I just finished replying to a thread on Studio Arcanis, on the current state of both students and teachers of the spiritual and magical. It was sparked by people’s experiences with Jason Miller’s 700$ course on Hekate.
I’m a bit low on time right now, just coming out of my overseas move, but I really want to spread the word on that issue.
So this time I’m just going to quote my post verbatim on here.
[…] I do think that there is a manifestation of the satan/savior complex when it comes to magical teachers (and other subjects, but that’s beside the point here). Their students tend to either idolize them, putting them on cloud-high pedestals, or to curse them (after becoming ex-students).
Moreover, a large percentage of spiritual teachers themselves tend to fall in two categories, according to my observations. On one hand you have genuine teachers who often have a lot to give, but take too little in return (monetary and otherwise), on the other hand you have charlatans who teach fake knowledge just to make big bucks.
IMHO we as humans need to overcome this and find a balance, a “new normal”. Magical teaching is a sacred art and practice, and both students and teachers need to start honoring this more.
The Satan/Savior complex is also, in the context of women, called Madonna/Whore complex. It’s a bigger pattern in the current human collective consciousness.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, then I’d love to have a discussion. Just leave a comment or send me a message.
And of course I’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage you to take a look at my own Magical Apprenticeship program (link in the top navigation), in which I guide all my students to build their very own foothold in the spiritual realm.
5 thoughts on “The Satan/Savior complex in magical teaching”
I think part of the problem is tied up in, to me, outdated conceptions of “spiritual teachers”… The guru/chela way isn’t a good fit for modern students. I think one fix is if teachers operate more as coaches than masters. But that also means the teacher has to actually be able to do what they claim.
In recent years I can’t count how many folks have been new to magic and the occult, and two years later are selling their book.
The occult-o-sphere is rank with larpers and frauds like no other pursuit. If you go to take guitar lessons, you rightfully expect the teacher to be able to demonstrate some proficiency in the art. If you go to martial arts class, the sensei should be able to toss you on your butt.
With magic coaches? I’m not sure, other than are their lives successful. For example, if they’re talking about wealth Magick, do they have any wealth? And did they get it by their workings or did they get it by selling dreams to the gullible?
Wise words, as I would expect from you.
The image of a teacher or guru has a lot of cruft attached to it nowadays. A huge amount of people, when they hear the word “guru”, think of someone to give you something that you cannot have otherwise (mostly a lineage blessing or somesuch). And since most beginning students are rooted in ego, they activate the ego in such a teacher as well, which brings with it massive problems on both sides (the student doesn’t see the right side of the guru, and the guru is prone to stroking their ego).
I concur that the image of a “coach” is a better fit for modern times. The student needs to be the center of attention, not the teacher or coach. And if the student doesn’t learn much, either the teacher is at fault or the whole relationship is just not a good match.
Talking proficiency, I think what matters most is that a prospective student resonates with a coach/teacher. For example, I think Warnock is a very knowledgeable astrologer and magician. But his style of reading is radically different from mine, for example. I would judge both of us as competent in what we do, but his style might appeal to some people while mine would be excellent for others.
Musing further, then it’s only natural that many students seeking a “celebrity” teacher will get exactly that — a celebrity, and a lottery package in all other areas of their teaching.
It seems to be a thorny issue. But I think it’s great to get a discussion started around it. Many heads, many ideas.
So the middle ground is halfway between free and Jason Millers exorbitant $100 for 7 months?
Hmm, I guess I didn’t do a very good job at getting my point across, haha.
I think it doesn’t really matter if a magical coach, teacher or author (or anyone in any profession, really) is charging little or a lot.
What I’m trying to say is that the mindset around the whole thing needs to change. Many spiritual “service providers” (gurus, teachers, authors, coaches, readers, etc.) fall into extremes (e.g. rich charlatan vs genuine teacher in rags because they don’t charge enough or nothing at all). And if not, often their disciples/followers make them that way.
My main point is that we have a need for more genuine and authentic spiritual leaders — not in the boss sense, more in the “here’s my path, I can lead you along it if you want” sense — that also make a decent living. And on the student side, we need a more critical and level-headed approach, instead of cheering on “spiritual celebrities”.
Does that make sense?
I know I’m an awful student, and I have certain expectations about the morality of people and money, so I just gave up on the idea of having an actual human teacher instruct me in esoteric sutff. It is fun to learn directly from the spirits, and Belial has really impressed me. I feel bad for those people who aren’t there yet and just hoping for some spirit communication, but all I can really do is try to meet them where they are at and give them pointers in the right direction.
I agree that the idea of a coach is a much better fit. Finding a good coach is well, hard though.