Having been at this game for several years now, it never ceases to amaze me when observing the patterns and cycles in my Work. Sometimes, the effect of magick on myself and in my life are only quite apparent in retrospect, when in practice, I wasn't always convinced of the efficacy of my practices, but I persisted on anyway in the belief that I would see results as I continued. And I have.
So many magick books tell you that you must believe with all your heart that your magick will work or else it won't. I took a different approach. I worked magick until I believed it would work. I worked magick when I didn't want to and I continued working it, even when it caused shit storms to well up in my sphere of sensation and in situations that arose in my life. I was fortunate enough to have someone to guide me through these experiences, as he had been through the whole game himself and though the circumstances would undoubtedly be different, he knew what to expect. My, have I changed.
What I have realized about the true path of magick is thus: If you are more than a simple "dabbler" in their experimental youth and actually have that insatiable calling for occultism, the moment that you set your foot upon the path with determination, you set something major in motion. You consign yourself to a life of heightened and quickened evolution.
As they say, "Change is inevitable, Growth is optional". How true this is, and it is true within the path of magick as well. I have the firm belief based on my experiences now that when you at once dedicate yourself in practice to the Great Work, something gets "turned on" in your Sphere. Either you rise up to meet the challenges you will undoubtedly face because of this, or you turn over and let it rip you to shreds and leave you in shambles. I've experienced a bit of both in my time.
When I was getting all these solar initiations in attempting to acquire my Supernatural Assistant, I was bombarded with all of my mental, emotional, and spiritual complexes. At times, I was in complete and absolute turmoil. I was put through tests in my life and I had to make many changes to meet new demands. I had to learn just what I could handle. Truth is, a lot of those situations, while very difficult at the time, are nothing compared to what some other fraters and sorores I know have dealt with on their Journey. And that's okay, I'm sure I'll catch up to them eventually.
I say this, because I believe that while I am in this incarnation, I will continue to go through this cyclic process of inner alchemical transformation. The texts of alchemy outside of their physical practice can sufficiently describe what will happen to a person's sphere who agrees to put themselves through the divine fire and be made pure. It FUCKING BURNS, got it? But it's worth it. You shall be sanctified and made more perfect and you will begin to reclaim who you are, the race to whom you rightly belong, and you will be on your way.
But it's not easy. Yes, we can make our lives a bit cushier along the way with the empowerment we receive, but to me, there is no such thing as stagnation in occultism. It is motion -- perpetual motion, and either you are progressing forward or falling backward, either you are riding this horse, or you are letting it trample you to pieces. I should know, I've experienced it both ways. They can both suck in their own ways, but one is obviously more preferable than the other.
The axiom "Solve et Coagula" is very important. When RO was first giving me instruction and I was experiencing my inevitable meltdown, that is the "Solve" (dissolve) aspect of the formula, he would stress more than ever that I must persist on in my Work despite how miserable I got at times. The reason was that the "Coagula" aspect was to follow my meltdown, and it was important that I coagulate back into something better, ya know? Change is inevitable, growth is optional. You're gonna get dissolved, but that doesn't mean you're going to get better. That's on you, buddy.
Once you set the Great Work in motion, you can either Work it, or it can Work you, but in my belief and experience, it will never stop. It will never leave you. Especially if you've dedicated yourself and let the Powers that be know that you mean business. You'll be expected to meet certain criteria and perform certain Work. Do it or not, but you're going to go through a cyclic birth, growth, death, rebirth process wherein you will put tried by the Fire.
Persist on. It is your calling.