are right out (you have to be at least a little crazy to be into this stuff to begin with), but some people aren’t capable due to psychological issues to handle some of this stuff. Plus, for even the most stalwartly sane people, some areas of the occult make you crazy if you’re not already; how much easier it is for someone who has all the ammo but just needs the slightest of triggers!
- Any physical conditions or issues? This follows from the same vein as the previous question. Do I want to put people through extreme breathing exercises if they’ve got bad asthma half the time? Probably not. Based on this, I could suggest an extra physical regimen like jogging or yoga to help out with the mental and spiritual aspects of the Work.
Are there any other queries, questions, or comments you might pose to a would-be apprentice? Anything you’d be especially keen on knowing about before taking them under your wing?