After being involved with groups that practice some form of ceremonial magick for more than 25 years I am absolutely convinced of two things.
1. Group Work is absolutely critical to maintain some perspective on whatever magical work you are doing in your personal practice.
2. Group Work will never replace the (more important) study and practice on your own.
Finding a good group to participate in that can provide formal initiations and ritual work helps an aspirant build a framework of common language to communicate the often very subjective materials spiritual aspirants work with. Good, stable groups such as Golden Dawn/OTO lodges, some Freemasonic Lodges, and even pagan groups, though sometimes difficult to track down IRL, are worth joining and maintaining if for nothing else than making sure aspirants don't lose touch with reality completely while doing solo work. They can also be invaluable as a source for potential one-on-one teachers if that is the path that works best for you. It is true that there can be a risk of exposure to bad leaders/teachers, the occasional abuse of power or silly internal politics, but these encounters are also a valuable lesson to those whose primary study is themselves. If you are reading this blog and have NOT had a positive group work experience I would encourage you to track down a group worthy of your time and dues, even if you have to travel occasionally to participate in person.
After being involved with groups that practice some form of ceremonial magick for more than 25 years I am absolutely convinced of two things. Number one, group work is absolutely critical to maintain some perspective on whatever magical work you are doing in your personal practice and two, group work will never replace the (more important) study and practice on your own
All that said, don't wait for any of that to start practicing yourself. Go RIGHT NOW online and order a book, or, better still, go to an independant book reseller and get something of a spiritual nature that appeals to you. Start reading it and start recording your thoughts in a journal. If the book suggests some simple starting practices, even if it seems silly to chant by yourself, or to wave your arms around, or sit quietly for a while, or whatever is suggested, do it and record consistently what happens. The point is to START something and keep it up daily. If you persist long enough with just about any practice you will see SOME sort of result. If you continue to search for further learning and spiritual practices, keep notes, and keep looking for a local group to participate with, results will follow.
Just like everything in life, there will never be a perfect time to start. Everyone is too busy, too overwhelmed, too stressed. Isn't that the point? Aren't we all seeking something more than the merely visceral? I wish you the best of luck in your own search, and hope these thoughts from my own prove helpful.
~Troy the Devil-Man