© Lyrus, 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.
When I think of ceremonial magick I think, primarily, of three keywords: devotion, discipline, and responsibility. As I learn more and continue to grow in my own practice I develop a better understanding of how those three things apply to ceremonial magick.
While it may seem like discipline and devotion tie in closely with each other I believe they are separate enough to list individually. Devotion is defined not only as loyalty but also as love and enthusiasm. To be devoted to a practice is to have genuine affection, or passion, for that subject of study. While this can be a key fundamental for the beginning stages of any pursuit it is often not enough. Eventually, there will be hardships and moments in which our passion dissipates, leaving us to wonder if we are following the right path. There will be situations and temptations that will call question to our devotion. In these instances I believe discipline steps forth to play a greater role.
Discipline is the training of behavior through repetition, or to have the greater knowledge of something. By this definition we can see where the different areas of discipline, when not implemented wholly, can provide poor results. For example, one can be highly educated in a practice but lack the discipline to follow rules and instruction. It is entirely possible for one to have the education necessary to advance, while simultaneously lacking the self-control needed to fully understand the teachings of a subject.
I believe this is where the division between devotion and discipline happens. When devotion fails us, we must be disciplined enough to move forward. This requires practice and dedication in a world that already demands those things. Sometimes this will mean sacrificing things we enjoy in lieu of study or struggling to find a balance between academics and leisure. By developing healthy behaviors and maintaining high personal expectations through proper discipline we can see ourselves through moments of doubt and uncertainty.
Last, but not least, is responsibility. Despite not being fully immersed in ceremonial magick I have a profound respect for the magicians that I know who are. Each of them not only understands the importance of their practice but also understands the responsibility that it entails.
Having the ability to influence both internal and external forces is nothing to take lightly. There will always be moments decisions must be made that can either positively or negatively affect ourselves or those around us. Here it is the responsibility of the magician to make what they believe to be the correct choice. Furthermore, budding practitioners may also come to them for advice. This situation stems a different type of responsibility, as the information you pass onto another may be used in a way you personally deem improper.
I feel the depth of each of those listed ideals is stipulate on how committed one chooses to be. For example, if a practitioner wants to have a better understanding of what ceremonial magick is he or she may not need the same level of discipline a full-time magician will. Likewise, their levels of devotion may be different as well, in which one person may choose to not fully experience the changes this subject can manifest, but instead be loosely devoted for the sake of curiosity alone.