Bastian had shown the lion the inscription on the reverse side of the Gem. “What do you suppose it means?” he asked. “ ‘DO WHAT YOU WISH.’ That must mean I can do anything I feel like. Don’t you think so?”
All at once Grograman’s face looked alarmingly grave, and his eyes glowed.
“No,” he said in his deep, rumbling voice. “It means that you must do what you really and truly want. And nothing is more difficult.”
“What I really and truly want? What do you mean by that?”
“It’s your own deepest secret and you yourself don’t know it.”
“How can I find out?”
“By going the way of your wishes, from one to another, from first to last. It will take you to what you really and truly want.”
“That doesn’t sound so hard,” said Bastian.
“It is the most dangerous of all journeys.”
“Why?” Bastian asked. “I’m not afraid.”
“That isn’t it,” Grograman rumbled. “It requires the greatest honesty and vigilance, because there’s no other journey on which it’s so easy to lose yourself forever.”
For those unfamiliar with the quotation it is from Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, and is the beginning of the second half of the book. (The second half of the book being otherwise known as the good part of the book that the movies didn’t even touch and that is why they suck so much.) Also for those who haven’t heard my rant, I think The Neverending Story is essential reading for a magickian and is secretly (or not so secretly) a magickal treatise in the form of fantasy novel, and if you wonder why, just read the above quote again.
This section has become my frequently referred to part of the book, I’m constantly reading it to friends, family, and clients when things get rough, or they’re unsure about things. There is a reason the headline of my blog (which is only visible on some feed reader profiles) is “Going the way of your wishes.”
To quickly add another layer to this before moving on “DO WHAT YOU WISH” might seem vaguely familiar. It’s an English translation from the original German of the book which was “Tu, was du willst” which is more accurately translated as “Do what you will” in fact it’s exactly as it appears in German version of Liber AL vel Legis.
While I love this scene, let me cut out the filling and just reduce Grograman’s statement to a single piece of advice for magicians.
DO WHAT YOU WISH
“You must do what you really and truly want. [Go] the way of your wishes, from one to another, from first to last. It will take you to what you really and truly want. It requires the greatest honesty and vigilance, because there’s no other journey on which it’s so easy to lose yourself forever.”
How can a magickian read this and not feel like it is a calling of the Great Work? We must follow our Path, but we must first find it, deeper still we must create it. How? By doing the Work, through all your successes and all your failures you are getting closer to your Path. Only if you have the honesty and vigilance to truly evaluate your self, your life, and your Work. It is so easy to lose yourself, to convince yourself you’re doing magick, you’re doing the Great Work. It can be so easy to hide from the “real world” into one of magickal thinking, every success because magick, every failure a test or karma or more often just forgotten and overlooked. If you’re honest though, if you’re vigilant in observing and understanding things as they are, then you can see as you go the way of your wishes, from first to last, which ones are right and which are wrong. Our Will, our Path is our deepest secret even we don’t know, it must be found, uncovered, and forged. This is what Grograman is telling us.
Take aim at goals in your quest, and Work toward them, if you arrive and realize it is unsatisfying, then it isn’t your Path, just turn to take aim at another goal. From goal to goal, from wish to wish, the point of the Great Work is to Work, and you will learn the true Way of things as you learn which of the ways are false.
So go the way of your wishes, do the Work, and do what you wish.