Well, if that doesn't get your attention, what will?
First the euphoria, well, I'm feeling it. It is so cool being so quiet inside, which makes me wonder...why the hell am I shouting about being quiet? The oxymoron police are about to get me. Moving right along...
WitchDoctorJoe has a new witchvox article up here. I suggest you read it before I spoil the surprise.
WitchDoctorJoe claims any system is, essentially, full of lies. You can make up any old thing and it will work. Well, he's right and I completely agree. Though, I disagree just as strenuously.
Telling someone or implying as Joe did that a system is a lie is simply not the truth. The person that taught me wasn't pulling a fast one. There was no deception. He simply taught what he knew. He was taught by an honest man as well. In my tradition, certain things mean certain things. With those meanings, we can do magick of many varieties. This is not a lie. Magick has rules.
I needed those rules and frankly, in some situations, like say an initiatory hall, I'd still abide by them 100%. I can only guess but I must assume that if Joe initiates someone into his tradition, he uses his tried and true methods. Is this wrong for his initiate? I think not. The initiate has no idea what s/he will see and Joe certainly isn't using their correspondences.
Very recently, I discovered I don't need all those rules anymore. That does not mean someone else doesn't and it doesn't mean I won't again.
Magick has rules. The tricky part is that some of them, maybe even most of them, are so individualized, that trying to tell someone they 'must' use this or that set, is a lie. However, to say they must use a certain set within a given tradition is valid. The Golden Dawn system is designed to get you someplace specific. Alexandrian, Gardnerian Wicca and other religions are designed to get you someplace specific too. Veritas Wicca, I assume, is designed to take you to a specific place as well. Do you want to get where Alexandrians do? Play by their rules. Do you want to get where Joe can take you? Play by his.
Saying that direction given by traditions is false is like saying you can't get from Fresno to San Francisco by using Hwy 99, turning on 152, again on the 5 and so on like so many others have. It would be just as false to say that is the ONLY way to get to San Francisco. I will venture that having a map and some idea of where you want to go is better than closing your eyes, spinnning in a circle and starting to walk in whatever direction you happen to end up facing. You still may get to SF but you may have a very long walk!
There is an old saying that I've stolen from someone: The truth to a man not ready to hear it is a lie. If someone told me in the beginning that there are no rules to magick, that I can do anything I want and obtain an effect, I would not have believed them and likley viewed magick as bunk. I was not ready to hear such a thing. The truth is Joe is a very effective witch and he ought to know better than to make any claim about anyone else's magick or what they need to accomplish it.
Joe knows how to work but many people that haven't the slightest clue will read his words and commit all sorts of foolishness thinking they are doing magick. For them, Joe's truth, which is a truth, will become a lie.
Joe is correct that an item you skry has more meaning to you than something you gained from 777 or some other book of correspondances. However, he is missing the fact that a well traveled path is easier to walk for the newby (and even oldby). If ten thousand magicians use herb X to get to place Y, it is likely the herb X can smooth the path to Y even if it started out as a lie 1,000 years ago.
This stuff is much more subtle than black and white statements about what works and what doesn't work. Leave such blindness to kangaroo magicians and do what works for you. If that means a tradition, great. If that means finding your own way, great. But telling others that things from the past are lie is too simplistic for the modern mind.