Today on Grey Matters, we will answer an anonymous question submitted to the editor.
Is it possible to develop mystical / magical abilities if you do not have them from birth, how long it would take to develop them, and is it possible to do so as an adult?
This is a question that often draws different responses and frankly has varied a great deal between cultures and times. Spanish and Hispanic culture and folklore has historically drawn a distinction between witchcraft and sorcery. The former is an inherited talent and the latter is a learned skill (see Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande by E. E. Evans-Pritchard). The Italian traditions of Stregharia were historically limited to certain bloodlines, though today are more open and accomodating (see The Spirit of Italian Witchcraft by Mary Santangelo). European folk traditions, on the other hand, did not routinely draw such distinctions and viewed magick as a manifestation of certain actions or relations with supernatural forces more than a specific talent (see Witchcraft and Magic in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe by Geoffrey Scarre).
Today, it is less common and popular to assert that magick is entirely predicated on some inborn quality. The cynical side of me would like to point out that teachers, authors, and leaders have no real incentive to limit their potential audiences by excluding those without “the gift.” However, many well-regarded teachers like Jason Miller of “Strategic Sorcery” take the middle approach, comparing magick to other endeavors like music (see Strategic Sorcery by Jason Miller, Chapter 1). Some people may have natural talent, but someone with little to no talent who works hard and over time can easily eclipse a talented but lazy person.
In short, yes; it is possible, in the opinion of the author and of many other teachers, to develop magickal skills later in life. The exact period of time will naturally vary from person to person based on many factors. However, it is probably a good rule of thumb that one can develop a basic level of competence within many systems of magick with a year of solid, devoted practice and study. A year of training will not make you a master, but it should be enough to make you competent in basic skills and knowledge. It is, of course, very possible to do as an adult. The only challenge will be the amount of effort, time, and dedication that a person can give their learning.
Unless otherwise stated, this answer reflects the opinion of the Editor-in-Chief of Grey Matters. It does not represent the position of the Grey School of Wizardry, its faculty, or its administration.
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