Your browser does not support script

Pagan Perspectives

Weekly Question

Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

Views: [32,767]
Responses: [2,666]

The Rules
Note: The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

For Further
Visit The

WitchVox List
of 242
'Net Sites:

Chat Boards
Email Lists
IRC Channels

Past Questions
112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

111. So, You’re Dead. Now What? - [59]

110. What’s Your Favorite Element? - [119]

109. The Broom Closet Revisited: What’s Your Current Occupancy Rate? - [129]

108. Do You Speak Pagan Geek? - [38]

107. Would You Be A Good ‘Reality Show’ Contestant? - [49]

106. What Is Your Inner Animal? - [127]

105. Are Pagans TOO Individualistic? - [56]

104. Have You Changed Your Mind About the War in Iraq? - [258]

103. What Are You Reading? - [95]

102. Do Interfaith Conferences/ Discussions Work? - [29]

101. Have You Made Any Extra Security Preparations? - [85]

100. Why Are You A Pagan or Heathen? - [142]

99. What Moon Phase Are You In? - [70]

98. Would You Live In A Haunted House? - [166]

97. What Natural Objects Are On Your Altar? - [103]

96. If You Were Granted Three Wishes... - [179]

95. How Do You Feel About War? - [153]

94. Who Would Make Your Pagan/Heathen Who’s Who List? - [91]

93. Should Pagans Apply For Federal Funds? - [56]

92. What Do You See in 2003? - [47]

90. Which Christmas Ghost Would You Like To Be? - [82]

89. Bah-Humbug! Are You Offended by Christmas? - [173]

88. Are We Alone in The Universe? - [67]

87. The Pagan Web 2002... Your likes? Dislikes? - [50]

86. How’s Your Gratitude Attitude? - [64]

85. What’s Your Motivation? - [97]

84. Between the Veils: What Did You See? - [80]

83. Time to Talk Politics and Elections… - [109]

82. Your Samhain/Beltaine Musings - [50]

81. ExCUSE Me! Has Common Courtesy Become A Thing of the Past? - [97]

80. Polytheist, Monotheist, Dualist or Other? - [104]

79. Have You Switched Pagan Paths? - [110]

78. Would You Take Part in a Public Event or Protest AS a Pagan? - [268]

77. Pot-Kettle: Do We Have Our Own Fundamentalists? - [91]

76. America 911: One Year Later. What's Changed? Are we Safer? - [103]

75. So What Do YOU Think of the Pagan Web? - [43]

74. What is/was your 2002 New Year's resolution - [23]

73. Do You Believe in Faeries? - [44]

72. Is 'Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men' Possible? - [28]

71. How Do YOU View the Balance of Light and Dark? - [22]

70. What's News? - [22]

69. What Are Your Favorite Yule Traditions or Memories? - [17]

68. Are You Wild About Harry? - [80]

67. What Is Music? - [18]

66. What Did You Do this Samhain? - [8]

65. What ARE the most "Frequently Asked Questions' About Witches? - [31]

64. What Are YOUR book/video/dvd Recommendations? - [119]

63. Have You Done Any Protection Spells or Workings? - [38]

62. What Are Your Thoughts On The Current "War on Terrorism"? - [77]

61. Are You Willing To Give Up Some Civil Liberties To Be Safe? - [69]

60. What About Those Pagan Leaders Again? - [289]

59. 911 America: Talking Through The Terror... - [969]

58. What Are Your Plans For Fall? - [21]

57. If You Were Stranded Alone On A Deserted Island... - [56]

56. What Would You Like to See at The Voice? - [65]

55. What Lies Beyond? - [28]

54. What is the connection between Spirit, Nature and Humankind? - [18]

53. What is 'Will' or 'Willpower'? - [19]

52. Have you ever been to a Pagan Festival? - [26]

51. What Did You Think of 'The Mists of Avalon"? - [44]

50. What's Your Magickal Focus? - [33]

49. Ending Religious Discrimination-What's It Gonna Take? - [41]

48. How Fares The First Amendment? - [20]

47. Are you a Talker or a Listener? - [14]

46. Predator and Prey - What Beasts Live Within You? - [44]

45. Who Do You Trust? - [22]

44. Do You Spend Money with Pagan Merchants? - [24]

43. What's On Your Balloon? - [52]

42. Is There An Energy Crisis? - [30]

41. What Makes You So Special? - [33]

40. What is Your Guilty Little Secret? - [101]

39. Who Are Your Gods? - [55]

38. What Are The Greatest Challenges That Pagans Face Today? - [35]

37. What's On Your Altar? - [45]

36. Should the United States Apologize to China - [32]

35. Pagan Web Surfing Likes/Dislike - [60]

34. What Are Your Views on Abortion, Euthanasia and Suicide? - [95]

33. What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred? - [108]

32. Why Are Kids Killing Kids? - [60]

31. Whassa Matter With Kids Today? - [71]

30. What Do You Support and Why Do You Support It? - [21]

29. How About Some New Holidays? - [39]

28. Where Did You Get Your Magickal Name? - [93]

27. Where Are The Pagan Social Programs? Do We Care? - [22]

26. What Do You Think About Bush's 'Faith-Based' Initiative Plan? - [87]

25. What Are The Boundaries? - [26]

24. What is Pagan History and What is Pagan Belief? - [44]

23. Who or What is a "Pagan Leader"? - [61]

22. What More Do You Want To Know About Paganism? - [45]

21. What is/was your New Year's resolution? - [19]

19. What do YOU of our newest entry into the Presidential Political Pool? - [61]

20. What have YOU done to trace your family history? - [11]

18. Your Gift, Craft and Holiday Celebration Ideas! - [43]

17. Does Older Equal Better? - [199]

16. What is the best gift that you ever received? - [28]

15. What are YOU Thankful For? - [87]

14. The Unresolved US Election - [263]

13. Divination - [29]

12. Pagan Choice for the y2k US Election - [129]

11. Hollywood Hype - [74]

10. Money and the Craft - [82]

9. Pagan Jokes and Humorous Stories - [37]

8. Misconceptions About Witches, Wiccans and Pagans - [63]

7. The Ethics of Magick and Spellwork - [43]

6. What are YOU planning for Mabon-Autumn Equinox? - [14]

5. Pagan books/web sites-dynamic or drivel? - [46]

4. The Broomcloset-In or Out?... What's YOUR View? - [181]

3. Church and State, Religion in School... What is YOUR View? - [122]

2. How Do You Define Witch/WitchCraft? - [42]

1. Who are you going to vote for and why? - [233]

 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,043,575  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 74

Lurker/Post Ratio: 442 to 1

Question of the Week: 112 - 5/28/2003

Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them?

From The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

elder : 1. an older person, especially one with a respected position in society; 2. an official of a religious group.

What is your definition of an Elder? Do we need Elders? Do we want Elders? What would be the role of an Elder in the Pagan/Heathen communities?

Who decides who is an Elder? Can someone simply declare him/herself an Elder? Do you discern a difference between ‘someone with a respected position in society’ and ‘an official of a religious group’? Can a solitary practitioner – who is not an ‘official’ of a recognized group, but nevertheless provides something of value to Paganism/Heathenism -- be considered an Elder?

Is age a factor? Wisdom? Proven track record? Who do you consider to be an Elder?

 Reponses:   There are 74 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Are Elders Needed? Yes!!! Do We Not Need Teachers???? May 28th. at 10:41:32 pm EDT

Travis (Virginia) Age: 16 - Email

My opinion on this question what are "elders" and do we need them is this... An elder is one who has risen to a position of knowledge and authority through much study and personal expierience. In Wiccan tradition and in pagan tradition in general it is necessary to have "Elders" they serve as our teachers, the ones that pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Also they serve as leaders. It is good that we are independent and rely on the self but it is very necessary to have some order. I believe good leaders and teachers are going to be important to the furthering of the Pagan community in general. I'm only 16 but i'm not stupid, i respect those who are older and i believe that as Pagans we need to respect those older than us and wiser than us. Somebody had to teach us our ways, the books didn't write themselves and the lessons we learn didn't just happen by our own creation. Well then, i think i've rambled enough. Thanks for reading my opinion on "Should we have elders?"

Elders May 29th. at 4:00:35 am EDT

Sunflower (Calgary, AB) Age: 41 - Email

Ru Mortheus covered a lot of it well and saved me some words; thank you, Ru.
Eldership doesn't come from chronological age - I've known elders as young as mid-teens, and people in their 50's who couldn't have provided eldership to a pet rock.
Eldership doesn't come from age in Craft - just because you've been hanging around casting circles for 40 years doesn't convey it automatically.
Elders are NEVER self-appointed. Oh, they may intentionally place themselves in that position, but it's subject to acceptance or rejection by the community they're in. If you want to be an elder, it isn't enough to say you are, you must BE one - and that's hard work.
I've known people who wanted the respect and status of being an elder. Very few of them got it. Why? Too busy thinking about how gratifying it'd be to be looked up to that way.
Meanwhile, those who weren't thinking of eldership at all, but simply making sure other seekers didn't lack support in their quests (as, very often, the one offering that support had lacked) , find themselves looked up to. Often, these ones will say, "Oh, I don't think I'm an elder. I just do this."
An elder is one who shares freely of their own experience, with those less experienced - and does so in such a way that the less-experienced one is allowed to grow, and gain experience of hir own. If you are stingy with what you share, or if you share it by doing everything for the seeker instead of helping them learn to do it for themselves, you may have elder status at first but you will lose it. Here's where the very young elders come in; they may not have a lot of experience and knowledge, but if what they have is sound, and they give freely of it, they'll be elders.

Like Ru, I could say more, but won't.


Elder=Doer May 29th. at 5:55:16 am EDT

Wolf's Voice (Singapore) Age: 28 - Email

In my opinion, an elder is a person who actually does what he or she says/advocates. To me, an elder is never a person who craves attention or the limelight: he or she works diligently, behind the scenes.

I also agree that real elders are not (and should not be) self-appointed. One thing about the pagan/heathen communities is that there are a lot of self-appointed elders running around, claiming to be gurus or 'know-it-alls'.

Lastly, an elder leads by example. By integrity.

Wolf's Voice

Kicking And Screaming. May 29th. at 12:19:20 pm EDT

Duck (CA-USA) Age: 41 - Email

I think we're pretty much in agreement on this. Elders are NEEDED, but what QUALIFIES them is a matter of SERVICE, without desire for recognition. They do it for the LOVE of their Faith and Craft. If any of you are wondering about that heading, it's simple. Most "Elders" will fight the title in that manner. *wink* A wise man I know once said: "If anyone tells you 'I know it all', RUN. That person is 'fibbing'. If you must give me some form of title, think of me more as an older sibling, shareing with you some of what I learned at school today. Life never stops teaching you new things. All you need to do is be willing to learn."

Beware Of Self-proclaimed "Elders"!!! May 29th. at 2:07:20 pm EDT

Waterfae (Berks County, PA) Age: 32 - Email

We recently had this discussion in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to. Someone was whining about the disrespect she received from some younger Witches when she gave them advice (not asked for) while claiming to be an Elder. To me, an Elder is someone that has earned that title but doesn't use it. Someone that will quietly sit to the side of a discussion & only speak up when they have something important to say or wisdom to offer. It's not a question of age, or even how long they have been following their particular path. But it's a question of their heart. Do they really respect those that come to them for advice, or do they say what they think is the right way & insist it's the only way? Do they actually listen when someone comes to them with a problem that they cannot discuss with anyone else? That to me is what an Elder is. And yes, I think society as a whole needs true Elders.

Respect Your Elders!!! May 29th. at 2:30:04 pm EDT

Silver Raven (Nottingham, England) Age: 21 - Email

"Elders" to me are anyone older than myself. I therefore respect and behave respectfully towards anyone older than myself, unless they prove themselves through their actions to be unworthy of that respect.

As for needing/wanting "Elders" - everyone needs someone to learn from, even if it's only a parent or good friend. I believe it possible to learn almost any knowledge through meditation, as the knowledge is out there for us to gain. However, and this is particularly true of practical activities, it is so much better to have someone to show you new things. Scientists proved years ago that we humans learn by example, something you can't truly experience through meditation. Watching mum bake a cake or helping your best friend decorate their new home is a more immediate and therefore effective method of learning.

As for "Elders" as a figure in charge of a group, well, that just comes down to a natural human desire for everything to be organised. As a solitary, it is possible to be your own "Elder", as you have to organise yourself! Everyone has this same potential - everyone can teach things to others, while learning valuable new lessons from those they consider students. The saying "you learn something new every day" could never be more true! I think what is important is to realise your own abilities, but also your shortcomings and ask for help from those you think can help - in return you will probably teach them something! Never underestimate the knowledge of others - a child can teach you many valuable lessons. Children aren't considered as "Elders", yet many have knowledge and often wisdom beyond their years.

Teacher / Mentor May 29th. at 3:57:41 pm EDT

Mothrae (Pennsy USA) Age: 38 - Email

So many good responses that I don't wish to repeat them.

To me, an Elder is a teacher, a mentor, someone who knows more than I do and can ask them for help, advice, or whatever else I am looking for.

An Elder has to earn that title. It shouldn't be automatic. How we give out that title would be cause for debate I'm sure, but it should not be self-proclaimed by any means any more than someone can appoint him or herself HP or HPP.

I agree that an Elder should be someone who is humble and not the Voice Of All, someone who has earned that position by deeds and not public relations or politics.


Elders May 29th. at 4:53:52 pm EDT

wolfstar (omahole ne) Age: 50 - Email

I think that it would take a number of factors for one to be considered an elder. age being only one, many are wise beyoud their years, though this is rare. I consider myself an elder, I do have official position in a pagan group.
elder is one of the stages of life, just like maiden and mother. I wonder if this question is about ideals or real people in real communities. I question whether the responses will be relevant to be applied to communities in general.
I have found in my experience that many young people coming into the craft , paganism or what have you do not want to be told what to do. they are escaping from their controlling channel z situation as it is. this is understandable. I had always thought the role of an elder was to teach with an open mind and heart, and to keep history.

Uuummmm................Respect Your Elders?!?!?! May 29th. at 6:31:29 pm EDT

Renee (port charlotte, florida) Age: 19 - Email

ok people .... i truly feel that "elders" are some what importatnt but yet somewhat worthless.....let me explain!

ok first off .. elders are important because they know alot of important things about life and how people of the world can or can not be! they've been through almost everything that were about to go through in our lives!

but on the other hand .... elders are also behind the time a bit and can be very closed minded and bitter..... like me for instance .... im 19years old .... my G-Ma ( i call her Nanny) is almost 70years old ..... thats a huge difference ....... shes a christian and im Wiccan ...... shes straight and im Bi-sexual....... i mean times have changed and my nanny is still the same as when she was my age ..... she dosent get the way things are today ..... and wont except it eathier !!

:::: takes a deep breath :::::

well kiddies!
thats all im gonna say about that!
Love You All!
Blessed Be!

A Place For Everyone May 29th. at 7:16:26 pm EDT

Mistress Morrigan the Raven (North Carolina, USA) Age: 30 - Email

The greatest factor that drew me to paganism and keeps me here, has been the honor that is given to all ages (in most forums and groups) . In the group I work with and teach for, each stage of youth/parent/elder, has it's own facets of service and gifts to offer. Young people offer strength and energy - they literally put their backs into the work of the community. Mothers/fathers nurture and guide the group - still young enough to participate, but old enough to offer some loving guidance. Elders offer wisdom and patience and guidance that comes from experience. An appreciation for and love of all peoples is what brings an undescribable beauty to the pagan/wiccan community. I do realize that many groups/individuals don't honor all peoples, but when it does's grand.

Blessings, love and honor, to the beauty in all.

Merry Meet To All May 29th. at 8:54:46 pm EDT

Freya (Raleigh, NC) Age: 28 - Email

I believe in the principle of the Elder for personal growth but believe it comes in many forms. I myself have not "studied" with in a formal way but have come across what I would call many wise spirits on the spirit path. This is far more important to me, i.e., one who is on a life affirming, healing path, than a formal Elder, who as a matter of fact I have yet to feel any affiliation with. I find so many beautiful, wise women and men of all ages and spiritual paths (not just Wiccan) . Speaking as a solitary, I find this part of my path right now still in it's smorgasbord stage if you will, and I am blessed with the insight I have gained from many an inspiring teacher. I am always grateful for some kernal of truth to nourish my soul that I have found in the people I have met so far. I can only hope I meet more.
*Blessed Be*

I Have No Title May 29th. at 11:31:23 pm EDT

Morrighan (A surreal existential social embryo) Age: 25 - Email

Well, in the question, "elder" is pretty much defined. I think within the framework of this, I'll consider "elder" to be the second definition. In that sense: What is? Who is? Why?
I'm a solitare, and I'm also a cynic. I don't give a lot of hoop-la to people unless they deserve it. An elder is someone who deserves credit and has served for...oh....a long time. I wouldn't consider someone my age or within ten to fifteen years of me an elder.
I don't even consider many of the prolific Pagan writers to be elders, and I'll tell you why. This spiritual path derives part of it's uniqeness from it's liberty. The late great Scott Cunningham wrote books on how to be you're own personal practitioner because it is necessary in our society. Human beings have a tendency to elitism and most of it is self appointed.
I don't give a flip about what other people think about what I do. I respect opinions, but they are, after all, like armpits. Too many people come to these forums, questionaires, and to groups and such to boast of their great powers, accomplishments, experiences, etc. However, it's all relative.
I'll tie all of that in by saying: It's your reality, you do what you want with it, as long as it doesn't infringe on someone else's reality. When you start tellig other people how to do something, how to think, or how to behave, you start running into problems with individuality, personal preference, and what not.
I don't need someone connecting me with the divine. I don't need someone telling me how to run a ritual. If I want to put my wands in the north, for instance, that's my perogative. Why? Because it's all about symbols and how we interpret them. Nobody can tell you how to interpret something (stop signs and other traffic commodities excluded) .
In essence, I don't think that elders are useless. Some people need them. However, don't expect me to bow down and kiss bootie to someone just because they've done a spell or two or they've been innitiated in the Super Coven. It's not going to happen.
Also, I just want to remind people, though I'm a hypocrit for doing it, we're not supposed to post on other people's posts. Keep your comments about what others say to yourself. It's a place of free expression. If you're offended, I'm offended. Where does that get us?

 1    2    3    4    5    6  

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2018 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.