Monday, February 23, 2009

Getting Started

It's been a while since I talked about how to get started on the road to recovery from materialism, so an updated roadmap is probably in order. The first important thing is that you have to start where you are. That sounds trivial, but hear me out. There may be a lot of learning ahead on whatever path you choose, especially if it's one of the hermetic paths, but there is also a lot of unlearning that needs to be done.

So, let's say you come from a Roman Catholic background as I did. You could decide to immerse yourself in Zen Buddhism. It may work for you, and you could make progress, but your background doesn't go away. It's still there, and you'll have to come to terms with it, sooner or later. On the other hand, if you start with the Hermetic path, you'll be in somewhat familiar territory. You'll run across correspondences to things you already know. You'll hit the ground running, as it were.

That said, a good place to start is the "New Age"/metaphysical section of your local bookstore. Pick any book that looks interesting and start reading. If any veterans are reading this, don't worry. I haven't forgotten Sturgeon's Law; it's just that some things have to be learned through experience, and this is one of them. The type of person who believes everything they read will be led astray regardless.

Once you've looked through a few books, you should have an idea of what specifically interests you, and the general direction in which you want to proceed. If you want to study astrology, go for it. The same applies with Tarot and Wicca, though I draw the line at numerology (just kidding). Even the channeled books by Ramtha or Kryon (or the Urantia Book if you're desperate) will be helpful. The point I'm trying to make is that you're going to have to wade through a lot of muck to find the good stuff that's under it, so you may as well start now.

Now you're ready to choose one of the two paths. There's no wrong answer to this question. The relevant quote is: "In the end we all become mystics." The mystic path aims at experience of unity with God and the universe. The hermetic path has the same eventual aim, but uses symbolism to balance out the different components of the personality. If you like symbolism, ritual, nice pictures and the like, choose the hermetic path. Otherwise, the mystic.

Now for reading material. If you're on the mystic path, the choice is relatively simple: Path of Light: Stepping into Peace with "A Course in Miracles" or The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk About Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness or anything by Marianne Williamson, followed by A Course in Miracles.

If you're on the hermetic path, The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: Dilettante's Guide to What You Do and Do Not Need to Know to Become a Qabalist or Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spiritual Path would be a good start, or Kabbalah, Magic & the Great Work of Self Transformation: A Complete Course if you're especially adventurous.

That should be enough to get any of you newbies started. Later, I'll talk about the next step.

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