Spring came pretty fast and almost unnoticed in the factory of Quareia. My original intention was to have the apprentice section writing finished by the spring equinox and I managed it with one day to spare (phew). And what a bumpy time March was! So much astrological power was flying around along with the solar eclipse and the equinox itself: the final ending of the apprentice section closed with a powerful full stop and a strong sense of magical completion.
The apprentice section itself was developed in a way that works the student in repetitive circular studies that revisit an important magical point at a different level at each visit. This way, the student is allowed space to fully understand the foundations of a magical act, while also having time to find some answers for themselves – ah ha moments. I have also woven into the course a lot of practice around the issue of learning how to teach oneself. Self-learning and research are skills that older people take for granted, but the younger generation are often not taught this skill in school and it leaves them floundering when they finally come across something that interests them. They become victims of click bait, sound bites and bullet points: one of the things I decided to do in the course is to slowly wean younger students off of that diet and introduce them to more useful ways of learning.
That also made me think about how I teach and what different teaching methods I use when writing the lessons. In some I decided to use very old fashioned methods that reach back to classical times simply because I know they work and they work well. Although teaching methods in general have gone through some massive developments in the last three decades, there are some that are precious and should not be dropped into the trash in the rush to modernize.
In a way, the apprentice section is the hardest of the three sections in that it is breaking fresh ground in the student, and it is about focus and discipline. The student learns many different foundational skills that can be applied not only to any magical practice, but many other practices too. There is also a lot of introducing of themes, concepts and patterns that all prepare the ground for the initiate section. The jump from the apprentice section to the initiate section is quite a strong leap in many ways, and the change in gear may catch a few students out. The apprentice section is akin to looking at an electrical wiring map for a house, the Initiate section is the actual laying down of the wiring and fitting the plug sockets in, and finally the adept section throws the master switch and the power flows through the household.
Planning and mapping the wiring is the key to a properly wired house that is safe, easy to use, accessible and innovative. For anyone who has ever built a house of their own, you will know how crucial such plans are as there is nothing worse than having a kitchen you cannot use because the plugs are all in the wrong place and are they for the wrong voltage. And that is the approach that I took while writing the apprentice section: first I mapped out where I wanted to get the student to once they have completed their training, and from there I then went back to the first step into magic, and looked closely at what first steps needed to be built in order for the power circuit to work properly. Then I looked at all the things that tend to go wrong with magical training: all the dangers, trip wires, and dead ends that could render the training useless. Taking into account all of the different cultural backgrounds of the people from around the world who would potentially connect with Quareia, I then started to map out ‘the rooms’, ‘where the sockets are needed’ and how many.
Then I had to sit back and think, will the fuse box work with that voltage of power? Are all the safety measures in place? Once all of those considerations had been looked at, then I could go ahead and begin writing the lessons.
Of course, as I progressed into the section, little tweaks came up here and there, and I was nudged to take some things out - I would get all enthusiastic about a subject, and step beyond the pattern for the apprentice and potentially introduce material that would destabilize the foundation. Then I also got nudges from the inner contacts reminding me that I had missed things, or had skipped over things that really needed attention.
It’s a bit like putting a jigsaw together: introducing a concept, and then slowly adding in the fragments to that concept as the lessons progress until the student finally gets all the pieces together in a way they can understand and draw knowledge from. Not only does that approach ensure that each fragment is fitted into place neatly, it also protects the work from casual browsers.
So now it is on to the Initiate section. I am working on the first module which is core skills again. This module looks again at core skills, but at a very different level, and prepares the student for the modules to come. The Initiate section is being approached in a different way to the apprentice section, which is how it should be. It will be denser, have a wider inner reach, and will not be quite as safe and simple as the first section. It is time for the elementary school kid to move on to high school where most of the growing up is done.
And the initiate section is very much a‘growing up’ section for magicians in that it is time to face various beings, powers, places and situations that will move the magician out of a comfort zone and into a moderately fast paced highway. And yet it is still not time for the magician to be plunged directly into full on power. Step by step…. Making sure the voltage is just right.
One joy is that because of the foundation work in the apprentice section, when I move on to harder tougher material, I will not have to keep explaining and reiterating things…. I can just point to a direction, tell the student what to do, and then it is up to them to have the experience and come back with a tale to tell. Some of the lessons towards the end of the apprentice section were just that, which saved me from a lot of typing. But then just when I thought it would get easier, along came longer, more complicated lessons that had to be written…. So my hands were still worn out.
I have gotten a lot out of writing the apprentice section besides developing arthritis in my hands. When you learn magic and ‘do’ magic you see it one way, but when you have to step back, take it all apart and then reconstruct it in little steps, you begin to see it in a whole new light. That has been a wonderful process for me and has taught me so many things. I hope the apprentice section teaches you many wonderful things too!