Well, when I wrote the Looking Forward... and Preparing for Death posts a couple weeks ago, I thought they kind of sucked. When I reread them, I thought it was like reading squashed roaches. Piles of words smeared across the point that barely communicated much of anything.
But they've generated a lot of email for me. Quite a few people have been asking about how to get started in this path. Sometimes I forget that I keep getting new readers, and that not everyone's read every post I've ever written. So it's time to point out a few key resources for this stuff I do.
For starters, read the Neo-Platonic Basics. It's available for free on my main site. It's also available for a nominal fee in a complete PDF file if you want to see it as an eBook through my eBooks page. This was a series of posts documenting my early experiences and understandings of the traditional Hermetic Path, and I recently re-read it. I thought I'd have to go through and update everything because I've grown as a magician, but it didn't need a lot of changes. I found myself saying oh, yeah, that's why this stuff happens. I wondered where I got that from.* This booklet/series of posts provides you with the basic map of the Hermetic Territories.
From there, I'd get the Modern Angelic Grimoire. It's basically a rewrite of the Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals, attributed to Trithemius, and it's the best method of conjuring spirits quickly and efficiently I've found. It's completely harmonious with the core Hermetic Texts. You can start conjuring the spirits in one evening, and it whets your appetite, makes you hungry for more.
From there you can simply go exploring through the heavens and the grimoires. I think the best thing you can do, honestly, is to go out and adventure through the spirit realms. Once you have a basic map, and a basic understanding of the methodology, there's nothing you can't learn. Conjure the spirits, and they'll guide your steps. They initiate, they teach, they guide. They're much better at it than any human I've met. As you go along, you'll find yourself learning all the correspondences of the planets, methods of attaining a Supernatural Assistant, sub-lunar spirit conjuration, followed up closely with lessons on fixing magic gone awry.
It won't kill you, probably, and it's not very likely to make you any more insane than you already are. Usually. What it does result in is getting initiated and empowered and discovering that while you may not be able to control every aspect of your life, there is no thing of the Firmament or of the Ether, upon the Earth or under the Earth, on dry land or in the water, of Whirling Air, or of rushing Fire, or any Spell or Scourge of God that cannot be influenced through your magic.
It's pretty potent stuff. Good times, my friends, gooooood times.
Now, some people have an adventurous spirit, but they want more detailed, more structured and organized training. I offer that through the "Red Work Series of Courses." It's a detailed set of instructions for accomplishing the Hermetic Great Work as laid out in the Corpus Hermeticum, the Emerald Tablet, and woven all through the Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa. Some people have told me the courses have turned out to be a practical magician's guide to the Three Books of Occult Philosophy. One of these days, I might even publish something like that in condensed form. The courses, however, go into a great deal of detail, and would be as long as the Three Books. It's probably never going to be published in entirety, there's just too much.
So that's about it. The best thing you can do is get a basic understanding, and then start filling in the blanks through experimentation, study, and guidance from the spirits. The second best thing is to go through my courses, if you really feel called to doing things the way I've been called to it.
The worst thing you can do is nothing at all, though. Time is just ticking the fuck away. Get busy, do something.
* I have the shittiest memory on the planet for details. I remember things, I know them, but I forget why they're true, or where I learned them. I'm trying to get through the Art of Memory, but I've been distracted.