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Thoughts FromThe Four Gates

  • Writer's pictureKai

How to find a spiritual mentor

So, this has been a big topic over on my Twitch channel. I was lucky enough to stumble into a couple of mentors in my spiritual career, that ended up being great for my progress. Now, I do offer coaching and the like, but it's hardly the same thing. There's a LOT of room to be taken advantage of when looking for a mentor though. So what are the things to look for, and what are some red flags in a mentor? Mentorship is a very personal connection between people, and many times, when someone believes they're looking for a mentor, they're more likely looking for a teacher. I think there's a place in your spiritual journey for both kinds of relationships, and you need both for different reasons. Mentorship in the way that I think of it is almost wasted without the grounding of the kind of book knowledge that you get from a teacher. Really, mentorship is less about teaching you skills, although that does happen, and more about teaching you ways to think about things that allow you to maximise your magical knowledge to best effect. It's the quiet, practical stuff that a mentor is great at. You can and should have many techers in your path, but only really one mentor, at least one at a time. The hard part about that is selecting someone who will help you fit all the knowledge from all these different areas into one cohesive whole. Honestly, the biggest things are mostly common sense, but it's good to go over them anyway. First things first, you really have to get along with your mentor. If the 2 of you don't have a good rapport, you'll find that you don't get as much out of the relationship as you should. The best learning opportunities come from times you're just hanging out than the more structured teachings. Magic is a way of life that really has to be lived to understand. With a teacher, you have something more structured, but with mentorship, often this is the kind of thing where you learn by example, and as a part of life. If you want more structured lessons, that's fine, but that's not exactly the same thing. Second, because you're dealing with spiritual matters, it's important that your spiritual and metaphysical views are compatible. Not the same mind you, but compatible. That means you'll need to have an idea what you believe. Going through some of the teachings and kind of feeling out things on your own is important to do BEFORE you try to select somehting like a mentor.

If a mentor relationship isn't for everyone, but for people a bit farther down the path, there are some things you might do to get ready for that. So, I would suggest first that you should leverage available resources to learn, before looking for something like a mentor. Sure, videos and things are great, as are written resources, books and the like. I honestly think the best thing for preparing for mentorship is also the way you would find that mentor when you are ready. Things with a more interactive deal, such as one on one instruction (like I offer) or online communities like r/witchcraft on reddit, or things like our Discord , are good ways to start. Be choosy with your online communities, as there's a lot of wish fufullment and ego in many of the online spaces, and they can sometimes be rather toxic environments if you get the wrong ones. Don't be afraid to keep looking. You should probabluy be a part of several communities, rather than just one. The more active you are in things like this, the more you can learn. I think it's OK at this level to pay for one on one coaching, obviously, but it's important to manage expectations if you do. Certainly there's value in that kind of thing, and you can expect to pay for it. It also then leads into wider things you might watch for in paid spiritual professionals. The thought that's probably most important here is the idea that none of these communities should cut you off from other sources of information or learning. Isolation is how people in spiritual spaces take advantage of people.

How do you know when you're ready for this kind of mentor relationship then? I think it comes down to when you start to have issues sorting how the individual pieces of magical knowledge fit together for you. When you have a solid idea of what you believe, and a core understanding of the basics of how your practice should fit together, but you just can't get it to click. If you can tell someone what you believe, how you'd structure a basic ritual for you, and you've already developed a good working relationship with a spirit or 2, then it might be time to look at a deeper relationship with someone. When the weird practical stuff hangs you up, and you're looking for how to really live your magic, the best thing to do is to find someone from whom you can learn by example.

With all that said, how do you go about looking for a mentor when you feel you are ready? It's a tough question, because it's such a deeply personal relationship that it develops out of many different existing relationship types. There's some truth to the saying "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear", but really, I think that has a lot to do with the idea that these things grow out of existing relationships. In all honesty, the idea of a really formal mentorship probably mostly belongs inside a more fomal group structure. In reality, a mentorship is somehting that I don't think you always realize you're going into, but more realize that you've been in for a while after you've done it. I think it's OK to look for someone, but it should grow out of existing relationships. Make connections, learn, and build or find community, and the right person will usually emerge from that.

What makes a good mentor then? Obviously, they should know what they're talking about, and have a way of communicating it to you that you don't hate. Because it's not about structured lessons, but more about a way of life, it should be someone that you get along with fairly well. You're going to be spending a lot of time with this person, in person or virutally, so it needs to be someone you can consider a friend. You 2 should be compatable in viewpoint and spiritual beliefs. You don't have to be the same, and there's room for some disagreement, in fact, you can both learn a lot from a good disagreement, but you should be by and large compatable. A mentor should be fairly successful in life. Not that they need to be ahead or on top of everything all the time, but someone in crisis mode on a regular basis certainly doesn't have their crap together enough to be teaching that kind of magical life skills. They probably don't really have the kindd of time needed to be a proper mentor either. This should be someone well respected in their magical community, and someone who hopefully does hold a position of leadership. A mentor shouldn't need much of anything out of the ordinary from you. Now, people with the kind of knowledge we're talking about can have a tendancy to be a bit on the older side, so of course, I'm not talking about general help lifting/ carrying and the like, ya know, things that are kind of normal as folks get older. I'm also not talking about if you have some sort of specialized skill. Honestly, if you're a mechanic, it's not unusual for a friend to ask for your help with a car repair, so why would this be any different. You should be willing to do for your mentor anything you'd be willing to do for a close friend, but certainly they shouldn't be asking for more.

Hopefully, this gives you a general guideline for what you should be looking for, what to watch out for, and when you're ready. Certainly it deserves consideration and thought, and isn't a decision to make lightly.

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