I’ve put together this little essay to dispel some ideas that people get when starting a magical career. This is all based on my experience, so take it as you will. I just feel that these things needed to be said.
The most important thing to know is that the path of magic is not a straight line. Rather, it is littered with failures, gaps, wrong turns, and getting your ass kicked for various reasons. Your first spells or rituals will probably fail, as will your second, and many more beyond that. Over time you will get better, and if you can get a 70% success rate from your workings, you are doing a hell of a lot better than most. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that you are not a god (not yet anyway), and there are most always forces of some sort acting against you. Sometimes those forces are within yourself - if you are acting against your own core nature or True Will, and sometimes those forces are external.
Sometimes you must change your goals entirely, or you must change yourself in such away that the goals become attainable. If your magic is not working, take the time to figure out why! Sometimes it’s as simple as banishing those forces that oppose you, but sometimes it requires deep introspection and meditation.
Magic is, first and foremost, about changing yourself and growing spiritually. Your power will never grow if you keep the same mentality forever; in fact, you MUST be willing to change if you want to ascend! That change can take place in many ways. Perhaps you perform a spell for financial gain, and a new career path that is very demanding of your time and energy is presented to you. Perhaps you search for love, and find that it is easily within your grasp if you change your social behavior. Perhaps you have everything you want materially, and realize that you must refocus all of your attention towards some spiritual end for a time, effectively abandoning the things you worked so hard for. Perhaps your continued growth requires abandoning a person or thing that you love. These things are very common examples of change, and you must be open to them.
Most importantly, persevere through all of the challenges that arise and you will be met with great success. Refuse to change yourself and you will either fail, or stagnate in your abilities.
Do not get caught up in dogma or esotericism. Everything that you need to grow as a magician is readily available, and the practices are not dependent on any specific tradition or dogmatic framework. However, this does not mean that tradition hopping is a good idea. Rather, look to the core of traditions to find common truths, and utilize those alone.
As an example, you do not need to join the Golden Dawn, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Dragon Rouge, or any other initiatoric order to achieve initiation. If you take the time to develop your skills, specifically soul travel/visionary travel and evocation, you will find that there are beings out there who are greater initiators than any human wearing a robe could ever be. That’s not to say these organizations cannot be helpful, but mastering the basics and then forming relationships with helpful entities will be far more productive.
All that being said, there are things that are hidden. They will be revealed to you in time through gnosis, or through the aid of spiritual mentors and entities. Don’t think you need to pay some subscription fee to an order to learn these things though, as an understanding of them will only be made available when you have progressed to an appropriate point. Again, master the basics of magic, as are taught well by EA and a handful of others, and the rest will begin to fall into place.
Life and magic are struggles, and the greatest tools are mental discipline and mindfulness. I’ve written a whole essay on this alone, but I believe it is a common occurrence for magicians, especially on the RHP, to focus so much on ascent that they begin to neglect their bodies and the world they live in. As a result, regardless of the great spiritual abilities they obtain, they find themselves at the end of their lives living with some easily preventable disease living in poverty. Do NOT succumb to this. As long as you are upon this earth, you are participating in the experiences it provides. Take advantage of those material experiences, as they are a part of reality just as any other plane of existence is. The best magicians strive to ascend not only as a spiritual being, but also as a human. Take care of your body, the environment you live in, your diet, and the entirety of your earthly wellbeing. If you do that, along with spiritual growth and focus, you will likely escape the cycle of rebirth and live on as something much greater than a human.