Now that I am half way through writing the course, I thought it would be interesting to take a minute to reflect on the process, and what a learning process it has been so far.I am using magical ‘contacted writing’ to write the course, an old method of writing while tuned into inner magical contacts, and while I have done that many times before as both a magician and a writer, doing such a long and involved course has brought up some interesting dynamics. (...)
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. (...)
(...) If you follow its path consider yourself in the business of turning yourself into a spiritual adult. Now, the paradox on this path is this: For many years you'll be the baby, the teenager and the adult all in one person. Life doesn't come with an instruction leaflet; all boundaries are temporary in nature. As part of your journey with the Quareia material nobody will disciplinise you, except for yourself. And nobody will praise you, except for yourself. Someone once said, 'Integrity is what you do when nobody is watching'. Without integrity you can still have a fulfilled live, believe me. You might even be able to become a magician in the traditional, sad sense. But you certainly won't get anywhere with Quareia.
With ten days left to go, we have managed to raise over the half the target amount. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, wonderful messages, and course feedback that Frater Acher and I have received. The magical community truly is a great family! Some people have asked why we need to fundraise, and that is a very valid question that I feel deserves a proper, open, and honest answer. Frater Acher put it very eloquently in a recent discussion Its like creating a public library – you need the funds to acquire space, books, shelves, etc… But once everything is set up ways can be found to maintain it without additional fees. (...)
I have had a few different emails asking very sensible questions about how best to approach the Quareia course, so I hope this post answers those questions and others. (...) I am applying the Vaganova method, a teaching method where the tiny building blocks for an action are put one on top of the other slowly and carefully, with lots of muscle building, and the deepest most obscure part of a ritual action is taught first through very simple actions. So anyone dipping into say the Hexagram ritual lesson or the Pentagram ritual lesson (the favourite of dippers and skimmers) will find themselves sat scratching their heads in confusion. It will make no sense, as those lessons teach, through simple action, the powers that work behind those rituals.
The Quareia second module is now ready and will be soon uploaded. This module is about foundation patterns in magic. All magic exteriorises in a patterned form, usually as ritual, sometimes as an utterance or a series of sigils, which externalises the power and energy that the magician has tapped into. That power and energy is usually accessed through inner work, which is to say that first the magician connects through visionary magic with an inner energy and a consciousness (a being, a deity and so forth), and then bridges that energy in collaboration with a being, and gives it a form by working in ritual or with lettering, sigils, utterance, etc. That exteriorises the magic in our world and sends it off to do its job.
It has been one week since Quareia launched and the response has been wonderful. People are downloading the first module and are working with the lessons, the second module is two thirds written, and the fund raising is creeping slowly and steadily towards it’s target.
This is all very heartening on so many levels. Such a project is long over due in magical circles and I guess I had to be booted kicking and screaming into action – I was hoping over the last six months that others would step into such an idea and all I would have to do is cheer them on. But it didn’t happen. So I was left holding the plates for washing up! But it is good – mapping out and starting to write this course has forced me on so many levels to look at the work in a new light, a new approach and without restriction.
Quareia - A new magical school for the 21st Century
A couple of months ago I put up a website called ‘Choosing a Magical Path’ with the intention to bring together various schools of magic to talk about their work, what sort of students they are looking for etc. After initial interest most occult schools turned out to be reluctant to talk openly about their purpose, their distinct approach to magic and what truly made them unique. There was a strange reluctance to speak about what actually defined them and set them apart.
I got into long detailed discussions with well known German adept Frater Acher about the state of magical teaching in the 21st century. One of our joint realisations was how scarce new impulses and genuinely fresh approaches to teaching magic had become. Most of todays Western orders, schools and training courses are firmly built on the heritage of our ancestors from the era of industrialisation, the late 19th and early 20th century. For all the great work that came through at that time, it was marked and biased by the mentality of the time: a highly structured and often rigid approach to teaching magic, mostly male-dominated and orientated much more towards style and outer form rather than underlying techniques.
After long conversations we came to the conclusion that what was truly needed today was a completely new approach to studying and learning magic. One that would break away from worn out paths, an approach that would not only stop filtering out people for the wrong criteria, but also move away from teaching man-made constructed ‘styles’: it is time to teach actual magical techniques in detail. Therefore the only positive way forward, if we really cared about the future of magic, was to design and write a full and detailed magical training course that would be free and accessible to everyone for online study. The way forward is an open magical school that would define a new way towards adepthood while also staying free from teachers, who like all humans, would try to be ‘right’, and who would likely develop egotistical issues while also trying to protect their position of power.
How does it work?
Once the structure of the course was mapped out, I aired the concept and structure to a group of adepts from around the world who had gathered in Britain for a meeting. We discussed various issues around the course, the content, subject matter, approaches, etc and from this ‘Quareia’ was born. The word means to ‘square or ‘dress’ a stone’.
Quarrying raw material like a gemstone or granite, and turning it into something powerful and beautiful, is a long drawn out and skilled process. And it perfectly reflects what we are doing with this course. The writing of the curriculum and the structure design for the modules has been a long drawn out process for a number of reasons. Firstly, I had to look at the methods of teaching magic and toss everything out of the window: I was thrown back on my Vaganova training in ballet. Strip everything right back to the bare bones, and then see what really needs to be put back in. And this teaching method puts things back using a method of careful, thoughtful analysis; this is how firm structures are built to last.
This forced me to start with an empty table and slowly put whatever is essential back on the table in a new way, in a new light. So the course trains the magician in the all of the underlying techniques, structures, details, skills, contacts and methods in slow defined steps without it being of any particular system, and trains them in absolute detail. So any adept trained through Quareia will be able to work with any magical system AND also know exactly how it works, why it works and how to evolve it.
The first hurdle that we hit was: if we want it up on the net for free and to be fully accessible, how do we make it safe and protect it from abuse? That was the difficult one. There is always the idiot who ‘knows better’ and reaches straight for the adept lessons. How do we stop these people blowing themselves up or twisting such work and becoming magically abusive on the back of such work? This hurdle took a lot of thinking, discussion and experimentation. But we hit on a solution.
Quareia works on a specific structure of three sections: Apprentice, Initiate and Adept. Each section has ten modules. Each module has eight lessons. And here is the key – the lessons are constructed and designed to dovetail into each other. The skills and keys needed to make a lesson work are in the previous lessons and are not overly apparent to the casual reader. In short, to make the magic in the lessons work, you have to have done all the previous lessons before it, and have done them in sequence. So anyone dipping into the Adept Section will gain some information, but when it comes to the actual magic, there will be references they will not understand (and will not be able to search), there will be parts of a ritual where some of the skill is learned in the apprentice section and some in the initiate section: if they have not done those lessons, they will not have parts of the ritual in order to make it work. This is just a small example of the extensive dovetailing that has been used in the construction of this course.
This means that all of the modules for all three sections can be safely online, for free download. It is up to the student to do the work. Anyone who is committed, focussed and hardworking will be able to do this course and finish it.
Why for free?
People say ‘folks should not get something for nothing’. And I partly agree with that. However, the greatest damage to magic has been done by commercialisation. Not only does it become ‘exclusive’ but when something precious is used to make a profit, it twists how that precious ‘something’ is presented, worked with and taught. It becomes a commodity, and commodities have to be made palatable for a mass market. I also feel that just because someone is poor does not mean they should not have a right to education, to study or to learn magic. And by working hard and studying in detail, the student gives back a great deal for the future of magic. It is that simple.
So how can it survive financially?
We had to think carefully and practically about this. Once it is fully completed, students of the Initiate and Adept section will have mentoring choices. We are still working out the details of that, and we have a small pool of adepts who will mentor alongside Frater Acher and myself. I am proposing that there are two levels of mentoring, one that is low impact, low cost and generally guides people along the path. The small fees from this will go to the ongoing support of Quareia. I will also be offering limited intensive mentoring through skype/meetings/emails etc that I will charge a fee for. It is an option for those who can afford it and it will help me in income terms.
There will also be a ‘subscribe only’ section with video and audio files of lectures/discussions relevant to the course material that will launch once the course is more or less written. The small subscription fee will also help to keep Quareia going.
So the course itself is free (and will stay permanently free), and if people want to pay for additional perks, the option is there.
The writing of the course itself is a mammoth undertaking. When I first mapped out the course I estimated that it would be about 750,000 words. Now that I have written the first module (42,000 words) and am currently working on the second, it is looking more like 1,300,000 words. Some lessons are two or three pages long, but some are far more detailed and are quite lengthy. I really know how to make work for myself! Although various adepts will be adding in contributions to the course as per their area of expertise, I am writing the bulk of it. I am aiming to finish the writing within 18 months to 2 years.
Frater Acher came up with the idea of crowd funding to cover some basic costs while I am writing full time. This was a great idea. This also ensures that the project is truly wanted and needed, and that we are not just deluding ourselves. If people really do want and need this... it will come together. If not, then it will not come together. It is that simple.
If you are interested in helping this project, and wish to support the writing of the course, please visit the Quareia fundraising page.
Have a look around this website, and look at the lessons of the first module that are published already. This is the core skills module for the first step of the training. You will see that it takes people through various necessary core skills, and that some lessons are short and easy, others are long and complicated. And you will begin to see/notice the dovetailing as you read through the later lessons in the module.
This is why I have been so quiet lately. I have spent the last three months working continuously to get this mapped, prepared and off the ground. And I am not the only one. There is a team of highly skilled adepts from various traditions around the world behind this school, working on all sorts of different levels, all giving their time freely to bring this to fruition and protect it in so many different ways.
And then we have the Quarry ‘workers’, which are Frater Acher, myself, Stuart Littlejohn, Toni Paris and Michael Sheppard – between us, the course is written, edited, formatted, designed, and the website is built, maintained (and has the beautiful graphics of Frater Acher) and updated.
This is truly an exciting time – the birth of a whole new way of training magicians, which I hope in turn will birth new generations of well trained and balanced magicians. These are difficult and turbulent oppressive times around the world, but at such times often new and wonderful things are born. I feel (and hope) that Quareia will change the face of magical training for the future.