I have learned throughout my life that there are hidden secrets to be found, and they cannot be given, not by any mentor or friend, they must be gained by you for you. The best a mentor can do for you is to hint at the Way, watch your progress, nudge you, encourage you, or tear you down.
Some say that a Master passes on all he knows to his apprentice, and that his apprentice shares everything with his master… this isn’t entirely true though. And to put it like that implies homogenization, carbon copies. Because of the individualistic nature of the path and it’s travellers, each have their secrets, each have there prefered avenues to pursue… they both continue to grow, but they grow in different ways.
That may cause students to question the purpose of a Master training an apprentice…which is fine, maybe even encouraged depending on the era and its current atmosphere. Just know that what justifies the method is simple: A Knight (or a Master) has learned secrets on his own, and his role in such a relationship is to provide his apprentice with guidance and starting points, hints and direction; in this way, the apprentice can be guided towards discovering and forging their own hard-won secrets. What’s gained in an apprenticeship can be attained by any individual, alone, if he’s driven enough; but with the aide of a mentor, a student fulfilling the role of apprentice might progress more rapidly than the lonesome kind. To say this is to admit learning from a Master is a luxury, and that it isn’t required. Of course, if you can afford it, then who passes up extra perks? The upsides are obvious I think…
And what, then, marks the end of such a relationship? For students unfamiliar with the path, seeking foundations to build on and a direction to go, I think the end is determined when the student is in tune with himself, aware of his hearts desires and enabled with the tools and resolve to achieve them. The student should know how to move forward and where to apply his attention and energy. The student should be a Dark Knight in all but name.
When it comes right down to it though, I think that yes, the student that participates in an apprenticeship will probably be well off for the experience, but that one cannot and should not hope for a surplus of guides that isn’t there. My advice to any taveller of a dark bent… If you have the oppurtunity to learn from someone, and respect the content and the workings of their way of doing things, take it. But don’t let the absence of a guide hold you back; when there’s no one to turn to, don’t use it as an excuse to let yourself down, don’t use it as an excuse to rot in place when you could be moving forward.
Personally, I had no real guide or master starting out. For the five long years following that beginning, I learned the meaning of ‘Solus Sum’… but look at me now.