Recently I have been pondering the type of students I enjoy working with the most, and how I decide who to teach and who not to teach. I finally decided on five “must have” qualities in those I take on as private students. Whether you are a magickal teacher yourself or looking to find one, here are my thoughts on what makes a good magickal student. Forgive me if I come across sounding like a “harsh taskmaster”, but these are things I feel strongly about. When it comes to magickal growth, either you are serious or you are not.
1. A good magickal student is SELF-MOTIVATED.
When assignments are completed (on time), and I see evidence that a student has truly learned them, I’d rather not hand-hold and tell them what to study next in the meantime. Take the initiative and continue your own magickal studies until we meet again. I know that some teachers are very restrictive and dictatorial with their students, they are not permitted to deviate from a specific lesson plan, but I am not so strict. I want to know that you are learning things on your own as well. Also, part of being self-motivated is understanding that some things cannot be taught (psychic and intuitive abilities, for example)-they must be experienced to be understood. If you are not willing to put in the time and effort to develop these skills, you will not get very far. If I have to continue pestering a student to read something, write something, learn something, DO something, then I have to assume this student does not take their training seriously. Your motivation for learning magickal things should not be because I’ve asked you to. You study magick because you can’t help it. It’s a part of who you are. You live and breathe it…which brings me to the next point.
2. A good magickal student LIVES AND BREATHES MAGICK.
There are people I will not teach, because I know they have not fully embraced the concept of what it means to be a Witch, and will not put into practice what I teach them. They are motivated by something other than magickal growth and inner development. Perhaps they are seeking power, a mate, or something else they feel magick can bring them. Certainly magick can do these things, but I will only train students who seek a deeper experience. They are not afraid of the word “Witch” and they use it proudly. Being a Witch is not a hobby or something one does for “fun”. It is a religion and a spiritual path, one that requires effort and dedication.
3. A good magickal student is MATURE.
That is, they take seriously what they are being taught. Students of occult learning must be willing to entertain certain magickal and metaphysical concepts as being real and possible, regarding them as mystical study rather than fantasy. If you do not believe in the existence of the Faerie Realm or the Celtic Otherworld, for example, it is unlikely that you will interact with them. Regarding magick and spells, while there is some element of science involved, belief and intention also play a large role. If you cast a spell and are certain that it won’t work, you have already short-circuited it. Maturity also involves recognizing diversity. There are many magical traditions, new ones are cropping up all the time. Not everyone does things the same way. I may not cast a circle the same way you do. I may not use the same words, or put elements in the same places. It doesn’t mean one of us is wrong and the other is right. It just means we do things differently.
4. A good magickal student is devoted to PERSONAL GROWTH.
The path of the Witch is one that requires introspection and inner growth. The longer you walk this path, the more you learn about yourself, and discover issues that may hinder your growth. As Witches, we should be constantly evolving, becoming something better and more enlightened than we were before. For the Witch, change is inevitable. As we grow and learn, we become more attuned to the Divine within. Another important factor to our growth is achieving balance. Balancing our Light/Dark natures is an on-going process. Instead of being content with how we are in the present, we seek to always become stronger and more whole in a spiritual sense.
5. A good magickal student is one who STUDIES.
As I mentioned above, Witches study magick because it’s in our blood. It isn’t a chore or something we do because we feel we “have to”. We want to learn as much as we can because we live and breathe it. I’ve had students in the past that needed much prompting and prodding to complete their magickal studies. Their heart did not seem to be in it and they lacked motivation. The older I get the less patience I have with this. I am very careful these days about who I take on as a student. I prefer to work with those who have already done a fair amount of study on their own.
Some of these qualities do overlap a little, but you can get an idea of what I look for personally in a student. There are many more qualities I could cover about what makes a good magickal student. However, these five are the most important for me.