A Note on Discernment
Empty barrels make the most noise.
Occult subcultures, despite being founded on radical notions like "knowledge is found within," are not immune to the hylic mentality of "prove it to me with logic and rationalism."
Occultists often exhibit the same external grasping, analysis paralysis, royal consumption, and superficiality we observe among those guided by their head more than the wisdom of their heart.
What I mean by this is, even among magicians who've thrown off the mantle of political or religious conformity, there's still a lot of:
flexing one's occult knowledge (which more often than not, is just a performance of how much one has read and memorized of other people's Gnosis, failing entirely to acquire their own Gnosis)
demanding credentials for spiritual claims made by others, as if Knowledge itself belongs exclusively to people with certain degrees, lineages or initiations
referencing occult 'authorities' like Aleister Crowley, channeled entities, scriptures, etc.... in an attempt to legitimize one's opinions via an external source (which absolves one of responsibility for their internal process of discovery)
automatically repeating claims made by others about the nature of the universe (such as "We live in Kali Yuga") without pausing to ask "How can I be sure this source knows what they're talking about? How can I find out for myself?"
judging people by external indicators of spirituality (such as whether someone eats a certain way, chants mantras everyday, wears certain clothes, and other empty behaviors that are easy for anyone to fake), instead of assessing the aura & character arc of the person... or humbling oneself enough to accept everyone as a potential teacher — even "non-spiritual" people.
Those preoccupied with reputation may become far too comfortable absorbing and replicating ideas professed by others, at the expense of sharpening their discernment. And to that, I ask:
So what if someone has read all of Blavatsky's work?
So what if they have the Qliphoth memorized?
What does all their head-knowledge count for, if they've never, say, healed themselves of a serious disease?
or found boundless joy in the midst of suffering?
or lightened up a dark room simply by walking into it?
How does their sleight-of-mind matter, if their energy isn't observably emanating out of them like a laser show?
What good does it do you, to get some fleeting ego-fluff from associating with people who talk the talk...
...when you could instead be deeply and permanently transfigured by those who walk the walk?