I’ve only worked with a couple of people as teachers during my magical practice. None of the experiences were positive enough for me to keep looking and I came to the conclusion that I was better suited to teach myself and better suited to understand what I needed to learn. I still feel that way to this day.
My first teacher was a fellow student in my high school. He was learning Shamanism (whether self-taught or taught by someone else I can’t recall). He was half native American, but he didn’t seem to mind that I wanted to learn. I’d met him shortly after I started practicing. Our student-teacher relationship didn’t last long…perhaps a week or two. He recommended a few books and taught me a couple of exercises. I diligently reported back to him and then…
He called me up one day and told me he couldn’t teach me magic and I shouldn’t practice magic at all. When I asked why, he told me (drum rolls please): You have no soul! I’m not making this up and to this day it still amuses me because it was such a teenager thing to say. At the time, I was stunned, and hung up and momentarily thought about giving up the magic. Then I came to the conclusion that he feel threatened by me, and that inspired me. If he felt so threatened, I’d just have to show him there was good reason for it. Plus anytime someone has told me not to do something I want to do, it just makes me determined to prove the person wrong. This was no exception. I also figured I still had a soul.
I began reading even more books and doing the exercises in them and just practicing everyday, determined to prove to this person I could do magic better than he. It was admittedly a juvenile reason to practice magic, but I was a teenager and that’s what motivated me then. And before long I felt I had surpassed him. I was diligent in my studies and I did everything I could to apply magic to my life. He and I never talked about what he’d said, but I could tell he knew I was still practicing.
I learned a really important lesson from him. Don’t believe what anyone tells you about yourself or your fitness to do anything, until you’ve tested it yourself. To this day, its still a lesson I live by and one I try to pass on to my readers and the occasional person I take on as a student.