Foundations of Nightside Instruction

By Madame X © 2006

Instruction is guidance and expansion, and it begins with a good mentor who is motivated to establish solid learning foundations. Good compatible mentors are not easy to find. Ultimately it falls on the seekers' shoulders to find the right mentor for themselves, and be determined to learn and grow.

Foundations are paramount. Let's say the seeker wants to learn sigil magic. The instructor may request the seeker to conduct some research on symbology, numerology, the history of a particular symbol or emblem, or even an essay comparing and contrasting ancient cultural symbols. The seeker may think that is irrelevant, but such periphery is important to establish a foundation upon which to build on. A mentorship association is as good as the effort that both parties (mentor and seeker) direct to it. It is essential that the mentor be motivated to cultivate learning, but the student "will get out of it as much as they put into it." Laziness, reluctance to comply with guidelines, avoidance, unavailability, or failure to meet deadlines and desired goals is generally frowned upon behavior. Although this is not formal schooling, the student must continually exhibit interest, dedication, availability and the desire to excel. It is not uncommon that the instructor will simply wait for the completion of one 'forgotten' assignment before issuing another, or simply dismiss a lacking student.

Assignments may include: demonstrations, research, reading, written or oral presentations, application of studied methods, ritual observation and participation, interaction with specific individuals, interviews, watching specific programs, guided meditations and personal meditative exercises, power exchange, community participation, attending specific events, executing a post or providing a direct service, developing an idea, streamlining a process, procuring specific tools or garb, any combination of the above or any other effective teaching method the instructor may have in mind. Some may utilize more edgy methods of instruction, like corporeal stimulation, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, isolation, restraints, humiliation, emotional catharsis, worship and other variations of sadomasochism toward a pointed end. It behooves the student to ask their potential mentor what methods they utilize, what will be expected of them, and to know their personal boundaries as to avoid any surprises and bad feelings.

An instructor may become your buddy and best friend, but it should not be the expected outcome of such a relationship. Some instructors like to keep their personal feelings and their dayside lives private; students should not expect instructors to become their best friends. If feelings deepen between parties, there is nothing more important than communication. Instruction and learning can work equally well in a formal teacher-student relationship, in a friendship, or in a loving relationship, provided that both parties are in agreement as to what the relationship parameters are, and that adequate focus is still maintained on the guidance-learning dimension; although many mentors and seekers alike prefer formal teacher student relationships where the lines are not crossed.

Any responsible instructor will not just simply handover their writings/books to the student, but will encourage the seeker to write his or her own. Rank and promotions do not come easy with any conscientious mentor or organization. A seeker should wish not only for the merit and recognition of ascension, but for the personal growth and development that comes with it. Neither because they had sex with the mentor, nor because they have ascertained a certain level of intimacy with them, not even if they read, stole, or possess the mentor's book(s). This is not TV-land; knowledge cannot be stolen. Knowledge, Wisdom and Acumen are gained by personal effort, research, communication, application and experience. We can learn without mentors and without teachers; we can simply rely on our own inspiration, motivation and desire to do so, the information is out there. A good instructor however, guides the seekers efforts, expands their horizons, and establishes solid foundations upon which the seeker can build a firm future and one day become a responsible mentor themselves.

Below are some guidelines that help establish good student-teacher relationships. These guidelines may be particularly helpful to seekers who being new in the community may not know what to do, look for, or expect.

Good Seekers/Students:

  • Do research on their desired mentor(s) to determine if they are recognized by the community, if they are established and well regarded. Have an open discussion about past experiences and future desires with their prospective mentor(s) to determine if there is a solid compatibility of ethics, interests and teaching methods.
  • Are skeptics by nature and not easily impressed, particularly when it comes to unwarranted flattery, self-congratulatory story telling, and dubious tall-tales, even if told by their (potential) mentor.
  • Learn to identify manipulation, probing and lies from community members and similarly learn to identify goodwill, honesty, and responsible behavior. Are open with their mentor about their boundaries, shortcomings, phobias, expectations and desires.
  • Reserve and are available for periodic scheduled sessions to discuss nightside issues, assignments, personal development, and to expand their learning, by asking questions and providing service.
  • Regard sessions and discussions with mentor as private and exert extreme discretion when relaying any part of such interactions. Knowledge and information has been passed on to you as seekers, and you are not qualified to pass on this information to anyone until you are considered an adult of the community or Calmae. Realize that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
  • Realize that instruction comes in steps, and that foundations must be established before moving on to the next level. Are patient and maintain a positive outlook.
  • Complete assignments in a timely responsible fashion and accept constructive criticism as an expansion of their learning curve.
  • Seek to obtain knowledge and information from a variety of sources by using some creative and critical thinking.
  • Utilize personal time to engage in reading, interaction and introspection that will expand learning and personal nightside development.
  • Demonstrate initiative by taking on personal projects and participating in community projects.
  • Know their boundaries and time constraints, and abstain from overburdening their schedule by prioritizing and eliminating unnecessary ventures.
  • Become an extension of their mentor offering when needed assistance, protection, representation, and becoming the mentor's eyes and ears in the community.
  • Regard their mentor highly with loyalty and respect, and foment the same attitude in those around them.
  • Realize that there is little to gain and much to lose by disrespecting, exasperating, frustrating or otherwise needlessly waste the mentor's time and patience.
  • Take credit for and are accountable for their work as students and their decisions as adults.
  • Do not solicit nor demand personal, private or dayside information from their mentor.
  • Balance their dayside and nightside duties and responsibilities and will take recess when needed to resolve pertinent issues.
  • Respect the experience of their mentor, and avoid those individuals that their mentor has cautioned them against.
  • Uphold their reputation and the reputation of their mentor and to ensure both will refrain from engaging in illegal, criminal, or destructive behavior.

Good mentors/instructors:

  • Should be recognized as community Elders or at least as Calmae. Seekers, fledglings, or newbie's cannot be considered teachers of any sort.
  • Have the endorsement of other community individuals and at least One Elder if Calmae and 3 Elders if of Elder status. So seekers do your advance research.
  • Study potential students over a period of time before welcoming them into the fold. Some mentors even expect seekers to prove their merit before accepting them as students.
  • Demonstrate patience, positivism and flexibility.
  • Evaluate the level of aptitude, understanding and readiness of the student before proceeding to teach or assign any projects.
  • Provide challenging projects that meet the seekers interests, build foundations, and cultivate learning.
  • When assignment is complete, provide recognition of student's achievement, constructive criticism, and topic expansion guidance.
  • Are periodically available to privately discuss pertinent topics real time, i.e.: in-person, on the phone, or via on-line chat.
  • Are available to be a sounding board for ideas and to give solid council when needed on nightside and dayside issues, offering the student not only tutelage but also protection when needed.
  • Encourage seekers to think abstractly, out of the box and research alternate forms of information.
  • Encourage seekers to demonstrate initiative by taking on personal projects and community involvement.
  • Solicit their student's assistance with research or development for specific projects, always recognizing and accrediting individual helpers.
  • Share personal stories when they may aid current situations and as a way to better identify with the seeker.
  • Share past-life recollections or divinatory visions only when the seeker is ready, open, and when the sharing is purposeful to the seeker's path.
  • Consider their interaction with students/wards to be sacred and private, exerting extreme discretion when disclosing any part of it to other community members.
  • Turn away seekers when their own plate is full, when the seeker is an incompatible match, when the seeker has serious unresolved dayside issues, when the seeker is unavailable or disinterested, or when the seeker engages in dangerous, illegal, or destructive behavior. Often mentors will direct seekers to other potential instructors.
  • Discourage seekers from associating with dangerous, destructive, or criminal individuals by relaying valuable information and personal experience.
  • May keep their dayside matters private and separate from mentorship interaction but they value and balance they dayside issues responsibly and will encourage seekers to do the same.

Poor mentors:

  • Sit seekers on their proverbial lap and tell self-congratulatory stories of their past deeds adnosium… instead of being awestruck, try to confirm and validate their stories.
  • Openly, casually, or publicly tell tales of their past lives or yours. Such sharing should be in private confidence at appropriate times and places. These are lame tools devised to impress the impressionable.
  • Openly, casually or publicly recount study sessions, criticize student behavior or demonstrate a lack of secrecy when it comes to student/ward interaction. Say 'learn only from my writings'… instead learn from many points of view and form your own perspectives.
  • Have no old friends and surround themselves with a plethora of newbies. There are big warning flags in this 'cycling people' behavior; so get ready to be recycled.
  • Constantly burn bridges with other community members. We all have issues but true Elders seek to resolve them with responsible accountability.
  • Befriend seekers too quickly and make lofty promises of quick ascensions, this is a bad form of flattery.
  • Negotiate knowledge, information, ascensions, or recognition for physical or emotional intimacy. Never accept such bargains.
  • After so many years in the community, decide that a mere seeker with limited awareness is suddenly their right-hand-person; this is another bad form of flattery. Such close relationships are developed over time.
  • Bestow empty inflated titles, even if just for affect. Such effects are 'lies' and far from honorable distinctions. Do not implicate yourself with titles that you have not earned nor with those that concede to bear those empty titles.
  • Lie or manipulate. You may not be the recipient of the lie or manipulation this time, but I assure you, it's coming your way. Don't be an accomplice in these devises.
  • Struggle to keep their dayside afloat on a consistent basis. This is not a worthy teacher; he/she should take a sabbatical and get their dayside together first.
  • Accept students with and without potential alike. Here students are seen as a personal validation. A good mentor is discriminating and does not waste their time with those who lack the beacon.
  • Embrace a multitude of students, wards or chylder. Mentoring someone is a great responsibility and it should not be taken lightly. Expect little results out of this association.
  • Embrace or associate with minors. This is illegal and has so many legal ramifications that it is best to avoid this person all together.
  • Encourage illegal behavior like substance abuse, intoxication and irresponsible sexual conduct. Great parties, maybe, but you are putting yourself and your reputation in danger.
  • Encourage seekers to turn away from dayside family or obligations, instead of encouraging better understanding of the needs of dayside family and directing attention to the importance of dayside duties. Although you may want these dreaded responsibilities to go away, only bad mentors will discourage you from facing your adult duties.
  • Forbid students from associating with past associates or other community individuals. Although seekers should be discouraged from pursuing associations with questionable or dangerous individuals, as adults they are entitled to follow their path…wherever it might lead them.
  • Utilize their students to research and write articles anonymously or as they unpaid shadow writers. Always insist on credit for what you research and create.