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: 20,398,494  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

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 

I've Been A Witch For The Past 7 Years, The Past 6... Dec 6th. at 10:48:12 am EST

Catherine Houghton (Newcastle Upon tyne, England UK) Age: 20 - Email

I've been a witch for the past 7 years, the past 6 of these have been solitaire but I've recently formed a coven with 3 more university students, one of them being fam trad. Although I'm only 20 years old, I find myself being the oldest in the coven and jokingly being called 'the crone'. I am by no means 'Old Guard' nor a newbie and I believe that the Craft is a learning process that spans lifetimes.I also believe that everything has a place in the craft too, after all, where would the Knowledgeable Old guard with their traditions be without the inovations that the newbies bring to the craft??? The craft would be stagnant. I have come across much disrespect towards the old guard from young witches, sometimes as a result of the treatment that they have received from the Older witches. Young witches need to respect the elders for their knowledge and experience, however, older witches (not all of them) need to think about ways to guide the young people of the craft. It is their duty. Simply telling them to go away, ignoring them or threatening to curse them as happened to me about 4 years ago isn't going to work.

This is something that we are going to have to address as a community.

We need to find a balance between the Old and the Young.

Maybe we should see it as a challenge that the Great Mother herself has set for us????? If we don't, the craft will remain divided and therefore weak against political opponents

Greetings To All & Merry Meet, Now To My Opinion.... Well There Is... Dec 6th. at 11:13:44 am EST




An Amendment To My First Response #1575. Some Say That Older Is... Dec 6th. at 11:39:37 am EST

Steven Bragg (MSU, Mississippi US) Age: 24 - Email

An amendment to my first response #1575.

Some say that older is better in terms of wisdom and experience. I don't think that's necessarily true.

I'd like to point out the common logical fallacy in thinking that the older something is the more wisdom it has. Wisdom is simply knowledge of what is true or right. Knowledge can come from logical reasoning and can be done by someone very young. Children sometimes see wisdom that "grown-ups" cannot.

So, if older doesn't equal better in terms of wisdom, does it equal better in terms of experience? Not necessarily. Experience is simply wisdom gained through doing. As I said above, wisdom can be held by the young. One can gain the same wisdom through logical reasoning as someone else has gained through experience. I always use the saying "We learn from our mistakes, but if we're really smart, we'll learn from other people's mistakes." One doesn't have to experience something in order to have the wisdom from it. If that were the case, then what's the point of school? Why don't we just all go out and reinvent the wheel thousands of times a day?

But someone may say, "but what about experience that involves an emotional aspect? Surely someone who hasn't gone through what I've gone through can understand the emotional component to it." This may be true, but emotions are highly individualistic. Who's to say what you've done in the situation is right? What is right? And why should I do the same thing? I'm a different person in a different situation. Emotional experience cannot be transferred, and therefore is not better than someone's lack of emotional experience. One can give advice, we all do, but in the end an emotional decision must be made alone if it is to be a significant one to that person.

All that is said of older people with wisdom and experience being superior to those younger and less experienced I reject. I do not respect someone simply because that person is older. I take into account what that person says and judge for myself the validity or invalidity of that advice or statement. We are all equals, young and old, but we can all think for ourselves, and we are all equal in the eyes of the Gods.

What Is Older? To Me, "older" Is A Positive State Of Mind... Dec 6th. at 12:07:03 pm EST

Sarah (Elmira, New York US) Age: 27 - Email

What is older?
To me, "older" is a positive state of mind, as opposed to a physical aging, or marker along a path. When you describe someone as "older, " it conjures up an image of someone who has helpful experience (sometimes it is the quality of the experience, not quanity that matters) and wisdom. This can occur at any age, at any point along a religious path.

I know of many who has taken the title of "elder" by virtrue of their age, but lack wisdom or depth of soul. They are not truely "old, " nor do they deserve the title that they adopted. A "newbie learner" can posses a great amount of wisdom and an inherient ability to learn, which makes them for "older" then then the "elder."

Should newbies even care?
People who are truly "elders" show be listened to and learned from by all new Pagans. They do have a lot of knowledge to impart, knowledge that can lay the framework for any workings done in the future. As someone moves along their religious path, they may find themselves taking teachings from all elders they
have met, and weave them all into their own tradition.

Does it mean resistance to change?
It goes back to what I define as "older." I think that wisdom brings with the ability to have an open mind. Sometimes change can be beneficial, and an elder must recongize that. If they want to reject change in the name of "protecting a tradition, " they must stop and think. Sometimes, the reason to why some things are done are lost in time. People stick to it out of habit and a sense of duty. Perhaps something can be changed to allow for meaning and depth to the act. Conversly, all change should not be embraced wholeheartadly. Such an attitude means a lost of consistancy and possibly, a loss of value.

Traditions can survive some change. I highly doubt any pagan path that is followed is exactly as it was founded. If a tradition is a healthy one, one that indeed, leads to spirtual growth and health to its followers, then it has nothing to fear of change. It is only when people are dissatsified with a tradition, that it fails to provide what people are seeking, will change be destructive to that tradition.

Sorry to rant so much. I have been thinking about this a lot since some problems I have experienced

Of Course Older Isn't Better In And Of Itself. I've Been Doing... Dec 6th. at 12:44:42 pm EST

Catherine Harper (Woodinville, Washington US) Age: 27 - Email

Of course older isn't better in and of itself.

I've been doing this for a while now (how long kind of depends on what you count -- started studying with a group 14 years ago, more or less). I've certainly have met people who've been studying a long time, and even had a nifty collection of initiations who struck me as pretty clueless, and have heard quite a bit of wisdom from relative youngsters.

But for most people, experience does teach a few lessons.

On the other hand, I've been hearing more and more people who have become involved with paganism more recently pooh-poohing the established traditions, and that also bothers me. Yes, things will change. They need to. But it often seems to me that many people have gotten so defensive about not having started out in a coven that they become resistant to the learning that does exist in that setting. And, particularly in Wicca, it seems that many people in the newer generations are creating a religion that is simplified, streamlined, and a lot more smug and sanctimonious than are most of the traditionally trained wiccans I know. (When did the Wiccan rede get shortened to two words?)

I'm not saying these are bad people, I'm saying it's a loss. If anything, it's almost inevitable, considering how many more people are interested in learning than have formal training... and worse, how many of the first large generation of the self trained (I'm thinking those who cut their teeth on Starhawk and Adler and then the later writers) are hostile and belittling to "newbies". I see it most from people who have been studying for some years, and have fought tooth and nail to put together pagan circles or other organizations pretty much from scratch (which is an awful lot of work and a laudable accomplishment) who then turn around and try to tell people just getting started that they are too young and too stupid to work magic.

If I was talking to someone who was considering making their first forrays into the pagan community about how to deal with more established pagans, I'd say something like this:

"Listen to everyone, talk to everyone. Don't pass up chances to learn, and be careful about getting drawn into other people's conflicts -- you'll almost always learn more talking to people on all sides. But keep your own bullshit detector turned on and pay attention to it, too. (Though many, perhaps most, people have both bullshit and wisdom in their repetoires, complicating the issue.) Navigation isn't simple, and it's pretty unlikely you're going to find someone to take you by the hand and spoon feed you either magic or religion in a way that will help you in the long run. But there are a lot of people out there who have a lot to share -- learn from them with your eyes open. Part of being a grown up, no matter how old you are, is establishing your own values and making your own choices."

As A Traditional Hps Who Has Been Initiated Into Three Of The... Dec 6th. at 1:08:14 pm EST

Flora Green (San Francisco, California US) Age: 39 - Email

As a traditional Hps who has been initiated into three of the "older" traditons,
I must say I don't necissarily think "older is better" but I do feel the older traditions offer much in the way of a firm grounding in the Pagan path.

I have personally known Pagans and Heathens who are very talented in both constructing meaningful ritual and working powerful magic. I don't believe you have to train in a traditional coven to do this. However, I have found that the most dedicated of these folks actively seek out traditional groups to gain more experience and to become magically linked to tradition.

If an older coven is a good one, they will not be resistant to change, but embrace it within the larger frame work of it's rituals. I don't think there is any need to worry about these older trads passing away... We usually are turning people away from training groups! Whether or not you believe it, there is a strong connection in these trads with the witches of old. Much of our material is oathbound and so it can't be spoken of, but there is a strong possiblity that the Craft as we practice it may have older roots than is commonly believed. The recent books and articles that have claimed otherwise aren't really looking in the right places or ignoring evidence that is right in front of them.

Blessings to All on their paths,
Flora Green Hps and WQ, Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions and
Feri Priestess

Intent Is All That Matters. People Serious About Their Religion, Pious To... Dec 6th. at 2:07:07 pm EST

Brian Leach (turnersville, New Jersey US) Age: 17 - Email

Intent is all that matters. People serious about their religion, pious to their gods, celebrating life, this is what matters. Any serious newbie, won't be one for long, because they will work hard to become wise in their path. Then there are naive and very fake practitioners who have been pagan for years and years. I think it is very easy to tell the difference between dedicated people, and the...well, SILLY people.

I Don't Think So. It Is, After All, A Popular Belief Among... Dec 6th. at 2:48:12 pm EST

Greywolf (Lafayette, Indiana US) Age: 28 - Email

I don't think so. It is, after all, a popular belief among neo-pagans (at least in my experience) that any path to the divine is a good path, so long as it is honestly followed. Old or new, it doesn't matter as long as it is the right path for you.
From my own experience, the question doesn't have much meaning. I'm not Wiccan (and I'm really sick of people who think Neo-Pagan = Wiccan). The religion I am most drawn to has not been actively practiced for 1500 years. There is no-one to pass on the "old ways" except through the suppositions of historians.

I Personally Believe That Any One Person Who Believes In Pagan Traditions... Dec 6th. at 4:16:04 pm EST

Sarah A. Carter (Sioux City, Iowa US) Age: 22 - Email

I personally believe that any one person who believes in Pagan traditions is valid, regardless of how long they have been practicing. Your beliefs make you who you are, not your status. This is not a blue-blood community, where we all sip brandy from crystal snifters and discuss rituals. We are Pagans, let's act like it?

That having been said, you also need to take your practices seriously. I know many who start simply to be Wicca-chic and that is wrong. If you are researching Paganism, do not do so with thee intent of turning people into frogs or flying on a broomstick. This is a serious religion and we take it seriously.

No opinion or tradition ever has to fear becoming 'extinct' as long as there are those who would practice it. If it becomes impractical or undesirable, let those who would shun it do so. We do not recruit, or proseletyze. This is a rule. Any questions to 'letting' people do this or that go against this rule and are irrelevant.

I Don't Think Anyone Should "pad" Their Experience... No One Should Be... Dec 6th. at 5:51:30 pm EST

Priscilla (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 29

I don't think anyone should "pad" their experience... no one should be ashamed of their status. There's no shame in being a "newbie" or "wannabe" these are just labels and a label does not provide an accurate reflection of the persons status.

We can learn from everyone... therefore it is not necessarily inherently right or better coming from the "Old Guard".

I suppose revering the "old way" of teaching could foster a resistance to change... people are generally more comfortable doing things the way they've always been done... but that doesn't mean that new ways should be completely disregarded.

I think new generations of Pagans should be free to break new ground but behind their motivations they must hold close the "old ways" so that the older traditions are not lost or forgotten.

Every generation has something valuable to offer...

The Beauty Of The Generic Pagan Experience Is Adaptation. The Universal Law... Dec 6th. at 6:34:08 pm EST

Mimir Essedari (SLC, Utah US) Age: 24 - Email

The beauty of the Generic Pagan experience is adaptation. The Universal Law of Change was believed by the 'Ancients', as you can see in the example of Odhinn progressing from War God, to Wanderer, to Teacher... How can you create something new, if you don't know the Old? I believe a moderate knowledge of the past is required for any forward momentum, and I believe that Change being Constant, and part of Nature, is Essential to Growth...

Does Older = Better?

No, not Better... Older should be engrained in Newer, or no advancement has taken place. If you know the past, you can see the Cycle of Events which Shape not only the Present, but the Future as Well.

Thus a combination would be better.

Blessed Be to Thine and Thee!

I Think It Important To Remember A Couple Of Things...we All... Dec 6th. at 8:06:47 pm EST

GrayMoonDragon (Idaho Falls, Idaho US) Age: 21 - Email

I think it important to remember a couple of things...we all come from the same source, and our beliefs of what that source is are very personal. What is important to keep in mind that no matter where we are on our search, we are all continually learning and no one has the right to say another is wrong. It might not be right for me, or you, or whoever, but it's right for that person.

 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17  

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.