Monday, November 22, 2010

On the ADF and the Armchair.

Well, it's official. I am now a member of ADF. I figured that since I signed my Honored Dead into the Grove's Book of the Dead that I am now in it to win it, and should probably give the organization some money instead of just taking all their good shit and going home. I was, however, pleased to note that upon joining I promptly got a lot of welcome-y stuff including an email from the regional druid, and of course a book! Since then I've been reading through my nifty Dedicants Handbook, and really really digging it.

From hanging with the folks at GoG for a few years now, I know when they rock out magically, they rock out HARD. Even in something as "simple" as honoring the Gods. What I did not know was the intense focus on real scholarship in the ADF. All this scholarship going on! Right under my nose! Just from the things in the Dedicants manual I am confident that it is not exaggeration that the ADF has one of the most intensive Pagan Clergy training programs.

And the weird thing is.. no one is making a huge deal about how much they know. I am frankly unused to this. Coming from a ceremonial background intellectual hubris is kind of a given. Who has read what, and who has access to what secret documents, etc. A lot of secret squirrel shennanigans going on. "Oh my have you DONE the Abramelin Working? Oh I've done it YEARS ago. The Dehn translation, dear, not the Mathers. I am surprised the Mathers got any results at all."

I think it comes from a culture where there aspiring Practitioner starts off as a baby Magician who engages in scholastic study, then becomes a Scholar who does Magic, then a full fledged Magician. Many get stuck at step two.

Scholars who are Magicians, as opposed to Magicians who are Scholars. In the ADF it is Pagans who are Scholars generally.

It's about where you put your focus. I am sure that a person can do both, equally. I have never met a single person who does so. I didn't realize till relatively recently how much I had fallen into a Scholar (know-it-all, bookworm) who does Magic. And honestly I don't like that. I am good at research, and I have a natural inclination towards it. However, it does not actually get me as much as doing the work. That, honestly, is my bottom line. The benefit of interesting pondering and conversation are far outweighed by potential cash and prizes.


Rufus Opus said...

I think you've met several people who are both scholars and magicians. Jason, Joe, Moi, Scribbler, Susanne Illes, Jake Stratton-Kent, Chris Warnock, Gordon, Kathy, Lavanah and even Robert are all people who use their scholarship to improve their magic, and their magic to improve their scholarship. It's probably a sine wave between scholarship and doing magic for all of us, but I think that's how it's supposed to be.

Jow said...

I totally agree! Sine wave is a good way to put it, thankyou RO! It was the intellectual elitism to which I objected. I totally recognize that there are amazing occult scholars out there who actually practice what they study. The above named are a few that I have read, enjoyed, and from which smelled not a whiff of elitism. At most an excitement to share what they have learned.

I tend to get a bug up my ass about elitists, and though I have encountered folk who are very "witchier than thou", or "So much more powerful and mighty a wizard than thou", it is the "More educated and thus smarter than thou" that always annoy me most. It's a pet peeve. I am sure it exists in the Pagan community, but to my experience I have encountered it much more in the Cerimonial community.

Rufus Opus said...

Heh, yeah. How does a ceremonialist change a light bulb? By holding up the bulb while the universe revolves around him.

But I've found that as I went deeper into the stuff, the people who can hold decent conversations about the subjects from experience are generally less and less like that.

It's like going to the pool. The shallow end is full of immature kids playing immature games. Off in the deep end, you've got people working on their form, practicing techniques, or using their skills to exercise and enjoy themselves. People trying to do some serious swimming are annoyed in the shallow end and end up moving deeper.

Just an observation, take it for what it's worth, but I've noticed you're shedding some major cocoonage. Lovin' it.

Jow said...

Oooh yeah. It's one of the reasons I cannot overstate how greatful I am for our corner of the blog-o-sphere. Especially with my Cerimonial work.

Astrophel said...

The pagan equivalent of "armchair magician" is "fluffy bunny". Be very, very happy if you've found a community that doesn't hand that accusation out like candy on Halloween. As someone who goes in both circles, the ceremonial community can be elitist and the pagan community has more jealousy and backbiting, but I'd agree with your assessment that the ceremonial community has more issues overall. I think if you're pagan, no matter how off-track you get, there's still have a higher authority to keep you in line. Not so much if you're a magician and don't worship anything.

Miss Sugar said...

I'm still pissed that I didn't get any fucking books. *grumble*

Oh yeah. I totes forgot to mention the in depth scholarly commitment I made to GoG/ADF before the dedicant's program HAD A BOOK THEY HANDED OUT WILLY NILLY and would go to class weekly for studying, lulz! Our grove influenced the book, all our turned up nose reviews of Glamoury got it kicked out of the system. I would get into weekly scholarly fist fights and write papers on the regular . . .and shag my classmates.

The usual collegiate occult studies experience.