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Let us begin, in the traditional way and without delay, by making statements that will create misconceptions in the minds of distracted people.  Once the untrained intelligence has been sufficiently frayed by weariness of the world into a condition of credulity, it can seldom function as a tool of occult training for any purpose unique to its owner.  What do we mean when we refer to the occult?  Some think of various forms of alternative programming that may soothe the discomfort caused by our efforts to absorb something useful from the religious training we received as children.  An experienced occultist, though, understands that we more precisely mean one of a number of systems that offer him or her significant advantages toward the responsible handling of privileged information secured through supernatural means.  


Currents of stimulation abound that successfully redirect the generally unfocused attention of large numbers of people as they labor at their projects.  Furnished by often unboundedly profit-oriented interests, these magnetic streams of data tend to have at least an irritating impact on anyone with a capacity for originality.  Aside from those bound for bedlam, imaginative or keenly perceptive humans benefit from support in preserving their gifts from the static generated by normative, external, or quantitative strategies of resource management.  Thus, those who are able to carry new ideas from the world of dreams into the material realm so often slip away from the drove to a library or bookstore.  We catch them sometimes doing this even when there is no deadline for an assigned academic or vocational project looming like an ominous storm cloud over their peace of mind, or even their freedom to pursue the escapist pastimes of their more ordinary fellows.  In a child, this annoys any adult caregiver of mediocre or worse caliber, and the adventure of rebellion for the sake of ones own sanity begins. 


As if the tales of fairies and elves dropping their changeling offspring into the cribs of mortals were all quite true, it would seem that there is a breed of rather lunar powered individuals appearing in all blood lines and geographic environments.  When ordinary oases of salvation from stress like the cinema or tavern do not suffice in affording such folk a respite from the abundant sources of oppression, they seek the caverns of inner revelation:  the coven, the lodge, the mystery school, or similar accommodation.  The cerebrations of young people who share subtle patterns with Harry Potter need the tailored information and individual attention of an orally based means of cultivation.  This can optimize their efforts for a better realization of their own potential.  Styles differ:  some hurl themselves into a search for the more widely recommended alternatives, while others follow a quieter, more intuitive beacon that holds promise of a more unique path. 


Credible establishments of learning invariably lend special attention to advanced students.  It comes as little surprise, then, that many talented individuals rather early in life recognize a need for an especially considerate paradigm.  Of course, when deeper levels of understanding are sought, the more fragile mechanisms of cognition are exposed to conditioning.  Those qualified to teach students who possess more rare capacities must be of a higher level of trustworthiness and discretion than the ones accredited by the criteria of the industrial complex.  But, diversity being what it is, standards for the spiritual educator are often difficult to uphold or even describe.  One regarded as an expert dutifully furnishes explanations of the basic values upon which his faith discipline is founded and its requirements of participation for beginners, as well as providing advanced instruction for those with a recognized commitment. 


Though individual performance is the basis of genuine pride, it is natural to find many who derive great satisfaction from simply having found a group that shares their affinities and has produced enough outstanding accomplishments to significantly nourish the espirit de corps of the membership.  This is not to be discouraged, but in an intelligent arrangement, it is to be recognized for what it is, lest those not looking for involvement in an overly nefarious agenda awake to find themselves seduced by the wiles of some ambitious practitioner of applied psychology.  Of course, to gain the association of those who have done what one would like to do is a great asset to the pursuit of excellence and happiness.  When one joins an organization that is truly excellent in its power to educate, its prestige among the authentic elite leaves little doubt of its advantages over a school that is praised more by those who understand less. 


The Dalai Lama is the leader of a truly elite establishment.  Yet, no fair person could ever call him a snob.  Smaller and newer fraternities struggle to find themselves with a good reputation.  Yet, the ego will imagine that there are effective short cuts in abundance.  Thus, elitism is a mixed blessing.  A temple or lodge that seeks to exhibit the clear lines painted by the elders of an order of true initiates will work on cultivating excellence instead of building an edifice reliant upon wide acclaim by those outside the serious effort.  Modesty and moderation characterize the methods of a society that is more deeply concerned with developing far-reaching life skills.  If ones wants to be handled with honesty and integrity and the kind of care that will enhance true wizardry, then one must be prepared to conduct oneself in harmony with those ideals.  This may sound like a moral constraint, but it is more one simply of intelligent respect. 


So, as we speak in seemingly pretentious ways, let us thereby wholesomely encourage the interest of persons with similarly peaceful needs and leanings, while simultaneously discouraging those for whom Hermetism, Sufism, or Zen will never hold any lasting interest.  Those whose passions are geared toward the tactical and superficial rather than the strategic and profound ultimately prove to be of little good service to the workers of auspicious priestcraft.    Nearly every gentle and many a coarse man or woman has something to offer the gods, though; so it is very good to understand just why our places in the temple court are different.  Productive involvement in esoteric pursuits is according to investment and excellence.  Bart Simpson will always find his audience, but his interest in witchcraft is confined to the occasional dramatic enrichment of Halloween.  Lisa Simpson has to be more inventive and cooperative if her life is to be filled with the kind of rewards that true intellectuals usually desire.