I have been thinking about this topic for some time now. It is one of those things where the definition is a little elusive. So many things could be called “pathworking” in magick. Someone does meditation a few nights and voila it’s pathworking. But the word and the ideal of pathworking is so much deeper than that. It is a part of the Great Work. Knowing and discovering oneself. Ultimately that is what pathworking leads to for the serious magician. Getting to know and being able to discover oneself is not an easy task. When real life learning takes place it usually comes at a cost. A tragedy happens and we learn to carry on in the aftermath. We discover things about ourselves we never would have without that tragedy. This is how I see pathworking, to a point. Let me explain. In pathworking we take the energy of that ritual and we extend it to it’s and ours breaking point. We push ourselves further and further unlocking the secrets of the ritual and along with that ourselves. It is not for the faint of heart. At times, it can be painful and uncomfortable. But it can also be a catalyst to a great change and a greater understanding of ourselves as well as the world around us. The same type of change and understanding that can be brought on by a tragedy. But at the end of all that work and all that sweat and energy, you are futher along the path to getting to know what you are capable of and what futher discovery may be possible. On the other side of a tragedy or the other side of pathworking there is greater understanding and greater knowledge about oneself.
So in observing all that, comparing pathworking to a tragedy, recognizing the pain and hard work that goes along with discovery, I would be inclined to ask, “Why the hell would I want to put myself through that?” A fair question. This is why I believe that the Demonic has a lot to do with us choosing this type of discovery. This is the level of communication that is necessary with the Demonic. We stare into their eyes and then find out we are looking at ourselves. I do believe that we are influenced by the Demonic to push ourselves to greater heights. Pathworking, the act of performing a ritual or a group of rituals until anything that can be drawn from the act, is drawn. I have to be honest, when I have anything that could be defined as “pathworking” it has come upon me by accident. And many times I have not recognized it until it was over. This is where I think the Demonic is communicating with me. Driving me to continue the ritual work until some unseen lever clicks and I am satisfied. And in turn they are satisfied that I have taken from the ritual or rituals that which was necessary. I don’t believe pathworking can be done without the influence or the assistance of the Demonic. Rituals can be done over and over and yes different things can be learned from each working, but unless it is in conjunction with the Demonic, I am not sure it could be called “pathworking”.