Don’t worry, being a mage isn’t a competition…except maybe with yourself.
This is going to be one of my first reflections about the Picatrix. I’ve been on a bit of a magickal burn as of late, and I have certain things in place to make me realize where I need to straighten up. Now that I’ve expanded my territory, so to speak, I am starting to realize just how massive the world really is. As of late, one of the things that has been on my mind was something written in the “Translator’s Introduction” section of the Picatrix, Liber Atratus Edition:
The author of the Picatrix conveniently lists the qualifications for a [sage] in Book IV, Chapter 5; they include a good working knowledge of the following topics: agriculture, seafaring, and politics, the military sciences, “the civilized arts by which people are helped,” including grammar, languages, law, rhetoric, writing, and economics; the four traditional branches of mathematics–arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music; logic, with the works of Aristotle specifically singled out for study; medicine; the natural sciences, and metaphysics, with Aristotle’s writings on these two subjects again specifically referenced.
Greer and Warnock continue to mention about how massive such a requirement is for becoming a mage. I agree.However, in reflecting upon myself and my other friends with magical tendencies, I do notice a trend.
I can confidently say that I am a Jack of all Trades, and a master of none. I used to be wonderful in math–algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus– before I focused my attention to language. I’ve steadily become interested in rhetoric and communication, and a friend of mine–unbeknownst to him– taught me a little bit about law. I took astronomy in college and played guitar with one of my other best friends, but I’m QUITE weak in actually writing or reading musical notes. Also, my father taught me how to garden, and through that interest, I explored herbs and their uses. Finally, of course, I am, and will always be, an artist: I paint, draw, and design regularly. I’m quite Mercurial in this sense.
Maybe I do have what it takes to become the mage mentioned in the Picatrix
minus the fact that I am both black and female. Of course, I have a lot of brushing up to do, but I will attest that it does help to know what resources you have through your own skills when you want to do some impromptu magick.
My other magickally oriented friends seem to be heavily involved in mathematics, technology, and writing. They are all imaginative and with a sharp wit. Most are rather intelligent and rational.
I think that if the magickal life is for you, you will probably have found yourself equipped with many, but not all, of the skills and knowledge expressed in the Picatrix. Even if you don’t feel like you have what it takes but you’re drawn to the magickal path, still pursue it. Your pursuit of magickal knowledge will help to give you the necessary tools and materials from which to build.