The first step is dedication. To be an onmyouji you must be dedicated to what you do. This is not a hobby, this is a spiritual path. Although there are truly impressive things that you will do in it, which many others will never experience in their lives, impressing people is not a valid reason to pursue any spiritual path. Dedication and focus are required.
Reality is largely based on perception. Two people may look at the same thing and see it as two different things, because of their experiences and their ways of thinking that differ from one another. So an onmyouji must be willing to decide what he is and is not willing to accept as part of his reality, and act accordingly. It is not his place to decide for others, but his actions may influence their realities. Along this same vein, an onmyouji must take a stand against those who presume to dictate others' realities or what they should be according to that person. An onmyouji must be strong enough to maintain his views and perceptions, and to rationally weigh any input and change, not to be easily swayed by each and every incoming influence. At the same time, an onmyouji must realize as well when an influence is true, and when his ideas may need to be adjusted because of new information.
So this statement must be made: ultimately your decisions are yours and your thoughts are yours. Some have said that our thoughts were the only things we could ever truly own. As such, while I have presented guidelines here for students to follow, it is theirs to decide if it is appropriate for them. If not, then that is their choice to make. With every decision there is a choice, even if one of the choices is extremely unpleasant or impractical. When one makes a decision, one must have the responsibility to deal with the consequences of that decision. This is especially important in magical workings, as the energy itself is so all-pervasive. It is important to learn from one's mistakes and move on, not to dwell in unhappiness or depression from a mis-step. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone chooses unwisely from time to time. The truly great are those who learn from these experiences and improve themselves through them. The unwise are doomed to repeat their mistakes again and again, because they never learn from them and so keep making them.
An onmyouji's greatest ally is himself, just as an onmyouji's greatest tool is himself. The other tools and resources sometimes assist in focus or in conceptualization, but it is unwise to rely on any objects or any others for what one must do oneself. The familiar saying is, 'don't put all your eggs in one basket.' It is unwise to rely on objects or people to assist you. You must learn to rely only on yourself. While it is sometimes helpful to have the assistance of others in whatever facility, too much reliance on external objects and people will likely result in unhappiness.
For example, if you were to pile vast amounts of energy into a particular wand decked out with shime-kazari and then lose that wand at some point, it would be detrimental to you. The same is true with magical artifacts or colleagues: to depend on the energy boost of an external force without working to strengthen yourself from within is inviting disaster. Objects do not last forever, and people will not always be there for you to draw strength from. Relationships come and go as well, and one day's friend may be tomorrow's stranger.
Now, before you begin breaking ties with people and throwing out magical objects, let me clarify this statement as well. There is nothing wrong with accepting assistance from the more experienced or help from a colleague in terms of energy workings. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with creating amulets or charms, or using magical artifacts or charms. But as with anything of that nature, relying on them can be harmful to you and cause dependency, which is unfair to the items and people that you may become more or less addicted to. Can you imagine if someone felt they could do nothing magically without your presence or your energy? It would create an imbalanced situation, where that person would be literally feeding off of your energy to do anything. It is not healthy for either party, and the same of course goes for magical items. They must be given time to recover, just like any other magical source. If drained utterly, they will only become less and less willing to part with energy because it will simply not be there.
All of this becomes common sense after a time. It all returns to the basic principles of focus and dedication, and with that comes respect. Respect is something earned, not given by default. It is good to start out with anyone on neutral respect, and then allow their own actions either to earn them greater or to take away. Sometimes it may also be necessary to override this general advice temporarily, in order to persuade someone to cooperate with you. There is little that is wrong with allowing someone to convince themselves that you are on 'their side' in order for you to get to the bottom of a situation, or for you to take advantage of a situation. This does not mean to intentionally mislead them; oftentimes people that fundamentally insecure and impressionable will create their own delusion, furthered by your seeming cooperation with their plans.
On the subject of ethics, what must be decided is the choice of each onmyouji. The code of ethics that I follow is one that presumes fairness to those I meet and, as stated previously, starts them with neutral respect and trust. I neither trust nor distrust new people I may meet, especially when they are involved with an affair for which I am using onmyoudou. It is crucial to keep an objective viewpoint initially, and to adjust your opinions as your perception of the situation becomes clearer. Sometimes the situation as presented by whomever has asked you to come and help is very different from the reality of the situation. As it has been said, often there are several sides to every story. Do not intentionally blind yourself to a larger picture, or else you may put yourself and others in danger. The situation may worsen due to your willing ignorance, and that is not acceptable at any time! As stated before, you will have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Eventually this will come around for you to resolve or deal with what you caused by ignoring what you could have noticed sooner.
Mindfulness of your situation is often the greatest and most beneficial policy. Being aware is something that has saved many onmyouji from unsavory events. As long as you are aware too, surely you will do fine.
Next to The Floating World
Back to Onmyoudou Introduction