Rigid magicians are limited magicians. Now this is just my personal opinion, but let me share with you why I think this.
First let me define what I mean by “rigid” magician. The rigid magician is one who follows magick by-the-book, follows rigid definitions, or has an impersonal magickal path that he follows to the letter.
First, when you follow something rigidly you are not thinking for yourself. You are allowing others to define your reality for you. Since I believe the successful magician creates his own reality, allowing others to define your world is kind of a huge no-no in my humble opinion. We should each define our own reality based on our own experiences and beliefs after we’ve analyzed those experiences and beliefs. Otherwise we’re just taking on someone else’s beliefs. And by defining your own reality I don’t mean that some people call a car a car, but the guy over there calls it a WompaWonga. No – by defining your own reality I mean YOU deciding what it is YOU want in your life, what you NEED spiritually, and what your personal goals are. Not what someone else thinks you want or need. Vague magick (which is what is often contained in books) gives vague results until your intent and understanding of the magick fine tunes it.
I’m not saying by-the-book magick doesn’t work. With the proper consideration, internalization and intention all of it works.
Second, the rigid magician may do things by the book. Again, when you do things by the book you are allowing someone else to define what you can and can’t accomplish with the magick based on their perception of things (which was shaped by their personal experience). Not to mention the knowledge of any one person is not contained in any single book. So to assume the book is either a collection of all an author’s knowledge or ritual work (or that the author of the work followed the rituals to the letter themselves) is folly on the part of the reader (i.e. presumably magician). Books are collections of ideas for us to draw on. Not only that – but I find by-the-book magick often gives the armchair theorist an excuse as to why he can’t actually perform the magick or provides him with a scapegoat (other than himself) when the magick doesn’t work. “Well geez, I can’t find goat eyeballs and newt entrails so… I guess I can’t do the work.” or “Oh, I forgot the lambs blood! No wonder I didn’t win the lottery last night!” I know a lot of successful magicians who substitute. Never underestimate the powers of intent and want. If it didn’t work you were either unrealistic or you didn’t really want it to begin with.
I think all magicians start by-the-book until they gain some confidence. Then if they’re real magicians they’ll start deviating. It may be a substitution here or there. Finally, they move on to using books for ideas, but they write and work their own rituals.
You’re the magician – the one who creates the reality in accordance to his will – so CREATE.
Third when a person follows a specific magickal tradition to the letter I sometimes wonder how much they’ve really considered what they believe or what they’re actually doing (and why). Do they believe and practice what they believe because that’s what everyone in their order believes – or do they actually believe it? Have they really thought about it and analyzed it and questioned it? I question my beliefs and practices on a regular basis. I don’t know about any of you but I am not a stagnant, non-growing individual. My spiritual beliefs (which is my magickal identity) are ALWAYS in a state of flux. They’re ever changing based on new information and experiences. My spiritual path label defines my beliefs in a very broad sense, and I may adhere to certain practices (because they work for me and I find personal power and comfort in them – I don’t just practice them because it’s expected of me) certainly, but my specific beliefs are never stagnant. My definitions of those things that are subjective to individual experience and perception are forever changing. As a result I’ve discovered my terminology is hard for some to follow because how I define things and how others define things don’t always mesh. ::shrug:: Tomato/Tomato, right? 🙂
Basically I am of the belief that a good magician creates his own reality. He doesn’t wait for a book, or a ritual, or the group to which he belongs to, or any specific magickal or spiritual dogma, or his deities to create it for him. But this is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. 🙂