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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,370,217  

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Reponses: 199

Lurker/Post Ratio: 164 to 1

Question of the Week: 17 - 12/4/2000

Does Older Equal Better?

Whether it is Traditional Wicca vs. Solitary Wicca or Coven Trained vs. Self-Initiation, there are folks on either side of the issue, "Is Older Really Better"? We have even heard of some folks 'padding' their experience (or years) so as not be called a "newbie" or a 'wannabe". Is there something 'wrong' with being a new seeker? Is there something inherently right about being what some call the "Old Guard"? Is there a point where revering the 'old way' of teaching/passing on the knowledge actually becomes 'resistant to change'? Should the new generations of Pagans follow closely in our footsteps or should they be free to break new ground? Can the old traditions survive if they do? Should they?

 Reponses:   There are 199 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Well, I'm A Newbie, By Most Wiccans' Definition, And I Haven't Run... Dec 3rd. at 9:52:13 pm EST

Adeline (Orlando, Florida US) Age: 27 - Email

Well, I'm a newbie, by most wiccans' definition, and I haven't run into any unpleasant events with regard to my newness. I've heard stories and I think it's funny because most people claim to have knowledge of the old ways, but no one truly knows what that is. If there is a new religion dawning, you better believe I want to be a part of it. If not, then great, I'm already a part of something established. There is good to be drawn from everything if you choose to see it as such. From what I've seen, a lot of people within this community criticize eachother individually as well as other covens for whatever reason. I really don't get that. Isn't the criticism the very thing we're trying to stay clear of?

Hi, All!; These Questions Can Be Relevent Depending On What One Is... Dec 3rd. at 11:19:37 pm EST

Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 58 - Email

Hi, All!;

These questions can be relevent depending on what one is doing within
the milieu.

Is one only Pagan? Is one specifically Wiccan? Is one a Witch?

Modern Paganism gets my vote as a religious expression because it is disorganized.

Witchcraft is my practice, because it requires Magical Discipline and dedicated application.

Wicca, I generally ignore.

The object of Witchcraft is the practical application of the traditional Occult Arts and Psychic Sciences. Yes, it does require an "Old Guard" to train and pass on a sound foundation in the study.

One is required to create practical occultists out of one's students who become formidable minds moving metaphysical Time and Space; magicians, if you will.

That, however, is not for everyone.

Wicca sort of gathers the middle ground between Paganism and Witchcraft with its nicey-nicey magic. There one can find all the shades between Traditionals and Starhawkian activists.

Wicca can be eclectic and innovative. Witchcraft is tradition bound and authoritative.

Paganism, as functioning in this Modern World, has no central hierarchy, nor doctrinaire clergies. That makes it a perfct religion for the Witch. who is the consummate heretic towards religious belief, but comitted perpetual student of the arcane. BB

I Think If Older Equals Better Than More People Should Be Attempting... Dec 4th. at 1:03:22 am EST

Matt (Atlanta, Georgia US) Age: 19

I think if older equals better than more people should be attempting to reconstruct paleolithic practices.

Well, While Age Is Usually Responsible For Breeding Wisdom, There Are Exceptions... Dec 4th. at 1:20:06 am EST

Kori Parathena (Nashville, North Carolina US) Age: 27 - Email

Well, while age is usually responsible for breeding wisdom, there are exceptions to every rule. For the most part, older witches tend to be more level-headed and dedicated to their religion. I have known older witches, however, that were as flaky as a coconut pie.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a "newbie" witch. We all have to start somewhere. Unfortunately, some older witches, upon finding a newbie, immediately begin to patronize and "play elder" to the new witchling. This can lead to either disgust on the part of the newbie (as it did with me) or some weird Pagan groupie syndrome (ick!).

As a self-dedicated witch, I also am deeply offended when I run across those members of the old guard that puff up their chests at their "lineage" or recite that old maxim, "Only a Witch can make a Witch." While lineage is something to be cherished and honored, it does not "make" the witch. And as for that goofy, outdated saying...where did the FIRST witch come from? I was initiated by my Goddess, and if anyone wants to tell Her that Her initiation was no good, I say more power to them!

Our traditions will not die by being changed where necessary. We must evolve, as all nature evolves, or we risk extinction.

And in case you are wondering, I've been practicing for six years...still a Witchling!

Is Older Really "better"? Not Necessarily. It Really Depends On How One... Dec 4th. at 8:21:06 am EST

Daphne Inari (Des Moines, Iowa US) Age: 34 - Email

Is Older really "better"? Not necessarily. It really depends on how one approaches the craft. If a person has devoted herself whole-heartedly into study and practice, she can probably have more "experience" in two years than someone who has just "dabbled" can have in ten. The fact is, we are all seekers, always.

There is a wisdom that comes with age, but that wisdom is the experience of life itself, and is not bound to religion.

Although innovation can be in and of itself a good thing, I would be hesitant to say that too much "new ground" be broken--so much of our culture worships youth and all things "new". At some point, a practice evolves to the point of being unrecognizable--at that time, the practice should be re-named and deemed a new path. Our family of religions are certainly flexible to accept another practice alongside the ones established. But we should still be allowed to hold those old ways if we so choose.

You Know, It's Funny. I Always Hear Witches And Wiccans Say, "i've... Dec 4th. at 9:14:48 am EST

Candle Ogham (Sacile, Italy) Age: 22 - Email

You know, it's funny. I always hear Witches and Wiccans say, "I've been on this path for a couple of years, but I've always been a Witch." I know that this is true with me. I still remember being a little Witch with my Ouija Board, tarot cards and out of body traveling. I remember getting points taken off papers at school b/c I refused to spell Earth with a lower case E ("But if we spell God with a big G, why not Earth?"). I think that we all get our calling early when we are still wide eyed and curious. I've been a self-dedicated Witch for just over 2 years now and have devoted my life to Wicca. I think that the ones who are looking for a way to get their boyfriends to fall in love with them quickly find a path more suited to them.

No religion can go without change. If Christianity never changed, we'd all be Puritan zealots. Wouldn't our ancestors laugh at the way we learn about our religion thru people we met online?

The old way works for some people, but those of us without access are screwed... should religion be like this? No it should not. And I am no less a Wiccan b/c of it. The information is already inside of us, we just have to remember what it was like when we still colored auras in crayon around stick figures of our parents.

The Old "traditions" Are By Their Very Name Established Religions/practices. I... Dec 4th. at 10:06:49 am EST

Nephteri (U.P. of Michigan, Michigan US) Age: 51 - Email

The old "Traditions" are by their very name established religions/practices.

I agree that the term "Pagan" is broad, and covers many philosophies. I have been Pagan for forty years, but have only been studying what others have to say about the subject for 10 months. That makes me a "newbie" in my own eyes.

How can being a newbie be "wrong"? Or elder be "right"? The "newbie" may just become that "elders" instructor. (If the elder is wise, s/he will see this possibility and embrace it). And as I suggest above, how does one classify newness? To some, -(warning: upcomming patronizing statement to make a point)- I've been Pagan longer than they've been alive, yet THEY are MY "elders", and I revere them as such.

Paganism has changed over the millenia. It will change in the future. Resisting change is futile-but I believe we CAN direct the change.

In Reality, Every Person Practices Their Belief System Differently, They See The... Dec 4th. at 10:15:29 am EST

Artemis Moonshadow (Kfar Saba Israel, Israel) Age: 15 - Email

In reality, every person practices their belief system differently, they see the Divine differently and does it make a difference, what does it matter what kind of rituals one does, or what shape they see the God(s/ess).

So what if so and so came about 5000 years ago, or 2000 or 60, it makes little difference.
And any way, when you think deeply about aren't we all part of each other and Nature and the Gods, who cares if you call your belief system this way and I call it that way.

But that's a perfect world, people do care, and people will be petty and say that how they do it is better than the way I do it.

I have two things to say to those people (please forgive the language) "Tough Shit"

Be Happy, Live Long, May the Force Be With You and Gods Bless.

Have a Merry Yuletide.

Older Isn't 'better' Just Different Than The New Generation Of Pagans. The... Dec 4th. at 10:21:02 am EST

Archer and Keelia (Woodbridge, Virginia US) Age: 32 - Email

Older isn't 'better' just different than the new generation of Pagans. The great thing about Paganism is that it is tolerant of other people and religions, isn't it? That was a big reason we chose this path to begin with. Religion evolves and changes just as people/times evolve and change. Christianity falls into this trap by following ancient scripture. By not evolving, the religion has become less relevent, and people are falling away from the church. Religion has to remain relevent or it will wither away. The Goddess and God and Magick are within each of us...we don't NEED to have a lineage or a scripture to practice what we believe and feel. These things actually serve to hinder or bind or limit the expression of our magickal selves. I have encountered the 'Old Guard' and feel that they have the right to their opinions; however, if these Traditionalists would be more open with newbies, then they may have more newbies following the old way and not breaking off to form the new generation. It's almost as if they are trying to increase their personal power over others instead of teaching and sharing the old ways. One of our favorite quotes from our mentor who is open and forthright with his teaching states, "Seek power with, not power over."

Does Older Equal Better? No! The Age Of A Religion, Belief, Idea... Dec 4th. at 10:57:20 am EST

Thomas Councell (North Platte, Nebraska US) Age: 37 - Email

Does older equal better? NO!

The age of a religion, belief, idea, tradition, by no means a mark of validation. If it was, then who sets the standard? It seems many seek to validate their beliefs, based upon (so called) old traditions, books, family practices, coven membership...etc. If you are seeking validation from other's, you're looking in the wrong place. Look in your own heart for those answers.

One Of The Greatest Problems Inherent With The 'establishment', Or 'old Guard... Dec 4th. at 11:16:45 am EST

Asmodeus (Frederick, Maryland US) Age: 26 - Email

One of the greatest problems inherent with the 'establishment', or 'old guard' in any religion, is forgetting that belief is something that comes from within. Belief is not real if it is force-fed to the masses by a small minority of stale old persons who have become so self centered and stagnant as to believe that they alone have the license on 'truth' and that anyone who does not follow their particular brand of the truth is labeled a 'heretic', 'non believer', or 'heathen'. A millennium and more of oppression from the stake burners, who incidentally followed the same philosophy, seems to have taught some of us nothing... Personally I think that anyone who has reached their belief through personal experience, and sought the guidance of those more experienced for the sake of guidance, not to get a neat pre-packaged and bar-coded shiny answer, is a true believer, regardless what conclusions their particular journey has taken them to, or wether or not they follow the 'establishment'.

I Find That When These Questions Are Discussed There Are A Number... Dec 4th. at 11:57:50 am EST

Tony (Tampa, Florida US) Age: 28 - Email

I find that when these questions are discussed there are a number of people who forget something that I find to be an integral part of my belief system, and that is probably a large part of the beliefs of any of us.

I may be a "newbie" because I've only been pursuing a pagan path for about two years -- or because I've not made much foray into the community. However, that doesn't mean that the experience or wisdom that I may have gained during the previous years when I was devoutly pursuing a Christian path is worth nothing. Additionally, what wisdom or knowledge might I be carrying forward from a former incarnation?

I find that the integration of all of one's experience is necessary to build a holistic belief system. It may be that those experiences are reinterpreted somewhat in light of the new realizations associated with arriving to a pagan path, but I believe it would be a mistake to completely deny the experiences and refuse to draw from them the lessons that they bear.

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