A Pagan with a bias toward scholarship tends to encounter difficulties belonging with the wider community. Founding members of the movement built their frameworks with faulty scholarship and fantastic claims. As fictions become beliefs, people hold them too dearly to revise or challenge them. When intuitive and mystical ways of knowing ground belief, academic analysis is rejected as reductive and disenchanting. Nevertheless, the scholar sees their investigation as a form of veneration. Insofar as one confronts one’s truths in the sacred space, one must acquaint oneself with the means to find truth. Studying immerses the scholar in the subject and changes them as well. While untruths of the subject are cut away, the untruths of the scholar are cut likewise. The subject and the scholar emerge more whole from this process.

Where one’s practice includes operant magick, one should have an internally consistent framework. The framework should account for the limits of magic, its necessary conditions, and how to interpret results. Logical consistency does not require a strict commitment to empirical science, but it does require that all claims made by the framework can be true without causing a contradiction. Adopting as principles poorly interpreted claims from natural science weakens a framework, making it reliant on something that can be determined true or false, and often a pseudoscience that has been determined false. Logically consistent principles allow one to draw inferences from the framework to explore the logical space it defines. Otherwise, the magician does not learn about themselves through their framework and therefore never develops.

Mystical insights and personal gnosis should be part of every practice. Through critical reflection on those insights, one engages with the divine and develops their relationship to the sacred. Uncritical acceptance does not allow the insight to take root deeply, leading to a shallow pursuit of experiences whenever the previous bliss is spent. Asserting the truth of one’s personal gnosis as binding on a third party may help a person reinforce a shallow belief, but one can only make epistemic judgments on their own experiences.

Revival of ancient Paganism requires evidence-based investigation such as archeology, history, and linguistics. While experts may offer different interpretations, they also acknowledge the limits of what we can glean from evidence and what we can only speculate based on broader patterns. Scholarship in these fields requires rigorous attention to detail, evidence, and bias. Grounding our beliefs in the on-going academic search for truth gives contemporary Pagans a firmer foundation than amateur speculation and debunked theories.

The practice should work inward, not outward. Beginning magick, ritual, or any working with the intention to create external changes results in delusion and disappointment. Ceremonial magick works change on the magician, encouraging the development of insight and understanding. When witchcraft aims for external results, it works the way nature works. Witchcraft seeks the necessary and sufficient condition, the smallest movement for the greatest change. One must first learn patience, observation, and diligence. On either path the initiate should focus on introspection and personal development and follow those paths into mastery.

While many introductory sources teach protection magick as a safe introduction, focus on wards and protection leads to paranoia. One focuses anxiety or depression on an external cause, a magical or psychic attack, and then employs ineffective external responses. The adversary is the inexperienced mind, clinging to material explanations for mental phenomenon, seeking easy answers over honest introspection. Mindful awareness in meditation serves as a safer introductory practice that teaches investigation of sensation and feelings that encourages steadiness of mind.