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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: 20,984,508  

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Reponses: 199

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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. Reverse Sort 

I Still Remember What Charles Darwin Once Said, "they Might Be Giants... Dec 5th. at 3:23:12 pm EST

Tanais (Spokane, Washington US) Age: 20

I still remember what Charles Darwin once said, "They might be giants and us pigmies, but we stand on the shoulders of giants and see farther then they ever could." I think it can apply to spiritual growth. We choose to stand on the shoulders of our ancestry and their religion and then develop beyond that starting point. That's why experience is so important because life had taught lessons over time which might be lost on the young. Should the next wave of pagans follow in the footsteps of the older? I believe it should be a starting point. Know the basics and then expand beyond that with a balance of the old and new traditions.

What Is Completely Necessary Is That Pagans Walk Along The Path That... Dec 5th. at 3:37:14 pm EST

Dragon Li-Hagetaka Yung (North Plainfield, New Jersey US) Age: 25 - Email

What is completely necessary is that pagans walk along the path that is best for them, be it of old ways or new. My Graxean path follows the ancient ways of those around the world, but is open enough to blend the new ways of doing things (like sticking a radio in the circle for music instead of playing my own.) Tradition has it many good things; being modern has it's many good points too. The important part is to take the good from whatever feels the best and use it to your advantage. Sticking to tradition, even if uncomfortable, just for tradition's sake will help no one. One can't raise the proper energy if uncomfortable. Many strike down my path because I go about it this way instead of following Traditional ways, but it is their loss, not mine. "To each their own" is as true as it was when it was first uttered.

I Am A Solitary Eclectic Wiccan And Wouldn't Have Learned Wicca Any... Dec 5th. at 3:47:43 pm EST

Brightwind (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 22 - Email

I am a solitary eclectic Wiccan and wouldn't have learned Wicca any other way. It allowed me to form my own belief structure. However if it weren't for the older traditions we wouldn't have any basis for a religion. I respect the people that came before. If it weren't for them Wicca wouldn't be the way it is now. We should all respect each others beliefs reguardless of age or amount of training. We don't want to become as some Christians have today. The best part of Wicca for me is the lack of dogma. I do what feels right for me. That's how it should be for everyone reguardless. Blessed Be.

In Any Community Or Ecology There Is Usually A Gulf Between The... Dec 5th. at 3:52:12 pm EST

Amerist A'Toll (Tempe, Arizona US) Age: 0 - Email

In any community or ecology there is usually a gulf between the old and the young. While certainly a village needs its elders it cannot survive without the young. The term "new blood" does often come along with a certain excitement that perhaps something may bring what is needed to revitalize something that is beginning to stagnate from old age.

There is nothing about being old that makes it overall "better" than being young (or in this case a new seeker.)

In my culture (the Crystalian A'Toll Clan) we design all of our fundamental premices around a wedding of the old and the new. "The fire and brash dreams of the new must be tempered with the aged wisdom of the old." A new flame may fare up out of control and shine brightly, but ultimately burns itself out in its exuberance if it is not guided; the old slowly becomes stagnate and fades away if there is nothing to give it the spark of life that once burgened it to the state it is now.

I say that it is foolish to discount the new, that in time it shall become the experienced and the known and the wise. However, to reach that end it must have gone through its entire life-cycle of being newborn, following it's wonderful dreams, and then finally finding it's niche in which to roost. An elder with no childhood would have no sense of world; all children have their own chance to become elders in time. There is no reason to hasten it.

A living Tradition is one that changes, certain of the old ways will find themselves covered in dust as the new come to danse in their places, but also time is a cycle and often those Old Ways that were truely enightened will be taken up again by the young and will life and danse again.

The old are not threatened by the young; the young are not trapped by the old.

Amerist A'Toll, Amethyst Magist of the Crystalian Clan A'Toll

In My Opinion, Paganism Should Be An Individual Path - The Follower Creates... Dec 5th. at 4:04:46 pm EST

Briana Summerhawk (Stevens Point, Wisconsin US) Age: 33 - Email

In my opinion, paganism should be an individual path - the follower creates or adopts a system of beliefs/rituals/laws that is best for them - otherwise wicca/witchcraft/paganism is no different from other religions. Someone is always breaking away from prescribed ways in all religions and making their religion more personal, more meaningful. Because someone is new to paganism does not mean they have less to offer to themselves, to others, to the Earth or to the gods. Because someone has been practising for years does not make them superior. If your religion is personal, legitimacy can only come from within - and within is what ultimately counts the most. If one is satisfied and confident in their beliefs and lifestyle, why should they be judged according to what someone else believes?? And who can truly say what is wrong, right, good or bad? For the record, I am solitary and highly eclectic, having consciously practised from a pagan point-of-view for about 4 years now (though I realize that my paganistic beliefs have been with me all my life) I am so very, very happy and content with my ways - they work for me. If I had to conform to "old ways" of doing things, I would find less meaning and effect in my religion.

Does Older Equal Better?a Very Thought Provoking Question. I'm Pretty New.i... Dec 5th. at 4:25:13 pm EST

Rain BrightStar (Moore, Oklahoma US) Age: 40 - Email

Does Older equal better?A very thought provoking question.
I'm pretty new.I did my dedication around Beltaine 99, initiation
Beltaine 200.So I consider myself a witch now, albeit a newly
practicing one.I am self-initiated, and since I've never been in a coven,
I've had to learn from Books and websites such as this.As a result I'm
very electic.I think the "Old Guard" has much to teach us.I would love
to learn personally from a much more experienced Witch, a Coven would
be great.But until then, I learn on my own and it has been a wonderful
beautiful experience.I'm sure some who follow and "Old Way" are a bit resistant
to change, but that is how it should be.They lit the flame for all of us to follow, and I, for one, salute them.
Peace and Love
Rain BrightStar

I Think I'm Unclear On The Concept Of "old" Vs. "new" With... Dec 5th. at 5:19:00 pm EST

Willow Badgerdance (Austin, Texas US) Age: 34

I think I'm unclear on the concept of "old" vs. "new" with regard to paganism. Maybe it's because I'm not Wiccan and don't really follow any written tradition. I did not convert to paganism from any other religion - I was brought up in a non-religious household and was never baptised. The spiritual beliefs I hold now have been with me since childhood, born of experience and intuition. It was only in my late 20's that I discovered there was such a thing as a pagan "movement", for lack of a better word. It was then that I began to learn about the Goddess concept and to explore whether it felt right for me. Was I a newbie at that point? I honestly don't know.

What In The Name Of The Elements And All Things Noble Makes... Dec 5th. at 5:33:29 pm EST

Erin (HB , California US) Age: 17 - Email

What in the name of the elements and all things noble makes you ask such a stereo typical question?! Where age may mean years of expeirence, youth isn't stupidity, either. i am 17 and just out of novice hood and have a friend who is 35, and quite the novice herself! However, my fave witch of them all, is well in his 50's and quite strong in his power. so what does that mean to anyone. age is irrelevent. my husband to be is younger then me, and my best friend is 80!! However, the question regarding the old ways vs. new age, i would have to say it lies in the witch him/herself. i embrace the old ways, because i think our elders of then were quite impressive. However, new age has come to my alter frequently enough to say it really doen't matter much.

Moreover, I think that maybe a spell is a spell is a spell, requardless of age, and a witch is a witch is a witch, as to the level of power, age has no foothold. i hope to be a very powerfull sorceress, however, i know it will take time, and i embrace that. I know how age can be involved in time, but you are only as old as you feel.

Merry blessing, and wisdom, love embrace you all,
Witch Of Center Being, Erin.

I Think That We All Need To Find Our Way. But We... Dec 5th. at 5:42:39 pm EST

Daniel Standley (coffs harbour, South Australia AU) Age: 20 - Email

I think that we all need to find our way. But we need to be careful not reinvent Wicca/witchcraft as it would soon disapper. I guess what i am trying to say is follow wicca the way you feel is right. But don't change too much.

Blessed Be

Well, As A New Practitioner ( I Know I Spelled That Wrong) I'd... Dec 5th. at 6:03:24 pm EST

Merrie Melody (Bluffton, Ohio US) Age: 15 - Email

Well, as a new practitioner ( I know I spelled that wrong) I'd say that my religion and thoughts are just as valid as the traditionalist and in some ways, more suited to what I need. About the "newbie" thing, I would like anyone who has ever said that to remember that they too were once in that situation, and if someone had disvalued their ideas, then think how they would have reacted. I do think, however, that the old(er) trads should be kept alive and that even if you're not going to join that particular coven/tradition, you should at least at one point in your life study with other people. Not only will you get feedback on your ideas, you'll get to evaluate other's ideas and hear them as well, benefiting all others. I would use an anaolgy to explain what I mean...
You learn from your parents basic things. How to talk, walk, ect, but at a point you'd be able to survive on your own (fairly early) but you would have to learn from a multitude of mistakes that could cost you your life and wouldn't be able to interact with other people as well as you could now. It's like that with older and newer trads and practioners, the newer could survive on their own as we are now, but we would loose what other people have already come up with, making it a difficult learning process to re-learn what it's taken meleniums to learn and centuries to re-learn.

Tee Hee--a Loaded Question. Are You Referring To "older" As Gardnerian... Dec 5th. at 6:32:50 pm EST

Lynne-Renee (rural St. Louis area, Missouri US) Age: 29 - Email

TEE HEE--a loaded question. Are you referring to "older" as Gardnerian? I hate to show my ignorance so well but I suppose "wicca" doesn't really get any older than that. Now if you mean follow the "Old Ways" that's different. I belong to the FOI but that's it for organizations. I was taught a lot of folk magick and was raised in a house that prayed to divinty and beings from Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddism and Mother Nature (now I call Her the Goddess). Did I mention the winds? My family has been in the broom closet ever since REGULAR people made their own brooms. Does this mean I know more? Heck no! Shucks, I know enough to rely on my intuition most of all--that's what the main lesson was (from people I knew born in the 1800's). Of course, some up and died before being able to teach me the intricacies and left me a very curious, open, little girl.

I have no interest in being in a coven after seeing the others I'd be "new" with. That sounds worse than I mean. It's because I CANNOT get worked up and excited about most of what I'm at least acquainted with let alone the whole "club/clique" atmosphere. Talk about a test.

Having said that: I think following dogma laid out before you is an excellent idea for real beginners/curious folk and also for trying something different (traditions). Also, if you are going to say you are "wiccan, " you had better have done all the studies and at least be under the tutilage of a HP/S. I am not wiccan per se. I am currently studying; I wanted to see the differences and learn new ways that perhaps I've never encountered to aide my spiritual life. Wicca completely (so far) goes along with the ideals of my upbringing.

Better? I haven't yet (studying Wicca proper) experienced anything stronger or with more grace than I did since I was a small child. However, I am technically a newbie even after almost 30 years of real life-family spirituality.

Who knows?

If They Are Well Trained I Don't Care If They Come From... Dec 5th. at 7:22:02 pm EST

Rose Welsh (Cedar City, Utah US) Age: 32

IF THEY ARE WELL TRAINED I don't care if they come from the Santeria-Starhawk-Elvis trad or straight from Reclaiming. The problem we have is the same problem a lot of Christian denominations have that are a religion of clergy: poorly trained clergy that go out thinkin' they know what they are doing and screw up royally. These people give us bad press by doing stupid things; they mess up their trainee's heads because they don't know anything about counceling (and we have our share of screwed up seekers!); they hold rituals that couldn't keep a guy on speed awake; and they don't have a clue how to teach magick or spirituality without bringing their ego into it.

My two cents.

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