It seems to me that gnosis is the ability to extract reliable information from unreliable sources. It's usually a good idea to take classes from a reputable teacher. I do believe in paying for that kind of instruction, like paying a sensei to instruct in martial arts. A good class can grant access not only to a good overview of the relevant topics, but also to the opinions of experienced, perceptive people. Then, in ones own private praxis, one can sift out the more from the less personally valuable instructions.
I remember how when Willow and her friend joined a coven in _Buffy the Vampire Slayer_, they were much more interested in real sorcery than anyone else in the group, so they conducted their own experiments, as they found that they could trust each other's accuracy and honesty. They didn't place their energies into the hands of a Tom Riddle type of leader, you know, the kind who makes the work all about them instead of them being all about the work.
If you can obtain a fair communication with Lady Mimi, I have always found her to be very smart and very fair, and if she isn't giving a class in what you want to study, she might be able to clue you in on which available teachers in town have the best reputations for what subjects.
Every natural born witch seems to have a joss of his/her own, and certain traditional beliefs and practices come more easily than others owing to mystical affinity.
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