Lessons You Will Not Find in Books
1) Within a Circle trust is an absolute necessity.
If you attend a ritual be SURE you trust those involved. Many feel this, in today's society to be archaic. It has always proved out when I have tried to work with unknown people, those I was unsure of or who were in some way unsure of me, failure, disaster or heated debate resulting in dissent has always been the end point. Know a person before you are willing to enter sacred space with them.
2) Never spellcast too soon.
Magic should not be a first resort. The use of non-magical means should be applied when possible and convenient. Overuse of magic, like anything else, becomes a crutch that can unbalance your life.
3) Prophecy is a two-edged sword.
Remember this, whether you read Tarot, I-Ching, Runes or whatever other means of divination or personal analysis, be prepared to have the reading to go in directions you do not expect and be prepared for them NOT to be in a way you will like. Remember the Lesson of Cassandra (in Greek Mythology) that sometimes you can change the future and sometimes you cannot, and only time will tell which is which. If you cannot deal with the possibility of your personal wants or expectations being wrong, then you should not be consulting a means of divination. I have seen even long-time craft-folk who forget this lesson in the heat of emotion.
4) There is not a magical answer behind everything.
I have known some folks who became so obsessed in their personal paranoia of some form of 'magical attack' or 'magical influence' that such became their excuse for everything that occurred around them, even when very simple non-magical answers existed to explain what had occurred. The number of magical practitioners at present is VERY small,and most have a range of influence that doesn't extend far on their own. The gathering of hateful or vindictive emotional energy to achieve a magical attack on another is not done easily or quickly, and tends to harm the attacker more often then the target. Look with logic on a situation.
Don't depend on or look into only a single philosophy or magical application - a specialist is usually someone who is refusing to grow beyond boundaries they have set for themselves.
6) A single teacher is NOT enough.
You will spend a lifetime as a real student, even if others one day declare you a teacher, leader or High Priestess. Gather from many to find what your lifepath is. Do not let anyone tell you there is ONLY one true belief system, one true Divinity, one way to approach a situation or one teacher to follow.
7) In the end you ARE Solitary.
All Magickal workers are eventually forced to depend upon their own company, separated from the many communities and groups by distance, time or belief. You will probably spend more time solitary then in a group. Be prepared to face this when it happens. The Pagan Community is too small to be everywhere for everyone or to even always help its own (though trying to do so is a goal I feel vital to expand the community).You must become sufficiently balanced and grounded to deal with being alone and to practice your beliefs alone, especially in times of hardship and adversity.
8) Don't be too fast to assume the role of a teacher, or to assume that a student cannot teach you something in return.
Can you really explain what you believe and do within your belief coherently? Does the person to be taught really want to learn it all and are they sincere, or are they merely curious or on a 'power trip'? Learning to know when someone is ready to learn is one of the hardest lessons you must learn if you purposely teach. Don't give a hand grenade to a three year old and expect positive results.
9) Not all paths and philosophies are desirable.
There are many that are self-destructive, purely self-indulgent or a combination of both. If a path cannot teach you some form of inner peace with yourself and what you are doing in life, or is devoted to manipulating others to achieve your personal benefits, then it is a'dead-end path', one that is a cul-de-sac on the path of growth.
10) Don't do what feels uncomfortable.
If performing a ritual, using a magic form, reciting a chant/prayer or performing an activity feels personally painful, uncomfortable or'wrong' then it is not for you to be involved with it at that time. Listen to the inner voice of your spirit and follow its lead. Intuition is a powerful gift, don't waste it by always opposing it.
11) You will have to take chances.
Magic doesn't work on its own, and positive karma won't help you if you fight it when it seeks to restore balance around you. It is not enough to cast a prosperity spell and then sit home and wait for a letter in the mail from Ed MacMahn with a check in it! You must take non-magical action to help things along. Cast a spell fora new job? Sure, but then don't turn down a chance to read job listings, mail resumes or attend an interview! Working to heal a sick spouse? Ok,but make sure they are getting medical advice, enough to eat, attention, care, therapy, etc. to help the magic on its way!