One of the things that I find to be extremely valuable in my practice is the study of books. Not just reading them, but contemplating them, doing the exercises, and trying to understand them and the viewpoints being offered.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to make the time to do the exercises when working on your own, and others can be provide valuable insight into what you are struggling with. Initiatory organizations handle this by having everyone read a common core of books and have a common core of exercises, thus helping everyone achieve a common symbol library and grow a body of knowledge around that particular path.
For those of us who aren’t part of an initiatory group, we tend to piece together what we can in the absence of a dedicated curriculum. This has the advantage of that we can learn a lot of very interesting
off the path things that may (and often are) be useful later, but it also can make it difficult to progress or–just as often–to know whether we are progressing.
After a conversation at an open Samhain last year, I got together with Wolvie and a few other friends of mine and we started talking about having an open occult book study group. Basically have a series of books that we work through, do the exercises where applicable, and discuss them on a regular basis with others who are interested.
The idea was to let us split the difference: have some of the advantages of an initiatory group, but bringing in more diverse viewpoints and being able to open it up to anyone who wanted to join in.
The result of the discussion settled on these two books:
- Israel Regardie’s The One Year Manual: Twelve Steps to Spiritual Enlightenment
- Dion Fortune’s What is Occultism?
The idea is that we have a group that meets a couple of times a month and keeps up actively with the books, using the exercises out of Twelve Steps (which is nothing but exercises) with the more theoretical What is Occultism?
If anyone is interested in participating locally, we will be meeting twice a month in the central Denver area. I also welcome anyone who wants to follow along wherever they are and share their insights through our online discussion group. Just Contact Us for more information or check out our services page for periodic updates.