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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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.
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| Older Definately Doesn't Equal Better. Same As Older Doesn't Equate To More... ||Dec 10th. at 2:42:15 am EST|
|Lem (North Delta, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Older definately doesn't equal better. Same as older doesn't equate to more mature. Age is completely meaningless, except in the physiological sense. If you think of age as an uncurable condition/disease, then it starts to become a bit clearer.
Analogize it with studying for an exam or something. Two students both have to take the test, but one of them is told of the test the day before, and the other is told a week before. Just because one student knows about it longer, doesn't make him/her necessarily do better on the test. Granted, they have more potential time to study, but if the other student studies harder and better in his/her one day, s/he'll be a much better test-taker than the first student.
Same as in life and the Craft. I have been wiccan for almost two years now, which, yeah, isn't much. But stick with me for a second. In these two years, I've been very dedicated, but I haven't been studying a lot. So someone who performed a dedication ritual at last Ostara, for instance, could be waaaaaayyyyy more knowledgeable in most areas than me. Or maybe in all areas. I don't know.... this person was just a hypothetical person I made up. ^_^
Now, about the whole "when does revering the old way become resisting change" thing....
Personally, I believe that tradition is extremely important. In fact, I even worship Norse deities when I'm only about 1/14th Norse, simply because I feel a strong bond to the Norse deities. However you choose to worship your tradition is 100% fine with me, whether it be casting a circle and invoking their names, dancing naked under the full moon, or quiet meditation. As long as the same goal is being accomplished, it's totally okay. I don't resist change at all. I buck trends, cause chaos, and generally rub some people the wrong way. For example, every book I've read, every person I've talked to, every anonymous net surfer I've consulted, EVERYONE casts spells at least some of the time. I don't. All I do is pray. Some Pagans look at me strangely for not even performing a simple consecrating spell, but that's just how I am. I'm still revering the old Gods and Goddesses, just sans the spellcraft.
New generations of Pagans should be able to do whatever they please. They don't even have to be Pagan. They can be whatever they want to be. To force them to follow anything would be a bit too close to the seemingly omnipresent major world religion that everyone is always blaming for everything that's gone horribly wrong. But let's not get me started on that...
There's no doubt that the old traditions should survive. And there's no doubt that they ARE surviving, albeit probably quite a bit different than how they were originally practiced.
People, Pagan and non-Pagan alike, should just say "screw age discrimination, screw following tradition to the point of absurdity, and screw making those who come after use follow our examples!" Well, not in everything, but you get my point. ^_^
PS Please visit my website. It's actually pretty durned interesting and I promise you a good read. =) Ramblings
| Theory Without Practise Is Sterile; Practise Without Theory Is Blind. Lenin... ||Dec 10th. at 4:58:46 am EST|
|wolcen (St.Paul, Minnesota US) ||Age: 48 - Email |
Theory without practise is sterile; practise without theory is blind. Lenin.
| I Personally Do Not Feel That Older Necessarily Equals 'better'. I Have... ||Dec 10th. at 6:21:52 am EST|
|Allyria Melusine Wynd (York, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I personally do not feel that older necessarily equals 'better'. I have been brought up to respect my elders for what they are....
To me, age is not the deciphering factor to what is 'better'...it is how one conducts themselves and the knowledge they hold....
This subject is quite ironic as i have been bringing this up with our local group lately....
I speak from experience on this one...it seems alot of the pagan community that i have been running into locally around here seems to be under the impression that older DOES infact equal better. I have been met with quite alot of 'odd' feelings/statements..."Oh, she's only 23, she can't know that much.....or She doesn't really know what's going on, etc."
Again, i am a firm believer that it is the person and their attitude that decides what is 'better'....not "age"....
| Well... I Am New Myself. Does Older Equal Better..... What I Can... ||Dec 10th. at 10:40:05 am EST|
|Steve Winn (W. Babylon) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Well... I am new myself.
Does older equal better..... What I can tell you is that I look up to
the "old ways" and respect them. But I also feel that , As they say
" the times they are changing" It seems to me that the pagan path is
more excepted then in times past. This is why I feel that the Pagan
"newbie" will and need to brake new ground. But there needs to be a balance
with the old ways. I am sure that the old ways will not be lost.
So I what I am saying is we need the old and the new. (after all isn't
that happening anyway) But BALANCE is Key. As it always is.
| Everyone Had To Start Sometime. No Should Be Ashamed To Be New... ||Dec 10th. at 12:10:12 pm EST|
|Danae Dunning (Hobbs, New Mexico US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Everyone had to start sometime. No should be ashamed to be new to the path.(I'm a newbie myself, and I have found the few pagans I know in my towm to be most helpful.)
| What's Wrong With Being A Newcomer? I'm Not A Newcomer To The... ||Dec 10th. at 12:11:29 pm EST|
|Marcia J. Rawlyk (Forked River, New Jersey US) ||Age: 52 - Email |
What's wrong with being a newcomer? I'm not a newcomer to the earth, having lived here for over half a century. I am a newcomer to Paganism/Wicca although many of the concepts I've learned about are not new to me. I do resent people who look down on newcomers. Everyone was ignorant once. Shouldn't we try to share our knowledge instead of acting superior to those who know less? I do want to learn as much as I can about old traditions, but my belief system is a very personal thing. In the long run I would want to decide what is valuable to me and what isn't.
| We Take Ourselves Too Seriously. Things Change. Times Change. In The Face... ||Dec 10th. at 12:42:02 pm EST|
|Weaver (Norfolk, Virginia US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
We take ourselves too seriously. Things change. Times change. In the face of change, everyone becomes a "newbie". That is what some fear, I think. The loss of status or face in the face of change.
| I Feel That Whatever Path In Life You Choose To Walk, It... ||Dec 10th. at 12:59:43 pm EST|
|Barbara Bacon (Burnley, England UK) ||Age: 50 - Email |
I feel that whatever path in life you choose to walk, it should be about learning and knowledge, sharing the knowledge with whomsoever needs it, irrespective of age or gender. Not to share it would then be a negative action which would raise a question for me of the purpose that one would seek the knowledge in the first instance. I feel that Pagans should and do look at what is already there from the ancient ways, but from freedom of choice should then be free to go on to search and discover new and thought provoking ways to follow their path in life. Life is a learning curve, and the lessons do not end until life itself ends. Some will be happy to spend their time in the "school of life" content in knowing and learning about what is already in place, but others may wish to proceed to the " college of life" to seek and add to what is already known. I have been quite content at "school" and only find myself asking questions at my late age in life. I feel that this is also my choice and should not be questioned in relation to age. In respect of the "old guard who will guard the knowledge they have and not pass it on.I have found this to be a problem, if I am to be honest. Only so much knowledge can be gained from the written word, then the life experiences kick in as part of the further learning process. If they are not shared, how then can a person make an informed choice in the beliefs they may arrive at. Life is about sharing, be it knowledge or anything else, so if what knowledge the "ancients" left for us to explore and learn from is not passed on then we shall be left with "blinkered vision". I ask all that follow paths of the "ancients" to keep that thought when they find themselves questioned by a "novice", it is never to late or to early to offer a guiding hand. Blessings be to you and yours.
| In Responce To Steven Bragg's Responce To Me Opinion #1703 Let Me... ||Dec 10th. at 2:20:37 pm EST|
|Hunter (Peterborough, Ontario CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
In Responce to Steven Bragg's responce to me opinion #1703
Let me re-iterate my point by clarifing what I believe is stupid for lack of a better word: the argument over which is better new or old is nonsensical for what is now old was once new. The process of debate was not ment to be judged, I believe strongly that debate helps to shape our society for it intergrates new ideas with the old and as a result fosters an environmet that is far more reflective of the wants and needs of the society. I think it is important for everyone to have a voice and express their opinion, but there are greater debates with more importance then the one at present ie; which one of us has the right to call themselves Witch Wiccan or Pagan, those of the old ways or of the new ways. It is my opinion that this type of debte fosters no community and is counter productive thus if we want to strive for a stronger community social exceptance and a heathier environment we must turn our attention to the things that encourage us to unite not in debates that may result in alienation. We simply must excercise disgression in the debates that we engage in and my engagement was simply to point out that we should have greater concerns. I appologise if I offended you in any way please know that that was not my intent
| I Think That The Traditionalists And The New, Or Eclectic Wiccans Are... ||Dec 10th. at 2:21:54 pm EST|
|Gregory Nacu (Kingston, Ontario CA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I think that the Traditionalists and the New, or Eclectic Wiccans are Looking at this issue from Completely Different Sides. The Traditionalists have been Trained in a specific way of thought and practice. But they have also "proven" their devotion and their willingness to learn and challenge themselves through tests and degrees. They do not necessarily look down on Newbies because they are new. But because they doubt their sincerity. They question their reasons for becoming a wiccan. I am a solitaire. That means I don't have anyone looking over my shoulder. And I've been looking for a Traditionalist group that would be willing to teach/train me. But I MUST submit, that being eclectic, or solitary, is potentially MUCH easier than being a trained member, educated in traditional ways or a specific Coven. This does not mean that we should accept ill treatment from any traditionalist. However to me it makes sense. When I look around me, I see many people who call themself wiccan... "because it's Cool." Well 'Cool' is not a reason to be wiccan. Which is BETTER? who the hell knows?! but, There are a great many non initiated 'wiccans' who are not Even Wannabe's, Not even Seekers. they are rebels. And I disagree with following a religion out of rebellion. You should follow a religion out of faith and truth and Personal devotion. From a traditionalists point of view... Being an initiate is a way of demonstrating that you Are serious about what you are doing. To Extend this to say that ALL non-initiates are NOT serious is Just plain wrong, and bigotted. It's a sticky situation. But understand that if a traditionalist looks down on you... it's probably because they have had too many experiences with people not at all serious about the faith. And if you care to have them understand you.. get to know them.
| It Appears As If The Question And The Many Responses I Have... ||Dec 10th. at 2:56:21 pm EST|
|Elizabeth (Springfield, Missouri US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
It appears as if the question and the many responses I have read imply an either/or issue. If "newbies" don't follow in traditions path than that path will fall aside. Huh? The real reason for so many "newbies" cutting their own path is the sheer absence of sufficient group slots for the overwhelming numbers of seekers. Do we really believe that the percentages would be the same if every one interested could find a compatible teaching group right off? But they can't. If truly interested and not in it for the fad then they must most often seek info outside a group setting. Period.
Given that situation, they have no choice, they must break "new ground." Thank the ALL that they DON'T have to muddle through with little written guidance like the so-called old-guard. Thank the All that there are now web-sites as well as books to get actual personal feed-back to specific questions. Thank the All that there are on-line groups doing their best to answer the overwhelming crush of questions and ease the anxiety ridden newbies' fears. Even with all this the numbers are incredible and many feel left out and forced to make their own way when they do NOT want to be solitaire.
There is the twist in the question - how many "eclectic solitaires" would there really be if they had had an alternative from the get-go? But all this is neither here-nor-there. This IS the situation as it stands now - huge numbers of people and groups "making it up as they go along." How is that different from what the "old-guard" had to do back when? Did they not have to figure it out and plan it and write it and argue it out amongst themselves and find out what "felt right" to them then? And was not the formulae they came up with seriously influenced by how secure they felt in their community? How, then, are the new groups doing ANYTHING different? They, too, are greatly influenced by the level of security and comfort they have in the public eye as well as the greater pagan community. They, too, have access to the SAME book learning the "original" groups had plus a whole LOT more. They too have their own, personal life-experiences and formal educations and sheer instinct to guide them. They simply have a much greater pool of resources. AND they live in a completely different climate, both socially/culturally and technologically.
EVERY group - no matter how closely tied to the so-called "old" traditions - still find their own way and have their own flavor once they circle-out on their own. EVERY one who completes formal training and moves to a new area and starts their own group puts their own stamp on it. Is this disrepectful of their parent group? I hardly think so. It is the nature of growth. And let's face it people - we have had an incredible growth spurt.
Now we are in the teenage years of strife, self-righteousness, insecurity and awesome self-interest. Also that wonderful time of seeing the whole world full of possibility, of endless fascination and willingness to experiment and incredible committment. It is scary, teenagehood. In a little while we'll look back on this in disbelief. We, the greater pagan community, will be (hopefully) in young adulthood and have new-found respect for those old-traditions that suddenly seem reasonable and worthy. But we'll still be our own people and not clones. We will be the next generation and we will move on.
And in 20 years it will be US who will be whining that "the kids just don't have the respect for us they should!" LOL
| As A Solitary "newbe" It Took Me A Long Time To Accept... ||Dec 10th. at 3:07:46 pm EST|
|Linda Roden (Godfrey, Illinois US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
As a solitary "newbe" it took me a long time to accept being new. After a lot of soul searching and research it finally dawned on me that it's OK to be new. It's what is in my heart and not what someone else believes or thinks of me that leads me down this path. Everyone was new at one time and without new the old dies away.
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